London PE Funds with the BEST culture - Tell me yours
nice to come back here after a while.
Currently a 2nd year analyst (not UK) at tier-2 Consulting firm. I graduated in Corporate Finance and also did an internship at a top BB IB. I just passed through some family-personal hard times which led me to the conclusion that it's time for a career switch and I am willing to break into the PE Industry in London.
My LT goal
Being honest: I am in my 20ys and don't know it yet. Prolly come back to my country one day and work for a corporate but before I wish to develop the famous "investor-mindset" we are all looking for to add to my CO experience.
The decision to make
MM/LBO PE funds or Growth Equity?
From the internet (and our wonderful oasis), I think that I figured out that MM/LBO PE funds is the answer. I am more fascinated from the "crunch-the-number" part of the deal and think that, in the short term, these MM/LBO PE funds could give me the hard skills I need/want.
What I am looking for
Not interested in the salary. Not interested in the prestige.
I am looking for PE funds in London with the best culture (so people, WL, mgmt culture...) where I can actually learn and observe the investor POV and, why not, leverage on my CO experience.
What I can leverage on
Disclaimer: I know competition is tough. I know it's even worse if not UK-based. BUT, I can leverage on:
A good network in the PE industry (even at senior levels).
My willingness to put 100% effort for interview-prep (modelling, review some basics of finance...).
This said, I already went through the related forum threads but still feel the need to ask you this question (actually feel more confused than before - lol). I would appreciate any advice on this and I am very interested on your story (especially if you are a CO guy that moved to PE 🙃).
Btw, feel free to DM for any insights on consulting.
I think 'best' culture is 100% dependent on your own personality. Each shop has their own 'type' of people generally and the best 'cultural fit' for anyone else on this forum might not turn out to be the best culture for you. My mates and I went through PE recruiting and sometimes we had different perceptions of the same firms/teams. I assume you already know this but the only way to figure out is to talk to as many juniors across different firms as you can (in person and not on an internet forum) and get a feel for yourself.
Although I agree with your answer, since the best "cultural fit" could be something very personal, I think that it could be useful to hear some stories from this place.
I mean, I am 100% sure that some ppl here can share stories such as " my bf is working at XXX, he told me he is fine, he likes the culture because..."... Of course, further investigation will be done but at least this could be a good starting point :) .
Not gonna list every MM/LMM London based fund and outline their culture but if you have any specific fund in mind reply to this and I'll let you know my 2cs (if i know them). Also, sorry to piss on your bonfire but really difficult to get a job in London at the mo if you don't hold a UK passport, it's become super super expensive for firms to sponsor candidates to get visas since brexit - a BB might do it but MM PE will probably just find a UK based candidate, which there is loads of this year due to insane IB hours last year.
thoughts on KKR/EQT/Carlyle?
They're all mega funds. No idea. OP asked about MM
Hey, thoughts on any of the below?
Lol good choice of funds, all top performers. I rate inflexion very highly, they have had exceptional fund performance over the last 15 years. We come up against them in processes and they're pretty impressive. Their investment thesis is based on thorough diligence and they're conviction buyers, they don't mind paying up for assets they want and they tend to get it right. Culture isn't quite up-tight, but its deffo formal, the people I've met at networking events are very well spoken and quite nerdy (only wanna talk about work and wear suits and ties). Not sure if they encourage individual thought from juniors. A lot of ex big4, I heard they like people who started in CDD then moved to M&A. Top MM fund, I'd work there for sure, super cool offices too. I don't know Epiris as well. They're much smaller in terms of deal flow and team size but also perform well. As far as I know they prefer backing MBOs but will also look at underperforming/stressed assets, an investment strategy which is rare in the uk mm - pretty cool if you ask me. They're also sector agnostic. Met them once or twice, seem much more entrepreneurial than a lot of other firms, they also hire straight out of UG (they like IB internships), which is unusual. ECI are more similar to Epiris than inflexion, they like TMT and Business Services. Think they made an IRR of 35%+ in their last two funds. Also tend to raise and then exit quite quickly which is good for a carry perspective. Haven't spent much time with them but heard from advisors they're pretty focused, they're super detail focused and are known for doing a lot of diligence in house. They're pretty top heavy, more senior management than junior staff. They're one of few funds in this space who actively like hiring management consultants OP.... Dunno anything original about Exponent or Montagu sorry. Montagu do bigger stuff, UMM, don't come up against them.
Issue with Inflexion is the founders hoard the carry, so wealth creation is hard even for the best performers. Agree with your assessment of their performance.
So ECI partners has a good culture
any insight about culture at:
E squared capital
i.e in which one of these u do not expect to work 80 hrs every week? More funds to add?
I don't know any funds in this space where juniors regularly work 80 hours a week. The UK MM isn't typically sweaty like that. As far as I'm aware - we all work considerably less hours than our M&A counterparts. Very occasionally, maybe twice a year you'll have 2-3 weeks of long hours when you've promised a seller you can execute very quickly just to win the deal. I have friends at some of the funds that have been listed and a few others. I'd say we all average around 60 hours a week. I've been at my firm for 3 years and I don't think I've done an 90hour week more than 4/5 times and 80 hour weeks TOPS 15 times. A lot of people (maybe the majority) are hired from the big4 and there isn't an ib hours culture at all, people at my fund would be shocked to learn about the hours juniors post on this forum. It just really isn't like that. In PE we don't have inflows of work to be done by a certain deadline as to execute a transaction (unless we're doing a deal and only do 4/5 a year). Most of our tasks are open ended, I.e. doing some desktop origination for a bolt on, meeting with advisors to make sure we're seeing deals, doing research and writing a report on companies we've been intro'd to (found directly) with a model to show to a director who probably won't even look at it for a few days. On the whole it is not deadline driven, sometimes I work 45 hours a week.
Mind sharing any broad details on comp? I imagine a pay cut from current IB salaries given the culture and hours you've discussed
Can I just check that your comment indeed applies to all, including Advent, Bain, etc? I thought there you're much more likely to work banking-style hours (given they are also UMM / semi-MF)?
Pro-tip: if you interview with or meet anyone from Advent don't call them an UMM. I think their main fund is $20+bn when you consolidate the various side pockets
No this applies to none of them lol.
Any insight on PAI Partners?
Based on my experience of interviewing and knowing people at various funds I have gleaned a few data points.
Horrific sweat shops: the usual suspects (KKR, H&F, Bx, TPG, Permira), BC Partners, General Atlantic, Silverlake, WP
Not as bad as horrific sweat shops but still don't have much of a life (I.e. probably as good as it gets if you want a brand name fund) Apax, CVC, EQT, Nordic, TDR, Advent, Bain Cap, PAI, TA. Also heard rumors that Apollo London is very different to the US office.
People forget that it's almost impossible to find a job where you get paid 10x the median salary in your age group and also have good WLB unless you are lucky or very talented and 95% of people in finance are not very talented.
Advent and apax are closer to your sweatshop bucket I hear
BX PE is chill.
First time I hear that - possible to provide more background? What makes it chill?
it's chill bro just grinding out 100 hour weeks who cares lol
dinner in the office with the homies every weekday pretty comfy ngl
Rhone should be pretty cushy after the LPs officially complained about juniors turnover a couple of years ago.
Heard that Rhone have gone to shit. Didn't they split up?
Yes, I think 2-3 partners left in the middle of fund raising to create their own fund.
Honestly I have no idea about how the legacy Rhone is doing now, no contacts there anymore (the LP request is a story from a couple of years ago).
Any insight on Varde partners?
Any insights on Blackstone Tactical Opportunities?
Like a sauna
A funds culture usually represents where the majority of the workforce have come from. Most of the shops I know (MM/LMM) that hire most of their investment staff from the big4 M&A/consulting tend to have a more chilled atmosphere/WLB that is similar to the big4/consultancies.
The funds that mainly hire from IBs have a much more distinct IB culture facetime/shit wlb/more pressure etc.
If I was to move funds and couldn't find any info on the fund through word of mouth, I'd look at the working background of most of their employees.
Can you elaborate what teams in big 4 are they hiring from? Is it FDD teams or like the CDD teams (EY-P, S&, etc)?
FDD is definitely a popular one. I'd say CDD too but less common (some PEs have dedicated commercial teams though which will look towards this team). Of course the corporate finance / transaction sevices / M&A type teams will also get a look-in
Any idea on what to expect for total comp (+ progression?) for Associates at MM funds like Inflexion / Vitruvian / ECI / Epiris / Exponent?
Around £90k base is typical - probably 50 - 100% bonus. Maybe less at IFX
Assume 3 years at each level (Associate / Exec) then to Manager / AD - then Director maybe a bit longer
Livingbridge, Inflexion, Bowmark and ECI all reasonable culture
Anyone has insights on the MM fund Stirling Square Capital Partners? Thanks!
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