State of Private Equity in London?

Currently a 1st year IBD analyst at a mid tier BB in London (think Citi/BAML etc). Like many people in my situation, goal is to get into private equity in London but it does seem more competitive than in the US (i.e. less seats available, for more applicants etc.). I'm also a non EU/non UK citizen and don't speak fluently any mainland European language (i.e. only know English).

Was wondering how difficult it is for me as an international applicant (i.e. require Tier 2 visa sponsorship) and don't speak any European language to break into PE in London? I've already chatted to a few recruiters at big name (KEA, Blackwood etc.) and the impression i'm getting from them is that my chances are quite slim.

In addition, it seems that with Brexit uncertainty etc, lot of the deal opportunities in London are starting to dry up a little (or beginning to shift into mainland Europe anayway). So was wondering what the overall state of the PE market is in London for someone like me.

Can anyone shed any light?

Comments (14)

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 4, 2019 - 5:34pm

Just did the process out of one of the Mid BBs. Firstly, BAML is a bit better than Citi on average according to HHs.
Nonetheless, if you are a high performer at one of these firms you should be able to get a pretty good exit, maybe not MF but still good. In your US comparison you also need to realise that a bunch of top firms in the US aren't that top in London, pretty much all of the EBs. That makes your Mid BB actually a bit better, comparatively.

Your bigger problem will be the lack of language. As most funds want UK people for UK teams and continental people for the rest, it could prove very difficult to get good offers without an interesting second language.

Nov 5, 2019 - 1:57pm

Thanks for the reply. Agreed- i have done my undergrad degree in UK, but am not a UK citizen (currently on a tier 2 visa). From just speaking to HH, it does seem quite challenging to end up with a good role at UMM PE/MF PE if you don't know a good European language. I would say i'm probably one of the higher performing analysts in my class, but it does seem funds would prepare someone who isn't that highly ranked but does know a European language over someone who is better performing who doesn't.

Nov 6, 2019 - 9:41am

The lack of European language is going to be a real challenge as it's now very common (and a requirement at quite a few top European business schools) that people need 3 languages (mother tongue + English + 1 more). I would target smaller funds that have a broader investment strategy (ie. generalist funds that invest across Europe, but are too small to have dedicated country teams). The downside of targeting smaller funds may be their reluctance to offer sponsorship, but I still think it would be your best bet.

Nov 6, 2019 - 1:52pm

Thanks for the reply. Yes, thats what i'm going for at the moment. Was also thinking as a second best option, applying to some credit funds or l/s equity funds as a. Any idea on whether they require knowledge of European languages/can sponsor visa?

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Sep 25, 2020 - 6:59pm

Bump. Curious to know what became of you :)

Kinda in a similar pickle...

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Sep 25, 2020 - 10:15pm

Does anyone know if UK PEs are interested in US-based I-bankers? Currently working for a BB in the US but originally from Europe and can speak an extra EU language. Would transferring to LDN help at all?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 11, 2020 - 3:08am

How would you approach the move? Cold email London HHs explaining your situation?


European NYC BB Analyst here

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Sep 26, 2020 - 9:58am

How is recruiting at the moment, esp. for MM & UMM in London? still not returned to pre covid levels?

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