Thoughts on Stone Point Capital?

Thoughts on Stone Point Capital? Very interested to hear everyone's thoughts on this private equity company.

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Jul 13, 2021 - 9:47pm

Spoken to some of them in the past, definitely among the smartest folks in FIG PE. They're nice enough, but they've got some weird as fuck people who don't seem to understand how conversations between two humans work. 

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Jul 17, 2021 - 11:52am

Since they're FIG I would bet culture is quiet and moderately-to-severely sweaty. Comp no clue, but given their performance and rep I'd imagine right around or slightly above street.

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Jul 14, 2021 - 9:59am

To start trying to answer your question prob the options are to stay in fig PE; maybe move into more general PE, can go into HF prob with a fig focus at first. Can move into Corp Dev or port co finance probably in the fig space to start. Can go into start-ups maybe but that may be more of a jump. May also be favorable job for bschool if someone wants that. But just an attempt to give preliminary ideas to help answer your question 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 14, 2021 - 1:21pm

Just want to make sure people in FIG PE aren't pigeonholed. Anyone else have thoughts on this or comp & culture at the firm?

Jul 14, 2021 - 3:19pm

I don't think they are pigeonholed. Generally they may have a strong skill set in fig analysis and knowledge that people may appreciate them using to help them but I think it's common for fig people to move. I have a friend from college he went into fig ibd after school and now does like Corp Dev or cfo stuff for like a golf entertainment / sports / day club company. So it's just a start to do fig. People can move if they don't like it. And hey you may end up liking it a lot. 
 

for comp I would think the firm is in line with other umm-type PE firms. Maybe not as high as apollo or kkr but prob the general umm / mm firms pay about the same as stone point. Though that's just my sense from what I know about them. Culture is prob similiar too. Founder used to run GS I believe so prob some similiarities to GS but more of a smaller firm and PE type feel. Prob work hard but doubtful it's a 100 hour work week place. If my friend said he was working 80 regularly I might be suprised too.  My guess might be more in the 60 hr range with sprints around deal time potentially. Overall seems kinda chill. Fig in general in my limited experience has had kinda better hours than most other industry groups in the industry. But again my exp is limited and the reality could be off / cyclical. Now things in fig seem to be getting hotter with record earnings from banks and stock markets hitting atms. So who knows. Just trying to add some helpful thoughts 

Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jul 14, 2021 - 6:42pm

SPC is the most well-regarded firm in the FIG PE space hands down. Whether you define that by performance / fundraising, senior leadership, or comp/wlb it's the spot to be. Re: performance / fundraising their performance has been exceptional and is validated by continuously larger raises at a very fast cadence (~2 years). For purposes of anonymity I can't speak to my involvement, but the worry if any was that the founders have always been weary not to raise too much capital. LP demand is robust to say the least from my experience. On senior leadership, this has been detailed in other threads, but Chuck and Steve are the best of the best (Head of IB and CEO at GS, respectively). The sector expertise of the senior professionals is really impressive and let me say they are some sharp people over there. On comp / wlb, at least in my experience comp was well above the street (on par if not exceeding MFs, unbelievable I know) and wlb is very good for the size of shop they operate. At least when I was closer, associates were generally out by 9 aside from live deal sprints (all bets off at that point). Additionally, while not exactly promoted by the founders in an effort to retain culture, the firm has a NYC office as well that many work out of on Fridays. Hope this provides some more color to your questions.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 14, 2021 - 6:51pm

Thank you so much, Sbed!!! That was really helpful. I have a few quick follow ups if you don't mind.

  • does being in FIG PE pigeonhole your career? Sounds like one would be able to pretty easily move over to a Bain or a Blackstone in a more "traditional" PE role if they wanted to but just want to make sure this is realistic.
  • pardon me being new to the game, but do you have a general sense of what comp is at this firm ($300k all in as a 1st year associate)? Do you think they do performance buckets or more just based on seniority?
  • any additional insight on culture? Worried it might be very similar to the stories I hear from my roommates who work for GS IBD (they are constantly worried about being fired and have wanted to leave since they got there).
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 14, 2021 - 7:30pm

Also, I think I read on another thread that they don't push people into MBA programs. Would you agree with that?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 15, 2021 - 8:59pm

Might have to. Striking out on WSO lol. Might bump one more time.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jul 17, 2021 - 12:35am

Sold a company to them as an analyst.

Used to be the PE arm of Marsh & McMellon (big insurance firm). One of their founders is Stephen Friedman, who was chairman of GS at some point. Fun fact, his son is David Benioff (writer of Game of Thrones).

They are very aggressive investors and they invest in a bunch of different verticals (i think they call them elephants?). FIG PE seems to be only part of what they do (albeit it is still the core). They are aggressive in real estate (including real estate software), HR software, business services and more. CoreLogic is an incredibly interesting and aggressive take-private that they did with Insight

I would estimate first year comp between $250-300K. Let me know any other questions and I'lll see if I can answer them.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 17, 2021 - 1:43am

Thank you again.

I have a few quick follow ups. does being in FIG PE pigeonhole your career? Sounds like one would be able to pretty easily move over to a Bain or a Blackstone in a more "traditional" PE role if they wanted to but just want to make sure this is realistic.

Do you think they do performance buckets or more just based on seniority?

Any additional insight on culture? Worried it might be very similar to the stories I hear from my roommates who work for GS.

Doesn't sound they push associates to get MBAs but would like to know if you have heard / seen info supporting this.

After my IB stint which will likely be soon, I'm highly considering applying to them but I don't have FIG experience (I'm in industrials for a BB). How should one prepare for an interview for FIG PE?

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Aug 7, 2021 - 4:43am

Moving to Bain or Blackstone - I'd actually think it'd be fairly difficult but it depends. Looking at associate backgrounds, Stone Point doesn't look like it cares that much about prestigious colleges/IB groups, whereas Bain and Blackstone do. Sucks but think that might be the limiting factor there.

Culture - anecdotal but the VP and associates we worked with were super easy to work with and seemed chill. Might not be the case across the firm, but at least 3 good guys!

MBA Requirement - MBA def not required as one of the Associates I worked with during the deal is now a VP (and no MBA)

Jul 17, 2021 - 10:12am

Ex FIG, who has worked with/knows Stone Point well - I think comments above are generally accurate but ticking through your additional questions below:

FIG inherently is a specialized sector, particularly since key verticals (banks & thrifts, insurance) use non-EBITDA based valuation metrics and modeling methods. Moreover, a large number of businesses that make for good PE investments in FIG are incredibly nuanced and niche-y, so any strong FIG shop requires their people to be technically rigorous and strategically strong. This all being said, most FIG analysts/associates are strong candidates who are able to interview into more traditional shops but are pigeon-holed by both headhunter perception and the general scarcity of candidates for FIG roles, i.e. a candidate with a FIG background can do a generalist role but tougher the other way around. Experience has been, even when moving to a generalist program the majority of deals someone with a FIG background gets staffed will be FIG. My question to you is to think critically about WHY you want to do FIG and specifically which verticals (also key for interviewing)

Associates have performance buckets; this is re-assessed after your 2-3 years. Good culture (fast paced but still congenial), but as with many firms the high deal volumes recently have put a strain on the culture; the firm looks to retain & promote and doesn't require MBAs

Lastly, I know COVID has thrown a wrench into some of the scheduling, but PE recruiting overall takes place WHILE you're still in IB. All of Stone Point's recruiting is handled by headhunters; if you have any interest in PE in general, you should be looking to get in front of headhunters who can show your resume to the firm. There's ultimately a ton of prep resources out there (several overview threads on WSO from what I recall) for FIG - you just need to do your diligence and put in the work practicing the modeling.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 17, 2021 - 10:43am

Thank you! Sbed. Really appreciate it. Would you agree with the $250-300k 1st year associate comp figure mentioned above? What is the general comp progression at this firm?

Jul 17, 2021 - 11:11am

Yes, generally agree - Stone Point is pretty market in terms of associate comp. In terms of progression- I can't speak to that in detail but would advise you focus on the recruiting portion; figuring out comp progression at this stage may be getting a bit ahead of yourself...

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jul 17, 2021 - 3:38pm

Can anybody provide more info about their Analyst program? Are these analysts pigeonholed in FIG or will they easily be able to recruit for top MF/UMM in generalist (or other sector) PE?

Jul 17, 2021 - 5:44pm

This might be a question for some of the HHs. It might be worth sending an email to CPI, Amity, Ratio, SG, etc or the HH of whatever other major PE firm you may be interested in to see their thoughts. If you are interested in the space it might be helpful to get on their radar as soon as reasonably possible and when you feel comfortable speaking to them and/or starting a direct relationship with them. 
 

If you want my simplistic thoughts based on some logic and a little bit of experience, then I can share that I think it will hopefully bode well if you want to go straight into PE and maybe move to a more generalist or larger fund platform later on in your career whenever you decide to and/or are able to. May require some extra work on your end to get into the traditional recruiting pipeline since it's a bit non-traditional but I would think you may be a value-add asset to the KKR's of the world since you can bring the table 2 years of top-notch FIG PE skills. As long as you can model and do the technical skills as well as any of the Evercore and GS kids and the like I would think you may have a front row seat but I could be very wrong so I think it makes sense to take my advice as just one potential data point in your decision process

Aug 4, 2021 - 2:32pm

I'd echo my comments on their associate program for their analysts in terms of pigeonholing. Maybe others just had different experience idk...but from my firsthand experiences and those of friends/colleagues leaving FIG, headhunters are the worst offenders of pigeonholing candidates with FIG backgrounds so the only outreach you should be doing to them is setting up intro. chats where you come prepared to make your case to them about why they should show you to roles in other sectors.

As an analyst at Stonepoint, you have the benefit of a strong name and the latitude of being younger, so it'll be a bit easier to get looks from generalist shops than if you were recruiting out as an associate at Stonepoint

Jul 21, 2021 - 4:37pm

Have a college friend at Reverence. I believe he was a part of GS FIG before joining and was a nice guy in college so I figure it's a strong shop. I think mgmt may also be former GS FIG people. I believe they have may done a deal with Athene/Apollo/Some other big players in the insurance space with a carve out of a company called venerable maybe. 
 

have some experience interacting with aquiline though not much. Seems like a nice place. 
 

not sure if I am too familiar with the others listed 

Aug 4, 2021 - 2:43pm

You should think of FIG PE as being divided by expertise in certain FIG verticals.

Shops like Flexpoint and Aquiline are known to focus in fintech and insurtech niches. Aquiline in particular has a long history of doing insurtech deals and is slowly taking that tech expertise to apply it to non-FIG sectors like business services. Lightyear is more of a true FIG generalist (in my past role, we always thought of them as a smaller Stonepoint) - really sharp guys but incredibly nice to work with. Reverence focuses on more traditional verticals of BDs and asset/wealth managers; they have track record of buying struggling assets (bought Wells Fargo's asset management business) to try to turn things around; impression from past role is that they've not gotten too much traction with their existing portfolio but those types of businesses generate so much cash anyways that they're still doing well. At least from past interactions, I was more impressed by firms like Flexpoint and Aquiline - the guys there are incredibly deep and sharp on some very intricate and complicated niches. Squeezing out growth and value in those business models to me was a lot more impressive than just holding a wealth manager and wait for it to throw of enough cash to make your return

Jul 24, 2021 - 5:27am

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Aug 10, 2021 - 1:15pm

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Aug 10, 2021 - 1:24pm

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