After Your HF Closes Doors...Are You Truly Unemployable?

I can't help but feel that I am missing context when reading about base-case outcomes of hedge fund careers, especially when reading through threads on WSO. Can you all help me wrap my head around this? I've read some helpful threads on here about this, although a lot of them were focused on earnings outcomes. I am more concerned with employability.

I know the general consensus is that unless you are extremally confident in you ability to consistently outperform, you are likely better suited for a career at a LO AM firm, pension fund, family office, etc...but there also seems to be so much doom & gloom surrounding the mid-level hedge funders who blow up, get pushed out, or burn out.

Especially the part about struggling to get other seats, or even corporate jobs. I get this is a humbling industry, but is it really as tough as some people have let on in regards to employability after a bad stint? Lets say you join a SM L/S fund after a stint in equity research/S&T/Junior LO Analyst, and have moderate success for a solid 3-5 years. Why wouldn't a family office/pension fund/LO AM take a chance on you, assuming the HF you joined had a similar strat, time horizon, and style?

I've been tapping my network a little bit and been on the phone with a few head hunters, and want to make sure I know what i'm getting into. One of my theories is that the base case outcome individuals are probably less likely to share there experience on a forum than the two tail ends, but I would love some guys with some skin in the game to tell me if they think they would be able to transfer to a family office/pension fund/LO AM after a few years into there hedge fund careers.

For reference, I do not anticipate moving to Baupost or Bridgewater, more like a solid performing $600-$1.5B single manger focused on equities. Thanks guys

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The short answer is human beings are very tribal. If you have been to enough analyst days or sell-side events where HF and LO people sit at the same table, they are different in personality and dress code. Humans like to hire ones who are in the mold and narrative. I suspect there is some of that when you want to move across. 


Slow vs Fast money: chill / mellow vs ultra competitive. Then it projects into firm culture and the juniors. You get the point. 

Not gonna go into who is better or worse: different products, different mandates, different LPs. I don't need clueless college kids pile on here on how great pod shop is and sht like that. 


I am sure a GS IBD / KKR PE can't do well at AM or MM HF. It would be too difficult, the learning curve would be too hard. - Sarcasm btw


It’s the other way around.  Having been at a HF and then considering a move to a LO or otherwise is in my view harder as the move comes with 1) a massive paycut assuming you performed previously and 2) a cultural shock and for larger instos playing the politics violine.  Moving into the HF after a couple of years buyside is much harder than moving out of a HF.


Key is to join hybrid hedge fund / long only funds. Lifestyle and day-to-day (without the bureaucracy of being at a Capital, D&C, etc.) are similar to long only but you get paid as if you’re at a hedge fund. Basically getting paid performance fees above the S&P 500 on the long only product is key while having steady management fee stream. 


Like the idea but you essentially mean a LO HF that charges 1&10? Not a lot around, sounds like a sweet gig though. Unless you mean something else entirely. Another analogue I can think of is a crossover type model where can charge on the privates and make something but not a lot off the LO product.


Just commenting and being part of this thread as I started one on exits after MMHF careers but there wasn't any traction (mainly because I was asking in an Asian context too). 

But aside from maybe Investor Relations roles, is it even possible to make the jump to PE or other LO funds or even corp dev? It seems a bit off especially as you have stacked and even over-qualfied bankers who are more suited to such roles gunning for it.

Meanwhile if your pod blows up or you get cut cause you aren't good... can't be bouncing around other pod shops forever right?


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