Private Equity & American Dream

How difficult would it be for a European to switch from PE in Europe to PE in the US?

The reverse seems quite easy - I work in PE in London and there many people from the US, Asia or Middle East in the industry. In fact, in my fund, only 30% of the investment professionals are actually Europeans. For somebody who always wanted to work in PE/VC in the US, that's kind of raging.

So question to those working in PE or VC in SF, Boston and NY:
1. have you ever seen Europeans in local funds?
2. If not why do you think that is? (beyond Visa issues / French people's smell)
3. Any advice on how to go about a switch?

Comments (11)

 
Feb 8, 2012 - 7:33am
  1. Yes, a few of our MDs are German
  2. Agreed, French smell, but the women are still hot
  3. Leverage your network

Assuming you have a solid background, you should have no initial problem. Just keep in mind there are a lot of Finance folk out of work and will work for less.

 
Feb 8, 2012 - 11:01am

Assuming that you are transferring to a comparably regarded shop the transition and recruiting is generally not problematic. One of our groups has a number of people from London, Toronto, Frankfurt, etc. Really depends on the focus (geographical/industry) of the PE shop and the transferability of your skill set / experience. The major hurdles in my opinion would be work visas and competition with equally qualified candidate who already live in the US.

 
Feb 8, 2012 - 11:29am

thanks junkbondsswap, its interesting.I know that megafunds allow people to move around if you push hard, but haven't seen a lot of people making a move into the mid market space

I was just curious to see if that was a cultural thing i.e. hard to build a decent network when you're obviously not from the US. In the UK, it doesn't really matter where you are from and you can easily build relationships. Not sure the same holds in the US

 
Feb 8, 2012 - 10:15pm

rastarocket:
I was just curious to see if that was a cultural thing i.e. hard to build a decent network when you're obviously not from the US. In the UK, it doesn't really matter where you are from and you can easily build relationships. Not sure the same holds in the US

Can you elaborate on this? I think building a network in the US is very simplistic. it is such a large universe of players and everyone is hungry for deals and work. People are constantly reaching out to me to introduce themselves, learn about my firm, and see if there are ways that our companies can work together.

CompBanker

 
Feb 9, 2012 - 9:44am

Well, in the UK, whether you're from India, China, Poland or the US doesn't really matter when dealing with mid market companies and mid market funds. You can go to some very remote place in the UK dealing with some chewing gum manufacturer and they won't really mind your accent, different manners or the fact that you are not following football (soccer), etc. Network building is very very simple.

But as a foreigner, can you really fit in and do business in the mid market space in the US? Wouldn't there be a major cultural hurdle? I don't know, I'm just asking. Lets say if you had a European guy reaching to your fund and they had a very good profile, would you give them a hiring chance?

 
Feb 10, 2012 - 10:08am

rastarocket:
You can go to some very remote place in the UK dealing with some chewing gum manufacturer and they won\\'t really mind your accent, different manners or the fact that you are not following football (soccer), etc. Network building is very very simple.

I will chime in and argue that nowadays the US is probably more similar to the UK in this regard than you think. At the very least in places like NY/Boston/SF. I\'d go even further to say that in some areas a British accent, if you have one, will for whatever ridiculous reason make people regard you as a bit more educated.
 
Feb 10, 2012 - 3:15am

Why are you asking the same question repeatedly when you've received an answer? I think you may be mistaking cultural ignorance (yes, the US has plenty) for cultural bias.

Quite frankly speaking, if you can't do business in the US I don't think you can do business anywhere. Nobody cares where you are from, only what you bring in.

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