Stay at Top Boutique IB or Move to MM

Caveat, I'm not particularly familiar with the HF world, but recently I've been getting significant traction with a couple of teams at MMs due to my unique experience and industry expertise (biotech/pharma), and I'm not sure of the optimal path. FWIW, it started as unsolicited outreach to me based on my LinkedIn profile.

As background, I'm an early VP at a top boutique, I like my team and role, and given pay raises across the street and my standing in the group I expect to average north of $800k over the next 4ish years. I give that timeframe as that is likely my limit; I'm not sure I see myself as a career banker and future rainmaker. I've always had a passion for markets and investing, and am passionate about my industry with a strong scientific/financial knowledge mix (though not a PhD), which is an obvious value add to a therapeutics focused fund. So for questions...

Risk-adjusted, with my expected comp and my age (early 30s), does it make any sense to move to a MM team as an analyst? Could a team even match or give a +10-20% first year guarantee to my current comp for a green HF analyst? What questions should I be asking the team members to properly assess the opportunity and potential longevity of the role, understanding a HF career is high vol? Am I missing anything in my calculus? Thanks in advance.

Comments (8)

Most Helpful
Jan 11, 2022 - 11:10am

Unsure on comp.

On questions to ask, I'd suggest the following based on my 5 interviews in the space and current seat I'm in:

a) What is day to day interaction with PM? With others analysts? Are you collaborating on pitches? Are you working alone 90% of time and pitching 10% of time? This is an important consideration for mental health imo

b) How does a new name enter the book? Is it a difficult 6 month pitch process? Is it a simple phone call to your PM with no discussion? Somewhere in between?

c) Is the PM looking for finance chops? Differentiated industry knowledge? Expression of idea abilities (overwrites, etc) in collaboration with the trader? Perhaps it's all of the above, in which case I would ask PM to rank those criteria so you understand where your value add will be.

Also - would be great to connect offline if you're keen. Based on your posts our backgrounds have different meat but similar bones.

  • Analyst 3+ in HF - EquityHedge
Jan 11, 2022 - 10:31pm

Comp- no. Without background of generating PnL no PM will offer your current expectation of 800k pa. You will start on base 150-200 and may be a guaranteed bonus in the first year. Most people I know in the MM space specializing in biotech / hc are not doing great in the current market. Make sure its a strong team and they have a culture of training otherwise you may not survived the first year. The only way you will see greater pay is becoming a PM.

Jan 11, 2022 - 10:54pm

Thank you, this is kind of what I suspected. Maybe they can match or exceed guaranteed comp in the first year, but I'd be out on an island afterwards. Risk-adjusted, I guess it would be a crazy move considering I'm almost guaranteed another 3-4 years in my current firm with my expected comp, and my WLB isn't terrible by banking standards.

Probably going to keep grinding and reevaluate next steps in another 3 years.

  • Research Analyst in HF - Other
Jan 12, 2022 - 12:18am

just keep in mind the longer you stay in banking the harder it is to move to public markets. unless you want to try to do a mid-30s MBA and transition to an entry level buy side analyst in your late 30s, which frankly doesn't sound that appealing. and your comp will never start off anywhere near 800k no matter how you get there.

Jan 12, 2022 - 12:40am

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