HF vs PE

I'm an IBD analyst that is looking to make a move to the buy-side.

Unlike most others who have a clear path in their head regarding their exit to PE, VC, GE, HF, Corp Dev etc.. I'm more of an open-minded person and don't have anything specific that is my 'goal'. I just have an interest in investing and honestly have no clue which I would prefer between PE and HF so I've been recruiting for both.

I'm now in the awkward situation of being in the final rounds for both a PE fund and an equities L/S fund and have no idea which I should choose if I receive both offers. I might get rejected by both but I figured I need to prepare and have a big think about it before I hear the outcomes to be prepared for any scenario.

I really have no clue so choosing the one I'm more interested in is not applicable and would appreciate any advice on how you would go about choosing?

Type: not sure, I find both PE/private markets and HF / public equities interesting

Size/Reputation: PE fund is respected and well known in the MM space with around $2bn AUM. HF is unknown with very little information online but the backgrounds of those there are respectable (all come from BB Equity Research) with around $400m AUM. Despite the HF having a smaller AUM, it also has far fewer people which should make up for this on an AUM per head basis.

Returns: Both funds have delivered strong returns in their areas

Culture: both cultures sounded great, got on with all my interviewers and liked them all. HF has fewer employees so will have less of a social scene

Hours: Probs very similar in terms of hours just HF has earlier mornings. I expect HF to be standard HF hours maybe 7am - 8pm. PE fund said culture is of big importance for them they don't want to make juniors work their lives away like at most PE funds i.e. they said if not on a live deal then people finish up by 6 but when working on a live deal or during busy periods it could be late hours but they try their best to respect times and peoples weekends.

Security: PE fund will have better job security and less pressure to generate investment ideas whereas I know at HFs there is a lot of pressure to generate ideas and a high risk of being fired e.g. citadel who is known for firing people within a few months if they don't perform well. I guess job security is important in a competitive environment.

I guess the decision really comes down to whether I prefer public or private investing and I'm really unsure, would appreciate advice and thoughts I should consider.


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Comments (7)

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jan 28, 2021 - 2:56pm

I know HF analysts who did BB IB -> MF PE -> MF GE -> L/S HF. You have the flexibility to tour the entire buy-side if you do IB -> PE, so if you're really unsure that's probably the best bet. You can always evacuate PE early if you hate it and the experience will make you a stronger candidate for public markets jobs.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jan 28, 2021 - 6:11pm

Yeah I'm just an intern but I've discussed this with the analysts in question quite a bit. They had the flexibility to rotate when things got stale and don't have any doubts/FOMO about whether they want to do PE or HF since they've done both now. It takes longer to make the full trip across the buy-side but it seems like a great experience imo.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Ind
Jan 29, 2021 - 1:18pm

What were their reasons for ultimately moving from PE to HF? And have they said whether they regret or are happy with their decision since moving?

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jan 29, 2021 - 1:40pm

They seem quite happy with the HF move and those who did VC/GE said that was fun too and would enjoy doing more of that in the future. Nobody wants to go back to PE though, echoed comments on this forum that it's banking 2.0. Hours suck and the work is still far more process bullshit than critical thinking. Despite hating it they acknowledge they got very good at modeling/dissecting companies which has helped a lot with the public markets switch.

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