FoF interview HELP!!! (don't we all love interviews)


Hi! I've got an interview with Forester Capital for Research Analyst (see job description below) in a few days, and I would really appreciate it if you can help me answer the following questions:

1) What do I need to know about HF/FoF/the market?
(for someone who's never had a HF interview, that is...)
2) How technical would the questions be?
(the job description says they "welcome candidates from all majors to apply" and an English-major friend of mine who has no experience in finance also got an interview, so I'm a bit skeptical...)
3) What are some top qualities that they are looking for?
4) Do you know anything about the firm?
(I couldn't find much about it online, the company description from the job posting is also attached below)

Any words of wisdom/advices/insights/suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!!!

Forester Capital, LLC ("Forester" or "The Firm") manages private investment funds designed to produce superior risk-adjusted returns by investing in the best hedge funds available. The firm seeks to invest primarily in long/short equity and absolute return managers that are driven by bottom-up fundamental research and analysis. The firm seeks to select fund managers with complimentary strategies and expertise in order to form diversified portfolios of hedge funds. The goal of our firm is to produce superior returns with less volatility than the market. Our stable investor base includes prominent college and university endowments, museums, hospitals, charitable foundations and families. Forester was established in 2000 and now manages over $2 billon in client assets.

Our team members have diverse backgrounds with experience at Tiger Management; Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette; Cambridge Associates; Ernst & Young; and Partner Reinsurance and education at Kellogg; Duke; Yale; Boston College; Barnard; Bryn Mawr; Connecticut College; Manhattan and Fairfield University. The work environment is a positive, collegial atmosphere, where we emphasize collaboration and foster development.

Job Description:

Position: Research Analyst

Applicant Characteristics:
As a growing firm in the Asset Management business, we are looking for candidates who possess the basic building blocks for success. We value candidates who are honest and have integrity. We are also looking for candidates who can handle a breadth of responsibilities, while maintaining accuracy and remaining focused on results. Candidates should possess strong analytical, writing, and communication skills. They should be excited to learn about hedge fund managers focused on a variety of industries and geographic areas. In addition, candidates should have the ability, willingness, and versatility to research these managers in depth. Candidates should be personable and enjoy working in a team environment. We welcome candidates from all majors to apply for the research analyst position.

Candidates should expect a range of responsibilities related to manager research and manager monitoring. As the firm grows, the candidate's responsibilities should increase.

  1. The candidate will be involved in the process of monitoring existing managers. Their responsibilities may include reviewing performance, portfolio reports, and correspondence, as well as preparing for and participating in annual reviews of our managers.

  2. The candidate will be involved in the due diligence process for prospective managers. This may include contacting prime brokers, screening new managers, compiling and reviewing information on these managers, regularly updating performance, and preparing for and participating in manager meetings.

  3. The candidate will be involved in quantitative analysis of Forester's managers and portfolios. This may include providing written reports on various portfolio statistics and creating exhibits in Excel.

  4. The candidate will be involved in regularly updating relevant global stock market information in addition to completing relevant shorter-term research projects.

  5. The candidate will participate in team discussions regarding the future of the funds and business.

Comments (41)

Feb 5, 2013 - 5:46pm

Have you studied modern portfolio theory? Do you understand the basic principles behind diversification? The entire FoHF model is centered around it, and you need to understand it if you want to work in it.

I'd start by making sure you know all of the basic hedge fund strategies. Make sure you understand the basics behind what L/S Equity, Global Macro, Commodities, Merger Arbitrage, etc. do.

Risk metrics are also important. Sharpe, Sortino, Calmar are all relevant.

Finally, I'd recommend understanding correlation and how de-correlated alpha leads to better return streams. As stated previously, the entire point of a fund of hedge fund is to diversify away from the traditional 60/40 fi/equities portfolio. Most FoHF's are market agnostic and (theoretically) can perform well independently of the market. It should also be noted that this is a relatively hot topic and the evidence is in favor of fund of hedge funds being highly correlated and in fact being terrible as a diversifying tool.

Hope this helps.

Your Pal,


Feb 6, 2013 - 8:49am

I think they've hired women for this role the past few times.....?

Anyway, I'd expect some basic questions on the various hedge fund strategies and what you would look for in deciding whether or not to invest in a manager. I never interviewed there but I imagine that this would be along the same lines as the other FoF interviews I've been on.

Feb 6, 2013 - 9:12am

I also seem to recall that this firm was founded by a Tiger Cub and has usually had a pretty lean head count in terms of investment professsionals. Last I looked, it was the founder, a senior guy under him ("director of research" or something like that), maybe somebody else, and then this position you're describing. I think they had three funds and two different investment strategies. They're based in CT. Performance had been good and their roster of managers reads like a "who's who" of the big name managers. Definitely one of the better hedge fund allocators out there.

That's just off the top of my head so take it for whatever it's worth. May or may not be 100% correct.

Apr 7, 2015 - 10:44am

During the interview process -for the position of due diligence counsel/compliance counsel - the discussion focused on the firm's current practices, what the responsibilities of the role involved and how my experience fit with the responsibilities. At the end, I was asked to take a test. The test was to "edit" an investor letter. The letter was full of errors, including grammar, punctuation and spelling errors, confusing voice and even words out of context. I am someone who has been writing all my life, starting in my middle school gifted program, through my education as an english major at a selective university and law school, to the present day where I write short stories as a hobby and am an avid reader of literature and literary magazinse. So it didn't even occur to me that the test could be too difficult for me to pass. I took it seriously and read it carefully and considered the problems and then I did my best to correct the items I believed needed to be corrected. If anything, I think I over-edited the piece. I am not sure what happened but my recruiter told me that HR told her I failed the "editing" test. Notwithstanding how well the interview portion went, I could not proceed unless I passed the "edit" test. It seemed very arbitrary. Was their some hidden issue that I missed? My recruiter told me that had I passed, I would have gone on to the next step of the process, a personality test. And then if my personality matched what they were looking for, I would go on to another skills test where they analyzed my ability to actually perform due diligence on a fund. An interesting process to say the least.

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May 17, 2016 - 11:51pm

anyone know anything recent about this firm? sounds like something is going on there though they are still hiring. I heard of a position but learned a bunch of stuff like there were no raises, they have a several year deferral on bonuses, 401k match from 100% to something in the teens,health insurance was downgraded to a lesser plan or employees have to pay a bunch for a better plan,, stopped little perks like snacks and beverages, etc. I heard morale was horrible, employees don't feel valued or respected, communication by management is awful, etc. Would love to know if anyone has any insight. pretty sure I want to steer clear but would like to know if there is something I should know that might make it more attractive. Seems I should just look at other places without these issues. Anyone, anything?

May 18, 2016 - 12:04am

FOF Interview presentation on whether to invest in a HF (Originally Posted: 11/15/2015)

I'm in the interview process for an investment analyst position at a pension/endowment. They gave me a hedge fund, its returns and returns of a few relevant benchmark indices, and want me to create presentation in which I recommend whether they hire the manager or not.

I was wondering if anyone might be able to help me out/ pm me an example of this type of presentation.

I really appreciate any assistance.

May 18, 2016 - 12:07am

Hedge Fund FoF Interview Question (Originally Posted: 04/26/2010)

I have a finance interview coming up for an operational due diligence analyst position at an internal hedge fund of funds group at a top BB. Was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on what I should know. Previously summered in a HF FoF group at an MM bank on the investment side.

May 18, 2016 - 12:09am

If you have experience at a FoF... you shouldn't really have a problem eh?
Know their strategy? What types of hedgefunds are in their portfolio?
Average AUM of the hedgefunds, why they focus on a certain type of hedgefund....benefits of doing so.
Know the markets, etc. how market changes influenced performance of hedgefunds...its a different breed of investment when you are a FoF...
Who are their clients? How much capital does the FoF have under management. The types of clients they have will tell you a lot about what type of fund they are (but don't think you can get this info haha)

May 18, 2016 - 12:11am

Please Help - FoF interview for research analyst position (Originally Posted: 02/17/2010)


I have a phone interview scheduled for tomorrow afternoon with a FOF on west coast for the position of research analyst (AUM $ 1B). I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have no idea about FoF except the basic definition. Even though I will do some reading tonight, I would really appreciate any thoughts on what questions to expect. Why would anyone want to join a FoF? (I personally would do it because I do not have any offers yet :-| )

Please, pretty please, help!


May 18, 2016 - 12:12am

I think some important technical questions that might be asked will be related to portfolio management and diversification effects. I've seen hedge fund of funds case interviews and it asked something about already having investments in 5 funds, does it make sense to invest in the 6th fund. As a research analyst interview, I think it's important to be following the markets and understand the same questions as S&T interviews.

----------------------------------------------------------------- “It's all nonsense. Firms use titles to pander to the egos of the employees without giving away the store. If you are getting the money, who cares about the title?"
May 18, 2016 - 12:14am

FoF Interview (Originally Posted: 09/13/2013)

Hey all,

I have a FoF (hedge funds) interview coming up soon, and would really like to some insight on what to expect? What type of questions, analysis will they ask of me? I know it's more of analyzing hedge funds and less investment analysis, but I am very new to this and would like some help on how to proceed to fully prepare for this interview.

It would be great to hear from FoF analysts as well. Thanks!

May 18, 2016 - 12:15am

read up on strategies that hedge funds utilize (long/short equity, event/catalyst driven, high frequency, statistical arbitrage, merger arbitrage, macro, multi-strategy, opportunistic, distressed debt/credit derivatives). If you don't have much knowledge about hedge funds then you probably wont be able to fully grasp all the strategies, just have a general idea about each how each strategy tries to make money. Depending on what kind of position this interview is for they might ask you which variables would you look at when trying to determine a managers true alpha. As for resources, find study materials/buy or rent a book on the CAIA (chartered alternative investment analyst) and read up on all the sections that pertain to hedge funds.

May 18, 2016 - 12:16am

QUICK help needed- FoF Interview (Originally Posted: 01/26/2011)

I have an interview at a small fund of funds coming up, and i need a clear picture of what to expect.

I'm a recent graduate with some internship experience (corporate finance, market investment bank), from a strong regional (NYC area) state school, with a liberal arts (econ/poli sci) background.

This position mostly entails fund due diligence and some analysis.

My preparation consists of:

Knowing the main HF strategies

Knowing what a CTA is and what they do (they are a CTA)

Keeping current on the news

Knowing what the due diligence process is like

Being prepared for brain teasers.

Anything I'm missing? What can I expect at this type of interview?

I need a response fast if anyone is willing to help, as I can't find any similar topics posted. Thanks!

May 18, 2016 - 12:17am

Sounds like you are well prepared, assuming your answers to the questions you listed are on track.

Make sure you don't forget the basics though -- tell me about yourself, why this firm/role, strengths/weaknesses, tell me about a time you faced a challenge, etc.

May 18, 2016 - 12:18am

The one question I'd like some input on is why I want to work at a FoF / or in a due diligence position.

My answer is:

-Exposure to different hedge fund strategies and portfolio managers (should I say both? or just one?)
-It's my long term career goal to have a career in hedge funds
-I can see myself in it for the long-term in a small environment, so a small fund is perfect
- It would be in line with my plan to eventually do one of the following: business school, specialize at a different fund, or grow to a larger position at a fund I'm employed at

Would this work?

May 18, 2016 - 12:19am

I would focus your reply on your first point. But elaborate on how you want to dig deep and learn different managers strategies, etc. Also, if this is a CTA FOFs, make sure you know about the different CTA strategies -- technical, fundamental, trend following, systematic and discretionary.

May 18, 2016 - 12:20am

Nice, thanks!

Do you or anyone else have some suggestions on any books I could possibly read? I really want to be comfortable with talking about hedge funds, I feel as though reading through a book could help.

I did a search and Inside the House of Money and Invisible Hands came up.

Would these be helpful for this interview at a FoF? Any other books? (The Handbook on Alternative Investments came up as well, not sure how helpful it would be).

May 18, 2016 - 12:21am

Fund of Funds Internship, Post-Graduate (Originally Posted: 08/19/2014)

I have an interview for an internship with a fund of funds based in DC which focuses on emerging markets. Just had a few questions if you guys could help me out.

First of all, I graduated a year ago and have worked for a well known development finance institution on two contracts the past year. As I am not employed at the moment, an internship to break into a hedge fund would be a transition I would like to make.

What are some skills/thoughts I should be aware of when interviewing? I supported investor relations at my previous employer, so I was hoping to push that point. Likewise, what are some questions I could ask to show interest? The manager I am interviewing with runs the Long/Short Equity team.

If anyone knows of the firm, please PM me. I would really appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

May 18, 2016 - 12:22am
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