AM arms of banks... are they really that bad???

Sorry for the clickbait, I have seen in prior posts (Breaking into buy-side equity research - my experience | Wall Street Oasis) that the asset management arms of banks like JPM or Wells (Allspring) are terrible places to work at the RA level and have bad research cultures especially when compared to other larger LOs. Having had some facetime with clients at these banks I cannot discern any immediate red flags. 

As a self-proclaimed long-term fundamental investor looking to jump from the sellside to the buyside soon, I am hoping someone can shed more light on these banking AM arms and if they are truly as bad as made out to be in prior posts. 



Ah, the age-old debate about the quality of Asset Management (AM) arms at big banks! Based on the most helpful WSO content, here's a bit of insight for you:

  • Reputation and Culture: The AM arms of banks like JPM or Wells (Allspring) often get mixed reviews. Some say they're not the best places for research analysts, citing less-than-ideal research cultures compared to larger Long-Only (LO) firms. However, this can vary widely within the bank itself and across different teams.

  • Work Environment: It's important to note that the work environment can differ significantly from one institution to another. While some may have a less favorable culture for research analysts, others might offer a supportive and collaborative atmosphere. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation.

  • Client Interaction: You mentioned having face time with clients and not noticing red flags. This is a good sign! Direct client interaction can provide valuable insights into the firm's operations and investment philosophy.

  • Long-Term Fundamental Investing: If you're a self-proclaimed long-term fundamental investor, you'll want to look for an AM arm that aligns with your investment style. Some bank-affiliated AMs might have a strong focus on fundamental analysis, which could be a good fit for you.

  • Due Diligence: Before making the jump, it's crucial to do your due diligence. Try to network with current or former employees, ask about the day-to-day work, the team dynamics, and the overall satisfaction with the job.

  • Sellside to Buyside Transition: Transitioning from sellside to buyside is a significant move. While sellside research is about providing insights to clients, buyside roles involve making actual investment decisions. Ensure that the culture at the AM arm will support your growth in this new role.

Remember, while prior posts can give you a general idea, there's no substitute for personal research. Each person's experience is unique, and what might be a poor fit for one could be the perfect environment for another. Keep networking and gathering information to make the best decision for your career. Swing through those branches of information like a pro before you leap!

Sources: Asset Management arm at Bank, AM vs ER vs IBD, Banks with best cultures, Asset Management as a long-term career?, BB Asset Management Arms and Asset Management Firms: how do the experiences differ?

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These are basically sales jobs where they are constantly on the road pushing their inferior and most expensive products on pension funds. Pay is decent and you look like a baller to people from non-finance backgrounds. But realistically, if you’re off the desk during market hours then you’re not really focused on the market, and shows the priority is not investing.

In all seriousness, any person who works in investments and has to wear a suit everyday is a salesperson or works in a firm whose priority is selling not making the best investments. The ultimate investment shops are those where you can wear sweatpants and hoodies in the winter and workout clothes (shorts and tshirt) in the summer, those are the firms where your ideas and investment performance is the true priority.


hmm but the people you described would be under asset management sales, presumably. If the research associates (who are in the investment team) are going out there selling shit, that'd be a shit firm for sure. Research process of these places is like kindergarten compared to the top HFs


Yes there are the client managers who are truly sales people, but they always bring along the “Portfolio Manager” because if you’re some smuck who is basically illiterate financially and you get a chance to meet a PM who says the exact same stuff as the client manager then you’re going to total buy into whatever they’re selling. This is the formula for all mutual fund companies who engage in passive or quasi-active (factor/smart-beta strategies).


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