UAE SWF vs. HF Credit

Chimps, help is needed. I'm publishing from another account as I cannot change my profile name. 

I have received an offer from a UAE-based SWF (ADIA, ADIC, Mubadala, etc...) to join as a senior associate - (i) 200% fixed increase (tax arbitrage vs. Europe plus salary increase), (ii) between ~20-100% higher bonus (tax arbitrage again), (iii) no carried interest, no signing bonus, no expat bonus, no house allowance, (iv) guaranteed promotion to principal in ~12 months, (v) direct investments / principal investing team doing "hairy" deals vs. the typical plain-vanilla or co-investment opportunities received by these funds. 

Currently working in London for a "middle-market" USA-based credit HF (good reputation, ~$15Bn Aum) with the opportunity to travel often to my home country, autonomy (I present ideas to the committee without much supervision), and a significant carried interest if the fund performs. I receive carried interest from any fund launched by the credit team as we are a "one team one dream" team with a  "multi-strategy" credit focus (long, short, private, public, distressed, stressed, etc.). The team is nice with some people I would invite to my wedding (not the norm in our space...). Long hours are required when there is a live situation (12-16+ hours), but I can leave at 5-6 pm if there is anything. 

What attracts me about the SWF opportunity is the chance to be involved in 2-10Bn+ deals (ego and CV marketing) and the potential brand name that a very large SWF can provide on the CV. My ultimate goal is to launch a credit shop in the future, and I presume that a large SWF can open some doors or help you with fundraising efforts. In addition, given that I'm married and that Abu Dhabi is not London (in terms of partying, etc.) I can see myself focusing more on getting an Executive MBA (INSEAD is there) to round up my CV (already a CFA Charteholder). 

Salary-wise, the absence of carried interest and signing bonus was somewhat disappointing to me and makes me wonder why high-caliber candidates would consider moving. 

If anyone has experienced a similar decision or can provide feedback, it is very welcome. I'm not looking for feedback about UAE, but more about the future progression or the impact of having a large SWF name on your CV. 




Based on the most helpful WSO content, here's a detailed analysis to help you weigh the pros and cons of your decision between staying at your current HF position and moving to a UAE-based SWF:

Pros of UAE SWF Position: 1. Financial Upside: The significant salary increase (200%) and higher bonus potential (20-100%) due to tax advantages in the UAE are compelling. This could substantially increase your net income. 2. Promotion and Career Growth: The guaranteed promotion to principal within 12 months is a clear upward trajectory, which could enhance your resume and future career opportunities. 3. Scale of Deals: Involvement in larger deals (2-10Bn+) not only boosts your ego but also significantly enhances your CV, making you a more attractive candidate for future opportunities. 4. Work-Life Balance: The lifestyle in Abu Dhabi might offer a more balanced environment, especially considering your marital status and the less intense social scene compared to London. 5. Educational Opportunities: Proximity to INSEAD for an Executive MBA could further enhance your qualifications and network.

Cons of UAE SWF Position: 1. Lack of Carried Interest: The absence of carried interest could mean potentially missing out on substantial earnings, especially if the funds you are involved with perform well. 2. Cultural and Professional Adjustment: Moving from a highly autonomous role in a credit HF where you have significant influence and a close-knit team to a potentially more bureaucratic environment at a large SWF. 3. Long-Term Career Impact: While the SWF role could enhance your CV for future large-scale endeavors, it might not provide the same depth in credit-specific experiences that your current role offers, which could be crucial if you plan to launch a credit-focused shop.

Strategic Considerations: - Future Goals Alignment: Consider how each role aligns with your long-term career goals, especially your aspiration to launch a credit shop. The hands-on, diverse credit experience and carried interest at your current job might be more beneficial in the long run than the brand name of a large SWF. - Network and Influence: Evaluate how the network and influence gained in each role could assist in your future entrepreneurial ambitions. The SWF might open doors in different circles compared to your current network in the credit HF space.

Conclusion: This decision hinges on your priority between immediate financial gain and strategic career positioning for future entrepreneurial goals. If maximizing short-term income and enhancing your CV with big-ticket deals are paramount, the SWF role is attractive. However, if you value deep, specialized experience in credit markets and potential long-term earnings from carried interest, staying at your current HF might be more advantageous.

Reflect on where you see the most value for your career trajectory and personal life, and consider seeking additional insights from mentors or trusted colleagues who understand your professional landscape and personal aspirations.

Sources: The future of Hong Kong high finance, The future of Hong Kong high finance, I Need You, WSO + Its Time To Move - Asia Job Search, Why the focus on exit opps?,

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.
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