Big 4 Auditor -> Corporate Finance Analyst offer - but within Pension Covenant Advisory


Hey all,

So as a quick intro - I'm a ACA/CPA qualified auditor within a Big 4 firm in London - like many, I've been looking for a way out to land a commercial and forward-looking financial analysis role where I would perform financial statement analysis and financial due diligence - ideally joining an investment space or transactions. Previous interviews largely have been Equity Research and M&A Analyst roles.

Now I've been applying since last July (no internal transfers to deals team sadly) and I've had my first offer for which I'm really thankful - the role is a Corporate Finance Analyst within a leading CF advisory focusing on pension scheme covenant advice. Essentially they assess the creditworthiness of a firm to pay its obligation to the scheme trustee in legacy defined benefit schemes.

The duties involve financial statement analysis, credit analysis, evaluation of management forecasts and drafting reports and powerpoints. There are three negatives however for me that is swaying me away:

a) There's no scope for valuation work - something I've been aiming to do given that it's something I find the most academically stimulating and and I know will be key duty in most spheres in Finance I aim to join.

b) I can't say pensions intrigue all too much - and I'm worried that I will be pigeonholed/boxed in for future roles where I will find it difficult to find a CF role outside of a pension sphere.

c) I've been told from former staff that even though they said there is financial modelling in the credit analysis - in reality this will be minimal, largely taking financial statement PDFs into Excel and analysing trends and liquidity there.

On the other hand, +ves being:

  • Would perhaps be a great step/foot in the door in terms of corporate finance where I will get some deals exposure (albeit focusing on the pension elements) where I would assess the impact of a corporate event (M&A, refinancing, restructuring, etc.)
  • Would get myself out of Audit where I'm losing the will to live - into a forward looking, commercial role.
  • I've chatted to a few former employees and appears that they haven't been pigeonholed, some joining M&A/CF practices (Big 4 and boutique). Equally however they noted that I would have to talk up a lot and explain the pensions focus as having transferable skills.

So ultimately unsure whether to take it or keep with the apps in spite of the tough market. Any advice would be appreciated - happy to detail anything else!

TLDR - Big4 Auditor, aim to move into deals sphere. Just been offered a Corporate Finance analyst role but under the scope of pension covenant advisory - unsure whether to take it or not due to a lack of eagerness for pensions and worry of being pigeon-holed for future CF roles.

Comments (6)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Feb 5, 2021 - 10:29am

Do you really want to get branded as a pension covenant guy?

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