Opinions on - Houlihan Lokey FAS - Financial Advisory Services.

BigFourCPA's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 151

I read some other threads, but I didn't find a whole lot...

So, I had a valuations session at my business school, where a Houlihan VP and analyst ran me through some models. They pitched to me the FAS group at their firm, and it sounded pretty interesting. The hours seemed to be 60-80/week and the pay sounded comparable to M&A IB.

I particularly liked the "neutral" advisory role that FAS has in deal flow.

What are everyone's opinions on Houlihan FAS? - open forum

Comments (37)

Oct 31, 2014

Good option. People shit on it b/c it isn't IB, but it is far superior to the valuation done at Big 4. They are a leader in fairness opinions. Salary is on par w/IB but I believe bonus is less, though it could vary by industry you are supporting (e.g. industrials gets paid more than energy).

Hours are probably closer to the 80 than 60, at least when you first start out. You get to travel and do it like a banker (seen guys stay at the Four Seasons, Waldorf, etc.).

Oct 31, 2014

Same base as other groups, 70-80-90. Bonus is less at 30-40 first year. Hours are very decent, between 60-70. I think LA office works slightly more.

Nov 1, 2014

HL is top tier in FAS

Nov 1, 2014

I went through some interviews for roles in valuation, TAS, FAS, etc at both Big 4 firms and places like Alvarez & Marsal, Duff & Phelps, FTI, etc. Yes non-audit firms have less restrictions but at the end of the day it seems like you will pretty much be doing the same things (i.e. If you're in the Valuation group at E&Y or Duff you will be doing purchase price allocations).

The BIG differences seem to be culture and pay. Base pay will be in the ballpark as other groups at the firm (i.e. E&Y Audit, Valuation, TAS, etc will be 50-55K and Duff IBD, Dispute, Valuation, etc will be 65-70K) and bonuses obviously will vary group to group. From the people I met and the interviews I pretty much got the sense I would not enjoy being at a Big 4 firm and if pay was on the same level I would still choose a place like Alvarez over Deloitte even though Deloitte's name is much more recognizable.

HL, Duff, etc non-IBD groups do seem to still have an IBD flavor to them and Big 4 non-audit groups seem to have an accountant flavor to them ... I think is just has to do with the culture and the types of people attracted to each type of firm.

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Nov 1, 2014

Does anyone have intel on HL in general? Is there a realistic chance to switch to the buyside if working for them in either M&A or restructuring?

Nov 1, 2014

Several differences:

(1) Who your clients are - most of the Big 4 clients are F500 Companies (aka "strategic buyers"), whereas HL, D&P, A&M work more with PE firms. It's just how the market share breaks down - had a senior director at A&M go into a long talk about this during my interview with them.

(2) At some Big 4 firms, if there are no deals going down, there may be the possibility that they rotate you into the audit group for a few days - I've personally seen this happen while working at my Big 4 firm.

(3) Pay is also better at HL, D&P, A&M compared to Big 4.

(4) Big 4 will usually give you 24-48 hours of notice before you need to hop on a plane and fly to the client site (you could literally get a call Friday night and have to leave Sat. Morning). One of the benefits D&P pushed on me was that they would always give you at least a weeks notice to prep.

Nov 1, 2014

If you want to do TAS work, I would choose Big 4 over HL FAS. Having seen both environments, I can assure you that the work experience at a Big 4 would be much more meaningful and rewarding in terms of career options at least at this stage. If you are planning to move to corporate america, Big 4 has a much better name recognition. HL's strength is fairness opinions and TAS is really a new effort at the firm. That translates into more biz dev than actual deal work. If you have no other options, it is not a bad place to pick up some skills though.

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Nov 1, 2014

The above post could not be more wrong.... pretty much start to finish, the opposite is true

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Nov 1, 2014

I am curious too. It seems like a mystery. Anyone knows?

Nov 1, 2014

It should be lower that street. My guess is between 25-40K.

Nov 1, 2014

CorpFin were 50 for 1st years and 80 for 2nd. Not sure about FAS

Nov 1, 2014

Can anyone help on this?

Nov 1, 2014

bump

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Nov 1, 2014

Bump

Nov 1, 2014

Are you going in as an analyst? If you're primary goal is a strong MBA program then it's a pretty decent track from what I understand (although I wouldn't plan on Harvard/Wharton...). HL has a strong name regardless of the group. It's been described to me as a sort of a glorified or premier version of a valuation group like you would find at a big 4.

Work experience is ton of different kinds of valuation work: fairness opinion, solvency opinion, valuing options/ESOPs. It is a valuation group At an investment bank, so I think it's safe to say you couldn't get much closer to being in the action without ever getting in it. It's like a tease. On the contrary, it's tons of modeling experience, but not working on the transactions themselves, so there is no deal execution. If you wanna be cranking in M&A, like true IB, it isn't really FAS.

I know a good amount about the group. PM me.

Nov 1, 2014

goodwill_gorilla, do you have any info on end of year bonuses for houlihan fas?

Nov 1, 2014
nanotek:

goodwill_gorilla, do you have any info on end of year bonuses for houlihan fas?

From what I heard from my homie and others at HL it's a percentage of salary w top, middle, and bottom bucket. If I recall correctly, think he said for the offices where FAS cranks (equiv. to OK banking hours) is top bucket 75%, middle = 50-60%, and bottom is not less than 30%.

So for a 1st year w/70k base, you'd be looking at around $50k, $35k, and $20k bonuses, respectively. This seems slightly high to me though so if anyone else has a more firm answer it could be more accurate. He described it as either the FRG cleans up, and FAS feeds off that, or if markets are actually good, CorpFin does well, which FAS also feeds off of, so it's fairly constant.

Nov 1, 2014

Working in FAS will not preclude you from Harvard or Wharton so disregard that comment. Just understand that when you choose FAS you will be presented with a different set of opportunities than a kid doing Corp Fin. or IB. It's not that they are any better or worse, they're just different.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Nov 1, 2014

The FAS group is more of a Fairness Opinion/valuation group, which is not as prestigious as true banking (although Houlihan FAS is probably as good as you get in its area). If your other option is to work at a retail broker or other crappy internship then take FAS. You will still learn most of the basic skills in FAS, like running comps, DCF, etc - and can then speak intelligently in interviews for full-time ibd jobs If you get a real banking internship then better to take that.

Nov 1, 2014

I also got one from ABN AMRO.

It seems like their FRG is pretty good and I wonder if you know what the odds are to transfer to that group if I wanna stay for full-time.

Does FAS usually pay less compare to other groups or true IBD?

Also, is Houlihan a prestigious enough name for me to at least be considered for bulge bracket full time?

Thanks for the reply.

Nov 1, 2014

The Houlihan name carries more weight than ABN AMRO as far as I know. I'd probably take FAS over that. I know the FRG group is pretty selective and considers itself a step above the rest of the firm - being the equivalent of a top BB in restructuring, so I don't know if it's easy to go from FAS to FRG. FAS does pay less than street (ABN is not street) but the difference isn't as large at the analyst level.

Nov 1, 2014

It's unlikely that you would be able to jump from FAS to FRG. FAS is more of a valuations group doing quick turn projects that don't go into too much depth whereas FRG is tackling complex deals in larger deal teams. In terms of prestige, I would say that FAS at HL is more or less viewed as an advisory group in the big four which would diminish your chances of placing well into a Bulge.

Nov 1, 2014

not sure if portfolio valuation is its own dedicated group, but when i summered there (not in fas though) fas was 50-60 hours a week on average. 80-100 when busy. it should be on the busier side nowadays.

comp is slightly below street. this was west coast though.

Nov 1, 2014

it's not a separate group.

it's under fas

what exactly does fas do?

Nov 1, 2014

valuation, fairness opinions, etc

Nov 1, 2014

is FAS considered Investment Banking?

Nov 1, 2014

how is the pay in fas compared with Duff & phelps valuation at the analyst, associate leve?

Nov 1, 2014

has anyone got an offer with HLHZ's New york - FAS group this summer?

Nov 1, 2014

Sounds like some interesting work. Does anyone know the names of any hedge/PE fund clients? Could potentially be a good segway to the buy side..

Nov 1, 2014
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Nov 1, 2014