ER vs. IBD

After spending some time today on this forum, it seems that banking is much more in line with my interests long term. Is it possible to making the switch to banking after a year?

Despite what has been said on here, I am confident I could network my way into IBD from ER. Further, I think the skill set in ER at the entry level (i.e. right out of undergrad) gets no love on here. I should have the modeling expertise I need to be successful in IBD.

Thoughts? I am looking to set myself up as best as possible for later on, but would like some feedback. Again, I am mostly interested in activist investing, though I haven't received comments yet from my other post. Thank you for your input.

Comments (91)

May 17, 2010

I personally think ER is a solid transfer. Look into S&T also as I know going from ER to a more sales role is possible/typical. I would think that you would be a great fit within industry groups.

May 17, 2010

Thanks. I take it just networking is best? Also, is there a way to do this without offending my analyst? I was brought in as a relationship hire, so I wouldn't want to offend that person either.

Any advice on which ER sector is best right now? I would definitely favor a great analyst mentor over a "hot" industry.

May 17, 2010
activistinvestor:

Thanks. I take it just networking is best? Also, is there a way to do this without offending my analyst? I was brought in as a relationship hire, so I wouldn't want to offend that person either.

Any advice on which ER sector is best right now? I would definitely favor a great analyst mentor over a "hot" industry.

Stick it out for another six months; maybe twelve. I know it seems like a long time in a job you're not thrilled to stay in, but it looks good to managers if you can hold down a job for 24 months; it shows them you know what you're doing.

After 24 months, your analyst/relationship won't be offended. You gave the firm 24 months, and things worked out well for both parties (if it hadn't worked out for the firm, you wouldn't have survived that long). Now, it's time for you to move on.

May 17, 2010
IlliniProgrammer:
activistinvestor:

Thanks. I take it just networking is best? Also, is there a way to do this without offending my analyst? I was brought in as a relationship hire, so I wouldn't want to offend that person either.

Any advice on which ER sector is best right now? I would definitely favor a great analyst mentor over a "hot" industry.

Stick it out for another six months; maybe twelve. I know it seems like a long time in a job you're not thrilled to stay in, but it looks good to managers if you can hold down a job for 24 months; it shows them you know what you're doing.

After 24 months, your analyst/relationship won't be offended. You gave the firm 24 months, and things worked out well for both parties (if it hadn't worked out for the firm, you wouldn't have survived that long). Now, it's time for you to move on.

I have to stress that last part. My group can be a bit intense at times, but when it comes to recruiting they give us all the support that we need. Analysts can literally go to their teams and tell them they can't do much work because of interviews. Senior people will go to bat for you whenever you need them to. You then, however, are expected to stay on until your 2nd year is over. Those who have left early have received some very negative comments from seniors.

Stick it out for 2 years; the people in your office will respect you more and may even help you get that IBD role.

May 17, 2010

i think with an mba at a top school and 2 years in er it would be relatively easy to get an associate position

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May 17, 2010

@Don'tMakeMeShortYou

Are you IBD or ER?

@ breakinginnew

I really want to go buyside after 2 years. I would consider doing M&A post MBA, but with the goal of launching my own activist fund by mid 30s, let's say.

May 18, 2010

if you go to the buyside after 2 years I dont see how you are going to ever do IBD? 1 year of ER and 1 year of IBD probably won't look that great

someone posted on here recently that ER people can get PE interviews, its just not as easy

May 20, 2010

Other idea. What if I did two years ER, then switched over to banking. I would assume I'd be a second year analyst.

So my questions are:

1) Is it worth it? I'm guessing everyone here would say no if I could get a good hedge fund job, but perhaps there's value in getting banking experience.

2) Would I have the same buyside opportunities? Would recruiters/pe/HFs think it's strange that I did that?

Any input would be appreciated.

May 20, 2010
activistinvestor:

Other idea. What if I did two years ER, then switched over to banking. I would assume I'd be a second year analyst.

So my questions are:

1) Is it worth it? I'm guessing everyone here would say no if I could get a good hedge fund job, but perhaps there's value in getting banking experience.

2) Would I have the same buyside opportunities? Would recruiters/pe/HFs think it's strange that I did that?

Any input would be appreciated.

Whoops, hold your horses there, not so sure about that one. It depends heavily on the bank/group whether or not they will give you credit for your ER stint. There are plenty of people who have done IB for a year or two who become a first year analyst again when they move to a bigger shop (and they have direct experience). I could see it going both ways, it really depends.

May 20, 2010

The ones you're most interested in.

May 20, 2010

Given strong ECs, you'll be fine, just pursue what you're interested in. GPA cut-offs, if they even really exist, seem arbitrary and no one can tell you exactly what each division is looking for.

May 20, 2010

Judging by what you've said - your interests are very much like mine. I would really recommend that you set your sights on ER and AM - as, over the course of an analyst/ research associate stint, you'll be exposed to considerably more 'investment analysis' than you would be in IBD. In many of the AM firms, you will be encouraged to develop a wide circle of competence, typically with rotational sector research roles.

I personally believe that you would be bored immensely by IBD - the interaction that analysts typically have with the market is restricted to pulling historical stock price data from Factset, whereas in ER, you'll be following a sector closely, and develop a level of expertise that would be extremely valuable to a long-only or HF, when your time comes to make a switch.

Please ignore those who say that ER is inferior to IBD - they are vastly different roles, and in my experience, the calibre of candidates is largely the same. In ER, you will have an opportunity to gradually build up your own network of buy-side analysts (as well as some PMs), and its probable that if you are good, you won't necessarily need a headhunter to make the switch (although this is fund-dependent).

PS: Talking about your investment portfolio will be a definite plus point when going for ER and AM internship places. In IBD, they will ask you about it, but you may well be pushed into defending the "why IBD and not AM/ER?" question that they will throw at you, and it appears that your heart is set in terms of what you want to do!

PPS: Don't underestimate the lifestyle issue too!

May 20, 2010

This is a complete anecdote, but I know someone that got an offer at GS in ER with a 3.3. No affirmative action.

May 20, 2010

if you want to do banking, nothing beats banking. so yea Jefferies

May 20, 2010

If you want IBD/PE=Jefferies HF/ER=BB

Reality hits you hard, bro...

May 20, 2010

ok what about random boutique with good deal flow vs big ER? This is for an SA, which would give me a better chance at a top IBD FT?

May 20, 2010

Boutique IB. Anything that doesn't read "IB" gets discounted heavily in the eyes of recruters.

May 20, 2010

bluespirit - really? i understand if its like BB ops or BB PWM but i know equity research is considered a front-office position with very similar skillsets to IB. Why wouldnt a brand ER > Boutique IB for an SA position? I have already worked at a boutique IB firm sophomore year

May 20, 2010

Eagles29 - It's just easier to explain in an interview in terms of skills and commitment to IB etc. Unless you are sure you can get very good experience in modelling at a research house then I would still recommend IB. The skill sets are similar but are actually subtly different in important ways.

Plus, the recuiting system is skewed - if analysts doing phone interviews recommend a bunch of research interns often the seniors will go "what happened to all those guys with relevant IB experience?"..

May 20, 2010

Agreed with blueofspirit - if you want to work in IB, get some experience in IB. When we were doing recruiting, the resumes got sorted into two piles - those with IB experience and those without.

See this thread where I talk about how bankers read resumes during recruiting: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/ugly-truth-a...

May 20, 2010

CaptK - i already have soph IB experience and the SA would prob be at the same place; in that case would big ER be better in terms of brand name?

May 20, 2010
eagles29:

CaptK - i already have soph IB experience and the SA would prob be at the same place; in that case would big ER be better in terms of brand name?

If it were me, and I were reading a resume for an IB position, the more IB experience the better. Why would you spend a summer doing something you don't actually want to work in, when you could get a deeper experience in IB?

May 20, 2010

Contrary to what most people on this board say, Jefferies is a very decent bank.

May 20, 2010

CapK because besides my school I dont have any brand names on my resume, so i was thinking working for a prestigious firm + prior experience in IB would be better than just 2 boutique IB experiences when I apply for full time jobs

May 20, 2010

If you want to stay in investment banking, definitely take the investment banking internship. It's not frequent for people to say that they know for a fact they want to do banking full time, but if you do, I'd say it's a pretty easy decision. Jefferies is a fine place to do your internship.

May 20, 2010

Echoing everyone else, investment banking ANYWHERE > any other job, even if it's Google, E.R. at GS, etc.

May 20, 2010

1styearbanker ... this is for SA not FT. is banking at a noname boutique seriously better for FT recruiting than MBB, Google Corp Development, GS ER/S&T? If its better than fidelity ER i understand but ANYWHERE?

May 20, 2010

Yes, my post was directed towards SA, especially junior SA's. Investment Banking on your resume will help you get fulltime banking better than any other job position no matter the prestige of the firm.

However, this is with the mindset that you are aiming for investment banking. If you are open to other career choices, then passing up GS S&T/ER for no-name boutique IBD may not be as great of an idea. It seems like you want to do IBD, so go for IBD.

It is exceptionally hard to switch groups at BB's, even if its S&T/E.R. to IBD. Obviously you'll have a leg up over the back office guys but look at some of the other threads around here where GS PWM kids try to switch to other roles. 0 luck.

MBB is a different job altogether and if you purchase the WSO guide on here called "Behind the wall" you'll see that a majority of the PE/VC kids went to boutiques and then lateralled to BB's. Its always easier to go from banking to banking because the community is small and the experience very valuable. Resumes are split among those with IBD experience and those without.

If you are trying to explore other options and are open minded, then go ahead and take MBB or GS E.R/S&T (though I understand this is not the current scenario you have given). If you only want banking, then taking the IBD internship is probably best. Either way, you still have fulltime recruiting to go through.

BUT, in your case, you wrote "equity research at a top mutual fund like Fidelity or investment banking at an unknown boutique or a place like Jefferies."

This is very easily solved because E.R. at fidelity is not E.R. at GS because at least at GS you can network with bankers who work a floor below you and GS is known to be an investment bank. If you want investment banking, Fidelity will not get you there and you cannot network with Fidelity people to get IBD. Therefore, you should accept your boutique IBD offer.

May 20, 2010

1styearbanker so are you telling me that someone with a boutique IB internship has a better chance of getting GS/MS/etc for IB full-time than someone with 3 internships at Blackstone Asset Management, McKinsey, and bain? i would love to believe that (since i have a done an IB internship) but if the skillsets are similar (consulting/ER/IB) why wouldnt a much bigger brand name matter?

May 20, 2010

I go to a target school and had a prestigious SA position this summer within the finance industry, but not in IB. When I went through FT recruiting this fall looking for a job in in IB, everyone had three main questions for me:

-Do you know what we do in IB?
-Why do you want to do IB?
-How do I know you want to deal with all the bullshit/long hours/drudgery involved in IB?

I landed a good job, so clearly I was able to answer those questions reasonably well, but I think you should definitely believe all the people who are telling you to go with the IB job for SA if you have the choice.

Having IB experience and wanting to go back definitely gives you an incredible amount of credibility in interviews.

May 20, 2010

Let's not blow this out of proportion. Does a 2.0 gpa kid with Piper Jaffray IBD experience have a better chance at BB IBD than a 4.0 Wharton McKinsey fresh, BlackRock soph, D.E. Shaw junior guy? Probably not.

But realistically this is 1 vs 1, not 3 vs 1.

If you're going to have 3 big names on a resume vs ONLY no name IBD, then who knows? Maybe you're right, the former would be better. But that's not fair if you are going to slam 3 years of experience on a resume and give the opposing side only 1.

To answer your question, skillsets are NOT that similar for internships. IBD interns get a feel of the hours. They work a good 80-100 hours a week just like the other analysts. They are taught a lot and its basically a 3 month prep course. Meanwhile, you have internships at consulting/e.r. where you work 60 hours or whatever doing random work that no one really knows. Some consulting internships are meaningful and others you do data entry and B.S. transactional work. I've never done consulting but as a banker, I don't think a good consultant makes a good banker at all.

Furthermore, IBD on a resume shows that you are dedicated to IBD and you know why you want to do it. If a kid has IBD on his belt and is coming back for more IBD, then it's a lot safer bet than some 4.0 Mrs. Perfect with PWM/ER at a BB who may quit after a month because she realizes that IBD is not for her.

The latter happens a lot, but it almost never happens to those who have had IBD experience before and know what they are getting themselves into. Also, knowing you've had a IBD internship basically means the bank is going to hire you knowing you got a 3 month prep course on IBD already and you're ready to hit the ground running.

But again, let's stick to a realistic scenario which was given in the original post. This guy is not choosing 3 years of MBB over no name IBD, he's choosing IBD vs Fidelity and therefore its an easy pick in favor of the former.

TKdown: Good point, and we do give special preference to resumes who have IBD experience.

Edit: To answer your last question, big names don't really matter to us because we all know those who try to use big names to hide their position. When I sift through resumes I look at positions, not names. Goldman Sachs Data Entry is not going to impress anyone. That's an extreme example but a big name is nothing without the position. Some kids even have the nerve to just write shit like Morgan Stanley and leave out their job position on the resume and you can tell from the bulletpoints that its some back office crap. Those are the autodings. And also the bullet points for IBD internships are almost always more impressive than bulletpoints for other positions when you are applying for IBD. Writing about decks and modeling is going to impress any recruiter for IBD, but I don't give a shit how many bullshit reports you write for E.R.

May 20, 2010

It's the exact same thing. You join the bank, they flip a coin. Heads, you're labelled as ER, tails, you're IBD.

May 20, 2010

haha

May 20, 2010

What are some of the different skills sets in ER vs. IBD? Help appreciated!

May 20, 2010

ER rox!!!

May 20, 2010

shutup dumbass

May 20, 2010

lol....they are pretty different dude

May 20, 2010

Bump.. Anyone? I'd like to have a decision by Tuesday

May 20, 2010

pm'ed you something...

"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be"

May 20, 2010

it depends which mm

May 20, 2010
banker00:

it depends which mm

this

May 20, 2010

I don't know how to describe it without giving away details. It's not one of the elite MM firms. I don't see it mentioned on WSO very often. It's a respectable shop, but name isn't very high up there

May 20, 2010
Durden:

I don't know how to describe it without giving away details. It's not one of the elite MM firms. I don't see it mentioned on WSO very often. It's a respectable shop, but name isn't very high up there

How many transactions would you say they advise on per year and what size? Are you talking MM $300mm to $1B? Or MM as in $50mm to $500mm?

May 20, 2010

i'd go with ER

May 20, 2010

I'd choose ER if you want HF eventually. Could you maybe give a hint as to what some peer banks of the MM are, is it a HLHZ or more of a Sterne, Agee?

May 20, 2010

You'll have to excuse my paranoia. I've heard a few stories about offers being rescinded due to online posts. Deals are in the $50-$500 million range. I wouldn't consider HLHZ one of it's peer banks. This bank doesn't carry the same recognition

May 20, 2010

Because they like equity research and they think it fits their personality better.

It's not all about "exit ops".

May 20, 2010

It's just a different job that some people prefer over banking. The exit opps, while maybe not as broad, are still great. Good buyside placement, not so much for PE because of the lack of deal experience, but it's good for HF/AM because the work is directly transferrable.

It's all about the type of work you want to do.

May 20, 2010

Sell side ER is the clearest path to working on the buy side. A lot of people want to work on the buy side, which is generally considered a better long-term career than investment banking. Some other considerations:

  • sell-side ER comp is still good, though lower than IB
  • lifestyle is a hell of a lot better
  • most people consider ER more intellectually stimulating. It's closer to consulting in this regard.
May 20, 2010

It really pertains to your interests, it will basically come down to what you find more interesting. I have never worked full-time in either field but I mean I think I would find ER more interesting than IBD. By the way when you say IBD which part of investment banking do you mean? M&A, restructuring etc? Each Company is different though quite similar but there tends to be different corporate structures depending on the firm

May 20, 2010

Flatter structure, easier to move up faster if you're good. Still possible to exit to a good L/S HF presuming you come out of a top ER division. Work can be more creative, interesting.

May 20, 2010

eresearcher are you currently interning/working in....equity research? If so give us some insight on a general note, how you like it? Thanks

May 20, 2010

Some Background info.

I had a IB summer internship with a BB but I'm currently doing a interview with MM ER. I personally want to do IBD over ER, but it's a tough market and I'll just take whatever I can get. I just want to get some ideas about why would ppl choose ER over IB cause I might get asked why switching to ER from IB during the interview.

May 20, 2010

It really all depends. A lot of people, especially here, are bearish on research going forward and they tend to avoid it. There's good reason for that if you want/need a lot of structure going forward. If you want to go work for a hedge fund afterwards, you're only as good as the quality of the ideas you have generated for the companies you cover. That can be daunting to IBD analysts who are completing deals put together by the senior people. This shouldn't detract from the IBD experience, which can be very worthwhile. In fact, I would consider going over to IBD after another year in research to get some deal experience before going to the buyside.

This is just my view, but I like research at the junior level because it can be much more learning intensive than working in an IBD industry group. In other words, there's a lot of depth that you can add by working in ER rather than just doing deals all the time. The time frame for you to be "right" is quicker--there's no telling whether or not a deal makes sense until years later (see the Dealbook post today on AOL Time Warner), whereas in ER the time frame is much shorter.

As I said, if you tend to be really good, then you move up quickly. In fact, many BBs like their jr. analysts to stay on beyond two years. If you look at many of the top fund managers, they are so research intensive that it validates ER as an exit. Many of these guys have ER backgrounds too. Granted, some like IBD analysts better. But again, it all depends on what you're looking for.

May 20, 2010

I've been working for a MM firm for the past ~9 months or so and I really like research. As with many people on this board, I was trying to get an IBD gig (preferably M&A) straight out of college but so far I've enjoyed my experience within research. The work can get a bit boring at times, but I have a feeling your IBD counterparts get bored of putting pitch books together time after time. You have to enjoy/tolerate writing a lot because you spend a lot of time communicating your (well your analysts) ideas into notes often or in email to clients/sales.

Here's a list of things that I enjoy about the job:

  1. More opportunity to travel, meet/communicate with buyside clients, and talk to senior mgmt (of companies you cover). I've had the opportunity to do all of the above so far. In a couple days, I'll be in Vegas for CES since I cover a sector within technology. During my time there, I'll be talking with clients, meeting more executives of companies, and ultimately networking as well. It's great exposure at such a young age.
  2. Working in a small-niche team. I support two analysts alongside another associate and we all get along pretty well. You're constantly in communication with your analyst whether he's on the road or in the office and you get the opportunity to really understand how your analyst thinks about companies/industry. Ultimately you'll have to translate those thoughts/ideas into a note. It's challenging at first but it really allows you to understand the companies and industry you cover more thouroughly.
  3. You have the chance to move up the chain at an accelerated pace/no structured 2 years and your gone. If you're a superstar, you'll have the opportunity to move up at a quick pace. Obviously I haven't experienced this yet but a former associate I worked with had this opportunity. In most cases, if you don't want to leave after 2-3 years, you often don't have to - assuming you don't get canned in that time. And if you want to leave, you've often made plenty of contacts in the industry or at buy-side firms to where you can leave.

Hope that helps you out.

May 20, 2010

Hi Shawn,

Thanks so much for you insights. It really helps. I want to get into M&A group as well but only get ER interviews. What you said really makes this job sound very interesting. Really appreciate your input

May 20, 2010

i think its much harder to get into ER since there're just less openings out there. any thought on this? which bank tends to hire a decent size of research associates/interns?

May 20, 2010

I switched from PE/IB to ER because of the type of work you do in ER.

A good junior guy in IB/PE is doing analysis, modeling shit in excel, keeping up on companies, and other sorts of in the weeds work. As you move up, it starts being more managerial, transactional, and eventually all about relationships. On the IB side, all of the skills that make for a good junior guy disappear at even the VP level. A good MD just manages a team and makes it rain. On the PE side, you first move into serious DD mode, then transactional management, finally into making it rain.

On the ER side, a great senior guy has the same skills as a junior guy, just with a ton more experience. You eventually move from modeling and making graphs to coming up with the narrative, but the basics don't change. You will still manage your junior guys, keep in touch with clients etc, however it is a smaller portion of your job then on the banking side. ER is also non-transactional, that is to say its all about flow. You put out updates every quarter, and when there is news. You don't spend 8 months working on a deal that falls through.

For many people, ER is about as boring as it gets. You don't have transactions, big deals, the work is pretty much the same on a day to day basis, and it isn't (for the most part) as prestigious a job.

Personally, I like excel, analysis, etc and don't really like pure management and networking. I also have had so many transactions fall through at the last minute for a variety of reasons that they no longer seemed sexy to me. All of these things considered, when I had the opportunity to move to a very strong firm, I made the move to ER.

All that being said, starting out in IB will give you the kind of skill set, work ethic, and experience you CANNOT get in an intro ER role. So, as a break in roll, for basically anyone, I would recommend a few years in IB.

May 20, 2010

Really insightful analysis here - thank you guys for sharing your thoughts!

May 20, 2010

IBD. Do a search lazyman.

May 20, 2010

lol
Both are sell side
Did you do ANY research before postin gthis?

May 20, 2010

Ha here ya go.

Research = cover niche stocks (think within health care, or within technology, or within finanicals).
You would work under a "analyst" eg. Managing director. This would be revising company models, changing price targets. Basically all of the guys under "analysts estimates" under yahoo finance would be your boss.

Investment banking analyst = Transactional work, you are going to be helping put together everything form legit work (working on a M&A model or LBO see DELL transaction). Or garbage work, updating price volume charts for books that are simply "introductions" to actual pitchbooks where you have a legitimate chance of getting revenue.

You can find all the differences on this website or in a single article in the signature of this post. Good luck.

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May 20, 2010

IB Analyst = entry level, ER Analyst = more senior

*edit* someone threw monkey shit at me for this comment. Am I wrong? Because I know I'm not.

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May 20, 2010

equity research

May 20, 2010

Personally both routes would be quite difficult. There are a lot less people applying to ER, but the circle is much better. In most cases, the prep work needed for both is quite similar with a few minor exceptions (note recap, stock pitch etc.) If you're interested in both, might as well try networking for both. Mergers&inquisitions has great articles on it.

May 20, 2010

I've known way more people who get into ER. But neither is particularly difficult (in the sense that there is a formula). You just have to execute. High grades, build credentials, apply to internships, get offer from internship.

I think you should try to do what you want not what you think is easier (unless one is unrealistic obviously).

May 20, 2010

I think both are similarly difficult to break into. So long as you follow the formula, as said above, you fit the bill for both. However one thing is certain that hasn't been mentioned: you must have an actual interest in the work. You won't get an ER job if you dislike investing or don't know anything about it. Similarly, you won't get an IB job if you dislike sales or the concept of working on something potentially meaningless (as sometimes happens with transactions that don't close).

May 20, 2010

let your passion lead your way. nothing is too difficult if you put your mind to it. i graduated from a non-target with a top GPA and made it into equity research.. i wouldnt want to touch IB with a ten foot pole.. just love the stock market too much. follow your passion and you will get there. every failure is one step closer to being successful.

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May 20, 2010

Both equally tough for different reasons - tons of people apply for IBD, but there are tons of people needed (relatively) and less people apply for ER, but there are also very few needed for those roles.

May 20, 2010

If you want to do ER, do ER. If you want to do IBD, do IBD. Simple decision that depends on what you want to do.

May 20, 2010
goblan:

If you want to do ER, do ER. If you want to do IBD, do IBD. Simple decision that depends on what you want to do.

Yeah, I'd honestly be happier in ER, but I'd also be willing to slave away for a couple years in IB if that investment would make a huge difference down the road.

May 20, 2010

Move from IBD to research is pretty easy.

IBD -> HF is easier at the lower level
IBD -> VC is easier

Sounds like IBD for you unless you are set on Research Analyst. Sure you saw it but we posted a PDF that maps out how you jump around on the street.

May 20, 2010
WallStreetPlayboys:

Move from IBD to research is pretty easy.

IBD -> HF is easier at the lower level
IBD -> VC is easier

Sounds like IBD for you unless you are set on Research Analyst. Sure you saw it but we posted a PDF that maps out how you jump around on the street.

Where can I find this PDF?

Also, how common/easy is a move to a corporate development or finance type role from ER and IBD if I happen to get tired of the Street life?

May 20, 2010

Any other opinions?

May 20, 2010
May 20, 2010
May 20, 2010
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