Anyone regret going in the public space?

Currently a PE associate very keen on going into the public space. But was curious if anyone had any regrets joining? My thoughts are - i'll go, if i fail, i will learn. But want to make sure i'm not missing anything

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Comments (13)

  • Research Analyst in HF - EquityHedge
Apr 1, 2021 - 3:48pm

Have a handful of friends that made the PEHF switch. A few of them regret it and want to go back to PE and some are considering b school. Those that regret it either (1) didn't have a passion for public markets in the first place or (2) didn't do their due diligence on the fund they're joining - it's either more short term than they're expecting, returns are poor / assets dwindling, comp isn't as favorable as expected, etc. Public markets are very individually oriented and are risk taking seats, which comes with a greater degree of stress than PE imo. 

Curious what others have to contribute. 

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Event
Apr 1, 2021 - 3:59pm

Guys that have always followed the "track" and are hyper-conformists are more likely to burn out and regret going into a public market seat.

This is not for people who crave structure and well-laden path and scorecard for success. Objectively, it is a worse career path from a pure economic standpoint vs. PE due to volatility, secular AUM pressure, low barrier to entry, reduced optionality, etc. So if you got in the finance game to fit in and get a ticket to a respectable and stable upper-middle class life - stay in PE or IB - that is the most surefire way to do it.

Public market careers have more twists and turns and requires you to live and breathe the game every day to be successful. If you feel like investing is just another job and a means to an end (i.e. to go on luxe vacations, stay in the inner circle, sex appeal to mating partners), private market seat is a much easier place to hide.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Apr 11, 2021 - 2:00am

Agreed, but anyone who stays in IB or PE is beyond upper-middle class. Call it rich if you want, or you can analyze CoL, but from a pure income perspective in the US, once you make VP and are at ~350k you're rich.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Apr 11, 2021 - 3:08am

I specifically stated from a pure income perspective. Look at any government site like DoL/BLS, or reputable research sites/news sites like Pew or Forbes. You'll find Upper-class (rich) pre-tax incomes starting even in the low 200s dependent on what their classification is. Clearly 100k in SF is different from 100k in Charlotte, that's why I said you could analyze CoL to help settle your nerves on convining yourself you're not yet rich, but when you're filing your tax return, the govt doesn't give 1 shit about how much disposable income you have relative to your area's CoL. You make 100k, then you make 100k, and you'll be treated as such in getting pushed into a higher tax bracket. This is WSO though, which is full of youngins who think you have to pull 5m/yr to make it in life.

Most Helpful
Apr 11, 2021 - 12:46pm

Feel like its been a bit since there's been a "upper middle class" vibe check:

Median household income in America: ~$60,000

95th percentile household income in America: ~$165,000

I personally think top 5% is good enough to be considered regular "upper" class, despite people on this forum's habit of classifying anything under 7 figures as "upper middle" in order to make themselves feel like scrappy hustlers who came from the bottom.

"one for the money two for the better green 3 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine" - M.F. Doom
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  • Investment Analyst in HF - EquityHedge
Apr 11, 2021 - 5:48pm

Answer boils down to 1) whether their HF pay (risk-adjusted for volatility) is comparable, materially higher or materially lower than their projected pay in PE; and 2) preference for public vs private.

PE analysts who left for a tiger with 3bn+ and made 7 figures last year don't regret the move to public. Those who went to a platform, got blown out and are playing musical chairs likely regret it.

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