Q&A: I went from BO operations to FO product analyst at a global 1T+ AUM asset management firm.

I made the unheard of move from back office operations to front office product analyst role in two years! United States Based firm I work at their global headquarters.

I have a very atypical background, I come from a non-target school with a 3.02 GPA and made my start in engineering and marketing then made the challenging shift into asset management in a back office role. After about 4 months I moved into their middle office and about 2 years after that I moved into front office product analyst position (finally bonus eligible). 

I believe most value is in the question and answer so I am keeping the actual post short and sweet, ask away!

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Comments (15)

  • Analyst 3+ in AM - Equities
Mar 30, 2021 - 12:40pm

I was just above data entry in back office, I closed accounts that we no longer were managing at the firm. Through this I took a lot of time to understand the trading that was being done to close the accounts and how we raised cash on accounts in order to charge closing fees. I also put my head down and worked hard and was able to move into middle office because of my curious attitude and drive to learn the more challenging parts of the process further than what the job required. This boosted my resume and knowledge base at the firm so I would be taken more seriously.

  • Analyst 3+ in AM - Equities
Mar 30, 2021 - 12:50pm

When I was in back and middle office I quickly learned all of the business units at the company and found that the actual investment management and front office roles were in a specific part of the company. During my first regular 6 month HR check-in I told them that I wanted to be part of the business unit where the actual asset management was and they told me that the move I was hoping for would be close to impossible. I pushed back into them and asked as an HR rep if they would be able to provide the contact info of someone in that business unit just to have a brief chat about their job with them. They gave me the contact info of the most jr person in that part of the company that just dealt with the money market management (not too impressive), but I still took the coffee chat. I used that relationship to leverage when a job opened in a parallel business unit but still not front office. Because of applying to that job I had a really solid phone call with the internal recruiter for the job who happened to also place people in front office jobs at my firm. I kept tabs on the relationship with the recruiter consistently to find out jobs that would open up, and tried to stay top of mind. Finally, a job opened up where she said I could be a good fit (I passed level 1 of the CFA at that point). I had 8 interviews and two tests with everyone from analysts to MDs, and VPs but I still didn't get the job. A week later the recruiter called me and said the team really liked me so they are creating a new position with the same title that I interviewed for and they are going to just give the job to me, no further recruiting needed. 

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  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Mar 30, 2021 - 8:46pm

What is compensation for product analyst roles? How does it look like for people who have 4, 8, 10+ yrs experience?

  • Analyst 3+ in AM - Equities
Mar 30, 2021 - 8:59pm

You wouldn't be a product analyst for 4, 8, or 10+ years you would move into a product manager role after a couple of years and then move up the chain from there to director and, head of (division), then to VP, and things like that. A product analyst makes around 60K to 85k with bonuses and then a product manager is going to make 95k to 110k with bonuses then move along from there. A lot of product people can end up in research, portfolio management, or other positions within their firms since you are seeing such a wide array of the investment management process. And keep in mind you are also not working crazy hours like my firm works 37.5 hour weeks.

  • Analyst 3+ in AM - Equities
Apr 3, 2021 - 10:31am

I personally came from owning my own firm so working a job where I had a boss and other people telling me what to do was quite the struggle, also it was a learning experience to be at a desk all day with the expectation of not getting up and just working as hard as possible. I would say most of the networking and other work required came pretty easy because of my background and just the growing pains being my first job after owning my own firm was where the struggles lied. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 4, 2021 - 5:19am

Except.. a product analyst is not an FO position? That's still inherently middle office at an AM house. Unless you're in the research team, are a PM or work in the client relations (and not the BS sales support stuff like Product Specialists) side of the house you are not FO

  • Associate 1 in AM - Other
Apr 5, 2021 - 10:50am

Except.. a product analyst is not an FO position? That's still inherently middle office at an AM house. Unless you're in the research team, are a PM or work in the client relations (and not the BS sales support stuff like Product Specialists) side of the house you are not FO

You raised a great point. That was my initial thought as well :) 

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