Secondaries / IR Career Post-IB?
Top bucket first-year IB coverage analyst, GS / MS / JP, thinking about what to do next.
I fucking hate due diligence and can't see myself writing 100+ page memos nobody is going to read for IC for the next 2 years. Don't believe I have what it takes to excel in a markets-facing role.
I really enjoy the relationship aspect of the job, and consistently get told I'm good with clients, so was thinking either secondary investing or an IR gig would be a logical step. I haven't heard much about the space given most of my peers are interested in traditional PE / HF roles, and would appreciate any general insights into comp, career progression, etc - really am clueless.
Money is pretty important to me and I'm wondering what the 'cap' is for IR, for example I wouldn't be fine taking a comp cut to <120k, even if lifestyle-adjusted. For IR, does fund size matter? Am I better off being a monkey at Blackstone vs. one of a few at a random MM fund? Do MM / UMM funds even hire IR associates? Do I have a shot if I'm not a 5'10 blonde supermodel from NYU?
For secondaries - or even FoF - I understand it's just as much about choosing the manager as it is about the asset (class). Is that a right understanding? Does comp scale similarly to the primary side? Carry? Do I need an MBA to move up? How important is the relationship management aspect of it vs. the analytical side? Travel / booze and schmooze a thing early on?
To be clear, I'm very competent technically / analytically, that's not a factor. I just enjoy the people aspect more. If my view of those roles is too rosy maybe I'll just suck it up and recruit for PE.
Appreciate any thoughts, thank you!
Bump - I'm interested in learning more about secondaries in general
A lot of secondaries funds these days do more asset-level due diligence with GP-led deals, while others, particularly the larger platforms, might be more keen on FoF-style Primaries + more traditional LP-led secondaries. The secondaries landscape is changing pretty rapidly, though, and becoming more 'complex.' Comp at the top secondaries players for As1, at my firm and according to other threads here, is around 240-250K all-in. Secondaries advisory shops (PJT/EVR/Lazard being the top ones) probably offer more competitive comp for Associates but instead of 60-75 hours might be 85-100, so I've heard from folks at EVR.
Having done an extended internship in IR, it doesn't seem true that all that you have to be a supermodel to succeed, the firm I was at (UMM PE) was wildly successful with capital raising, but that also came with 80+ hour weeks even for the most senior folks. Can't speak directly to their comp. Generally, I'd argue that with more firms moving away from placement agents and building out in-house IR teams, the role is probably becoming more of a grind but also better paid.
Awesome, really helpful. Even from the sellside we see a lot more co-invest and even direct investments from players that traditionally didn't do primary.
I imagine in terms of what I'm looking for (more exposure to people, less to the investment process) it'd make sense to target those doing traditional primaries / secondaries. Any platforms that come to mind? I know Ardian is a big player. I don't mind long hours as long as it's not on 100 iterations of some 100 page deck (and I do wonder what you do in IR that makes you pull 80 hour weeks?)
Ardian is definitely a big player that does more traditional FoF work. Alpinvest and BX Strategic Partners do a lot of co-investments and BX just raised a separate GP-led focused fund (as did Blackrock PE Partners, I believe), but all of these larger platforms certainly dominate the FoF space, too. Also check out LGT, HarbourVest, Adams Street, Lexington, Coller Capital, & Neuberger. Maybe also look into foundation/endowment investing?
Re: the long IR hours, for the firm I was at, they were raising ~8Bn+ Funds with limited placement agent help as a team of 5-6 people. The number of requests alone that came in from 200+ LPs + the amount of tracking, marketing material creation, travel, relationship management, etc...made it all pretty intense. Half of the team had worked in IR/BD at MFs previously, though, so they're used to it.
Left a seat doing both co-investments snd fund investments and the split between investment diligence (mainly with direct investments) and "face to face meetings and work" on the fund side, although there was plenty of that on the co-investment side meeting with partner sponsors and company management teams was ideal. I would've stayed and tried to move up if I didn't get another great opportunity at a well known growth equity shop.
If you align yourself with business development (fundraising) you'll generally do alright comp wise. Comp for IR/BD associates is going to to vary pretty widely firm to firm, but you should be able to land something >$200k all-in. Anecdotally, I've seen a handful of places going to 250k for these seats in the past 6 months.
Sorry for the barrage of questions, please do answer as much as you want!
The below is based on my personal experience and YMMV.
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