Moving from a hedge fund to a bank? Possible to move back?

I'll admit immediately - I've never worked in banks. Probably a mistake of my career. After uni I joined a grad scheme at a large company and after 2 years there I got hired at a hedge fund. I'm at a senior position at a hedge fund but "senior" at a hedge fund means nothing. As far as experience I've done everything - quant development, quant research, operations, trading etc. I've been approached by a few banks (GS, JPM, MS etc) directly. I didn't apply, their recruiters found me on linkedin and have pitched roles to me.

A bit worried about these things:
1. I don't like bureaucracy - banks tend to have a lot of it
2. I consider a company of 100 people large. I've worked in funds where the entire fund fits in a single room (which is also not a very large room).
3. Pay...got to say that hedge funds haven't exactly made me rich but I could be poorer.

Has anyone else made the move? If I wanted to go back to a hedge fund, would having gone from hedge funds to a bank and now wanting to go back a disadvantage? After googling it seems most people want to make the opposite switch.

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Comments (7)

Most Helpful
Feb 26, 2020 - 8:16am

Banks are full of (i) internal politics, (ii) endless bureaucracy, (iii) overkill on compliance and rules, and (iv) full of useless people who like to hold endless meetings. If you want to be rewarded for being good at what you do, stay at a small company where everyone in the organization can see your value add. If you go to a bank you need to learn how to play politics and you will have layers and layers of people above you trying to take credit for your work and blame you when things go wrong.

  • 5
Feb 26, 2020 - 8:51am

I'm of the same thinking/experience as you. What about pay at a bank? I've certainly heard MDs being on 7 figure salaries and having a pretty interesting job/career. The exit options - some large hedge funds spun out of banks. What about training? Hedge funds are pretty focused, everyone is hired for their particular skill and you don't get trained and people tend not to want to teach you much...but mostly, you get hired in a position and moving anywhere else is a no-no. In a bank you get more exposure to different parts, you can potentially get involved with things that aren't exactly your job spec but you find interesting and have the training?

I agree with you but I'll say this. There is politics everywhere. Hedge funds are no exception. There's no escaping politics. Also in hedge funds, we've been pretty skimpy on costs. For example, do you really need a Bloomberg terminal? If the answer is yes, you still don't get one. I was sharing a terminal with the COO, CTO, CIO at a fund with only the CEO having their own. It's true, they can see your value add but this doesn't mean you'll get more money. Let me just say that a risk analyst at a large and prestigious hedge fund I've worked at got less than 35k in 2019. Sure he was recent hire and inexperienced but I got 45k as an intern at a bank in 2010. As far as training at a hedge fund - forget it. You need to deliver without training and while you can learn on your own, it's not the same thing as having people teach you which they won't at a hedge fund and they can't cause they don't have the resource.

Don't get me wrong, I've had bonuses over 100% of salary but it wasn't easy to get these...work wise and politics wise.

Feb 26, 2020 - 10:24am

i've seen many traders move from hedge funds to banks (interest rates trading)
typically, this only happens when you are not killing it at the hedge fund.

bank traders are a hybrid of both marker makers and prop traders. some traders (and i guess quants) have skills/aptitude that performs better in one regime vs the other.

if you suck as a market maker, but excel as a prop trader, then you'll probably do better in a fund on the buyside.

however, if you need to see OTC flow as part of your decision making process, if you have a novel way of extracting $$ from being a marketmaker, then you will perform better in a sellside bank, because thats where you'll see the flow.

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