How to gracefully leave buyside equity research job?

Moneykee's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 372

Hi all - I'm looking for advice about how to most gracefully quit my job. I tried searching but couldn't find anything specific to asset management, which seems like a different dynamic than banking. If something is out there, please point me in the right direction.

So, I'm a buyside equity analyst leaving my mutual fund and have a couple questions about how to leave on the best terms (switching industry, fyi).

  1. How much notice is customary? From what I've gathered maybe it's a month?
  2. In banking everyone advises not to tell anyone where you're going. Does this apply to institutional asset management too? I'm very close with my team, and that feels like it would be perceived to be extremely rude/distrusting, but I also don't want to compromise my new job or anything.

Thanks for the help!

Comments (9)

Feb 11, 2019

Why are you leaving the industry? And are you planning to go back?

Look at the notice period on your employment contract - figure out if it makes sense to tell them earlier. I'd suggest being honest in general, but especially about where you are going to, eventually they'll find out anyways through linkedin or google search.

The rule of thumb is always thanking them, and figuring out the one thing they cannot give you. There must be something, otherwise you probably wouldn't be looking for a new job. It could be location, preferences of spouse / phase of life (better hours), learning opportunities (i.e. want to be a better, more holistic investor and be able to invest across the entire cap structure). I honestly don't see why one would exchange buyside ER job for banking, but even then I'm sure you could say you wanted to round of your investing skills with ability to execute deals that actually drive markets or something along those lines.

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Feb 11, 2019

Thanks for the thoughts. I think technically employment contract just says two weeks, but is that sufficient in the 'real world'?

I completely expect them to find out where I'm going pretty quickly, which is why I have never really understood why you wouldn't just be honest about it. I guess maybe in banking it's a different story?

I'm leaving for an industry that interests me more, so I think the why is more than taken care of, and that shouldn't be an issue. I'm just trying to figure out these technical details. I probably won't be back to this specific industry, but I also don't want any past coworkers/bosses to be liabilities.

    • 1
Feb 11, 2019

Ok. I don't know your current role and its scope, but would take into consideration how much disruption your leaving will cause to the team. Have you seen other people depart at your firm? I'd probably err on the side of caution, e.g. tell them a month or perhaps 3 weeks in advance.
In my last job (though that was private investing) my notice was 2 months and I actually told them 4 months in advance. In retrospect that was stupid since my deal flow stopped pretty much the week they knew. I wrapped up my old deals, and snoozed for the last 2.5 months barely even showing up at the office. Sounds great, but it's actually depressing since you still have to somehow justify your existence. So tell soon, but not too soon.

Feb 11, 2019

No firsthand experience, but what I've seen from other coworkers leaving is that you at least give two weeks and preferably as much notice as it would take your firm to transfer your coverage to another analyst and notify clients, so ideally 1-3 months depending upon how senior you are how easy it is to transfer coverage (i.e. is there another analyst that can easily assume coverage relatively quickly). I have also seen consulting-style arranagements where the employee resigned immediately but provided insight on their coverage and would take phone calls as needed for a few months after in exchange for a fixed consulting fee.

However, be warned that they may tell you to walk as soon as you give notice. Personally, I would only give as much notice as I was comfortable taking financially and personally. For me, that would probably be 2 months and I would treat it as an extended vacation assuming they told me to get out immediately without any consulting arrangement etc.

I don't think there is any problem telling people where you're going, especially if it's outside the industry / not a direct competitor. In the age of linkedin and google, everybody will figure it out quickly anyways, so why be secretive. Obviously, don't spike the football or burn any bridges.

    • 3
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Feb 11, 2019

That's very insightful. Thank you. Kind of confirmed more or less what I was thinking.

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Feb 11, 2019

Pop a champagne bottle in your boss's office and record it on social media like that kid in NYC

Most Helpful
Feb 24, 2019

Saw your previous post as well. For the love of god, please tell me you're not quitting AM for IB. I understand corp dev / PE as you get more operational expertise, if that's an interest, but please, please, please tell me it's not IB.

Let me give you a little background. Graduated and started at a MM IB firm (interned as well). Grinding out 80-90 hour weeks was very common, which I did for 6 months until I got an opp to interview at a top boutique AM as a research associate. Between my first round and super day, I probably spent 2-3 hours a night just preparing for the interview. For some god-blessed reason, I got the offer. Now I'm making banking comp working 50-55 hours a week, absolutely loving the role. Been here for a year, and sometimes I wonder how I ever did anything different.

The reason why I tell you this is because if comp is an issue, it shouldn't be. First of all, 400k total comp in a low-cost city 10 years down the line is fantastic. That will never be a problem in terms of affording a beautiful 3 story house, paying out of pocket for 2 kids' college expense to Ivies (in 20-30 years), and affording excellent amenities (flying business class, eating at Michelin star restaurants, occasionally dropping 1k to buy tables at a club, etc.). Not telling you 'shame on you,' just putting stuff in perspective.

However, 400k is by no means the camp that a sr. analyst or PM should be limited to. At my shop, I know that virtually every sr. analyst & PM makes seven figures. As an analyst, you'd make 300k-600k generally. My boss has been unusually candid about comp trajectories, which is why I even know this info in the first place. So if pay really bothers you that much, then lateral to a different shop. Although in my strong, strong belief, the most important thing you should be valuing right now is learning, and particularly with a mentor who cares about you. Even if you offered me twice my comp right now to lateral to a different shop where I would be totally independent & not have a mentor who invests so much time in me, I 'd refuse. Eventually, yes, I 'd want that independence and analyst promotion, but right now, there's so much to learn from a guy with an absurd track record who cares deeply about my development.

Why am I saying this? Because comp is often not the most important thing to consider. Think about growth, think about lifestyle, think about learning, etc. I am good friends with 11 bankers (graduated with them). 9 out of 11 would kill to trade jobs with me. Of the other two, one is going to MF PE, and the other wants nothing to do with finance once his two years are up. I would strongly suspect even though you are at a low comp range/ceiling, any one of those 9 would switch jobs with you in a heartbeat. Having a role where you're paid 6 figures starting, working ~50 hours a week doing work that is deeply meaningful to you is priceless.

Not telling you to not leave AM, just telling you IB is NOT what you should leaving it for, and that whatever decision you make, do so for the right reasons, not a short-term comp mindset. If you truly don't enjoy AM anymore, then fine (although I struggle to even comprehend how that's possible, but that's just me). Just make sure whatever you are looking to move into is something that you would really love. Remember, you can't make up for the shittiness of a job in the other hours of your life. At 10 hours a day of work & 7 hours of sleep, you are literally spending ~60% of your waking hours at work. As WB says, do something that will make you feel like tap dancing to work. All the best my man

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Feb 11, 2019

I really appreciate your thoughts. While that post was only a couple years ago, I like to think I've matured a bit since then and realize comp is definitely not the most important thing. This isn't a comp decision at all - it's more about the direction I want my career to go, and that isn't necessarily public equities.

To quell your concerns, I'm going to PE, definitely not IB (I now appreciate how weird that move would be).

    • 1
Feb 25, 2019