Canada or Australia, Where should I go to study to end up in equity research/fund management?

Hi all!

I am an Asian student majoring in economics. I am in my final year of undergrad and successfully cleared CFA level 1. I want to begin my career in investment research/asset management/ fundamental equity research. I don't have preference for buyside or sell side at the beginning but want to end up on buyside eventually, in public equities. I am planning to study for my masters in other country, preferably in Canada or Australia. I thought about the US but I found that recruiting in firms like fidelity or Blackrock there recruit from undergrad schools for entry level analyst positions and not from grad programs like Msc Finance.

I chose Canada, Australia and the US particularly because of the size of markets they both have for asset management. There are large pension funds in Canada and superannuation in Australia. Correct me if I am wrong.

I looked at some programs in both countries and liked the following:

University of Western Ontario - Master of Financial Economics
Wilfrid Laurier University - Msc Finance

Wilfrid Laurier is a low ranked school, but I found on WSO that it is considered good for buyside and it has got two co-up opportunities of four months each. I lack work experience so I thought it is something great.

University of New South Wales - Master of Commerce (Finance specialization) 1.5 year program.
University of Melbourne - Master of Management in Finance (2 year program)

What do you think of programs which I mentioned above? Any suggestions or tips are highly appreciated.

For the USA, I am reluctant to study Msc Finance. I am going to write a question separately for the USA. It is embarrassing to say on this forum that I have intention of working in the country where I study and not to move back to my country. I know lots of Asians end up doing their masters in other countries so how can I distinguish myself? Given the political scenario in the US, should I target only Canada and Australia and not the US?

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Comments (10)

Aug 4, 2018 - 9:31am

I'm an Australian Student from one of the schools you mentioned and I feel that the Australian Financial Industry is somewhat weak. There is not that many good finance jobs available. I would recommend Canada as it is closer to the US. In all honesty, the current political climate of the US is not as bad as the media portrays. The Irony is that I am an Australian student who wants to work in the US and you're an American student who wants to work in Australia. Have you considered England?

Aug 5, 2018 - 8:14am

Also a Australian student from G08 university. There is a big retirement industry in Australia (worth large sums of money) but not just the "funds management" you are thinking. Most of the shops here are sales and not the actual management of funds, these roles are mainly done in HK or Singapore. I'm actually looking to progress in the areas mentioned...

Aug 4, 2018 - 9:52am

WorldsGR8estKid I did not know that. Thanks for letting me know. I am not American student. I am an Asian student. I am from a small town. I am open to different locations geographically with the motive to immigrating later while working.

No! I have not considered England. I know there are some good finance programs there, but got to know here on WSO that full time offers in the UK are made out to people with relevant job experience during internships. I volunteered at some international organization during one of my summers and used other summer to prepare for my CFA exam because I could not find any good internships.

Aug 5, 2018 - 8:04am

Australia is a large but consolidated industry. Proximity to Asiapac might help if you want to go buyside in the region. However, the US remains a massive market and one that is mature and still growing (albeit risks from non-active ETFs could impact buyside... once we get a 20%+ correction we will see how they work, but I digress). Canada gets you close to the US which is a good market to be in close proximity for job searching (ignoring the immigration mess).
Backup can always be sell-side, in which case proximity to US is good to have given how small the Canadian space is.
WL is a good school. Can't speak to recruitment process of institutions, but always try to carve your own path as well and keep your options open.

Aug 10, 2018 - 9:36am

@Amp8675" Thanks for sharing your views. I agree with you on the U.S. being a massive market, but again immigration is an issue which is quite complex. I'll keep on finding different ways which can provide me access easily to ER positions. Only possible way is to get my master's education there, but another question comes up. Why would a fund recruit me in its campus program when it can easily source domestic students from undergrads. Do you think working in states at big4 accountancy firms in audit and then searching for ER positions would be logical?

I looked at some Canadian firms and they do have campus programs for master's students which for me is a positive point. Do you have any idea about how well Canadian pension funds are perceived to develop a buyside career? I would not restrict myself to pension funds, but I don't have much information except for what is being provided on their websites.

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Aug 10, 2018 - 9:57am

bored954 I had no idea that firms in Australia are more into sales than managing those funds in -house. Do firms like Macquarie, AMP Capital and Commonwealth Bank operate similarly as you mentioned? I got to know that some American funds like Wellington Management operate in Australia primarily for sales. Can you share few names of the firms which manage funds in-house in Australia?

Aug 11, 2018 - 7:20pm

CBA = Divested their fund management arm "Colonial first state global asset management" - only remaining big 4 bank that did fund management. Most are wealth managers or funds of funds.
Macquarie/ other international exports = Yes, but very lean teams if they did
AMP = Not sure haven't researched but similar to CBA i think
Alot of small shops dotted around CBD of most major cities, very hard to secure work though

Aug 10, 2018 - 1:47pm

With regards to Canada, I don't know those programs at all, but you absolutely need to enroll in a 2-year programs, because otherwise, you won't be automatically get a work permit and Canadian firms don't sponsor. Just to be clear, every foreigner attending a Canadian university in a program that last 2 years or more automatically gets a 3 year work permit at the end of which you are eligible for permanent residency.

Note however, that the Canadian market is extremely competitive due to its small size and that it can be hard for foreigner to break in, especially in the field your are targeting since there are only a few positions opening every year.

Aug 26, 2018 - 11:54am

mtnmmnn Thanks for the heads up. I checked up immigration rules and you are right. I have kept my options open as of now. Do you personally think that the U.S.A. would be a better option than others? There are less chances of ending up in equity research/asset management after my masters in the U.S.A for entry level jobs straight out of masters because most of the positions are open up for undergrads.

I was thinking of studying accounting or finance in the U.SA. to enter in big 4 audit, spend a few years there and save money to go for an MBA at a good school and then target equity research/asset management roles. Do you think this sounds plausible path to you?

Only two years masters program I could find which looks good is at HEC Montreal.

Sep 6, 2018 - 8:43am
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