Starting as a Private Equity Analyst in Asia (Singapore, HK)

Understanding that the site caters mostly towards the US crowd (and sometimes London/Europe), I hope to gather some insight on the PE scene within the Asian region. After reading a number of related topics, I understand that there are some professionals that have work(ed) in the region and do seek their opinion on this (@SSits" @Jamoldo" @thecoldburns" etc.)

  • What do you guys perceive as potential exit opportunities for someone like myself?
  • Would firms like top Private Equity firms like Baring PE, PAG be out of reach for me?
  • Would it be better if I positioned myself towards getting an investment banking stint before reaching out to larger PE firms?

OP continued at end

Private Equity in Asia

This forum does tend to skew towards the US and Europe markets, but we do have many members with experience working in Asia. A few experienced professionals shared their experiences.

From Certified Risk Management Professional - Vice President @SSits"

I did PE from within the protective shell of an IB. We mainly recruited internally (or from people who had worked with us previously) due to firm culture reasons. As for other IBs, I can't say unfortunately.

From Certified Hedge Fund Professional - Trader @Jamoldo"

  • Baring is pretty structured, and you heard it here, they DO NOT pay market.
  • Too much hierarchy at top shops. Remember that most people do not build their careers at these top shops anymore. If you are good at investing/doing deals/sourcing whatever, someone will take notice. They see you doing stuff very well and poach you etc.
  • Not that many big LBO deals in the market, especially when compared to the US/Europe etc. This part of the world is still growing, companies are still rapidly growing, and bank financing is either expensive or tough to get.
  • Don't worry too much. I would focus on being awesome at your job, building some skills, and networking and getting to know the market and people in it (ie. competitors, peers etc).

From Certified Private Equity Professional - Vice President @thecoldburns"

For now, focus less on what exits you could have and more of what you can learn at your firm. The PE landscape is still rather young in this region (in comparison to US and Europe) so there are tons of potential growth for young investment professionals.

Recommended Reading

OP Continued
A little background; I graduated from a local university in Singapore and will be starting as an analyst at a local boutique private equity firm. The firm applies mainly growth equity strategies, but also considers buyouts (usually equity as LBOs at the lower MM level are rare) and debt investments. In my senior year, I lucked my way into 2 superdays for investment banking full-time jobs but did not get any - likely due to my dismal GPA of 3.0. However, I was fortunate enough to land myself an offer from the above-mentioned PE firm.

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Comments (7)

Jun 6, 2014 - 1:47pm

Thanks for the mention, but I did PE from within the protective shell of an IB. I'm pretty ignorant on how to build a career path within the typical PE fund world.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
Jun 6, 2014 - 2:05pm

Thanks! Really appreciate the prompt response there!

Reading a number of your posts, I understand that your PE experience in Asia stemmed from within IB. In your opinion, would it be possible to transition into a similar position (investing from within an IB)? Or are the requirements as structured/stringent as the megafunds?

Basically, my current firm is an unofficial 2 years up-or-out and the turnover rate has been pretty high at the middle level (Sr Associate/VP). Hence why I am seeking to understand potential exit opportunities.

Jun 6, 2014 - 4:20pm

blomu:
In your opinion, would it be possible to transition into a similar position (investing from within an IB)?

We mainly recruited internally (or from people who had worked with us previously) due to firm culture reasons. As for other IBs, I can't say unfortunately. Apologies that I can't be helpful.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
  • 1
Best Response
Jun 7, 2014 - 8:39am

Hey OP - thanks for the shout out. First of all, a 3.0 GPA is not bad by any means. It's not a top score (I didn't have top scores either) and it is not reflective of anything. You are in a PE shop now, that's a step ahead of most folks... Awesome.

Feel free to PM me specifically about your firm (I can try to figure things out based on the name). That being said, if you are good at what you do and make a name for yourself, there is no reason that "top" shops will not look at you (I'm not sure what that even means, maybe based on their fund size?). Baring is pretty structured, and you heard it here, they DO NOT pay market. Making it to a "top shop" may take some time, and that's fine.

Remember that most people do not build their careers at these top shops anymore. There is too much hierarchy. If you are good at investing/doing deals/sourcing whatever, someone will take notice. Maybe you go from your firm to a bigger shop or you end up doing a deal with a big fund. They see you doing stuff very well and poach you etc. A lot of these guys still do growth deals and/or use little leverage. There are not that many big LBO deals in the market, especially when compared to the US/Europe etc. This part of the world is still growing, companies are still rapidly growing, and bank financing is either expensive or tough to get.

Worse comes to worse you could probably jump into banking and move back out. But there are lots of firms around.

I would not worry about things too much. I would focus on being awesome at your job, building some skills, and networking and getting to know the market and people in it (ie. competitors, peers etc). Don't just stick to your age group either or be intimidated by senior and mid-level types... Good Luck

I used to do Asia-Pacific PE (kind of like FoF). Now I do something else but happy to try and answer questions on that stuff.
  • 2
Jun 10, 2014 - 2:42pm

Agree with the above with not much to value to add here unfortunately. You are still fresh in your career and you've made it into PE before most of your peers. For now, focus less on what exits you could have and more of what you can learn at your firm. The PE landscape is still rather young in this region (in comparison to US and Europe) so there are tons of potential growth for young investment professionals.

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Jun 15, 2014 - 10:26pm
I used to do Asia-Pacific PE (kind of like FoF). Now I do something else but happy to try and answer questions on that stuff.
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