Tips on discretely looking for other HF opportunities

kppw1517's picture
Rank: Baboon | 120

Just want to see other people's thoughts on trying to leave a hedge fund without it getting back to your employer. Ideally I would like to get somewhere to start 2019, but don't want to ruin my bonus this year. When I see messages from HHs for roles that are similar to what I do, I am nervous to respond because HFs are a small world to begin with and having a particular strategy narrows it down even further. Even if the HH doesn't front run my resume to other places, not knowing which firm they are trying to place for is a risk because it could be some place my firm is close with. Is this fear irrational? How do you guys think about this?

Comments (16)

Oct 28, 2018

I've never used headhunters since I moved to the buyside. The best people to talk to are equity sales persons and sector specialists. They talk to all the PMs, know who's looking and what they're looking for, and are very discreet.

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Oct 28, 2018

I've actually been curious about that approach, because isn't the main client that they are serving in a sell side role your fund aka your boss? Seems like they wouldn't want to be seen as facilitating a client of theirs losing an employee.

Also this may be a difference in experiences but do you generally have a closer relationship with your sales people than the odd request for getting a spot at an event and a social event every 6-12 months?

Oct 29, 2018

This approach assumes you are buddies with your sales coverage people. If you only hit them up when you need stuff, as you are implying, it's not going to work as well.

For them, there is no downside to helping you out because you could very well end up being a PM down the road and will feel indebted to them for helping you out. As long as your current boss doesn't find out it was them. So they have just as much incentive to keep it on the dl as you do.

No, you are not being paranoid at all. Some funds/pods are especially ruthless about axing analysts if they even get a whiff or suspect you are interviewing elsewhere. Analysts are a commodity, never forget that. There's an endless stream of hungry guys willing to crank just for the opportunity of being in your seat. Demonstrating unwavering loyalty to your PM can help mediocre analysts stick around far longer than they deserve, and the lack thereof can get stellar analysts fired far sooner than they deserve. Don't underestimate how much of a relationship game this is, even in a supposedly meritocratic eat what you kill environment.

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Most Helpful
Oct 29, 2018

Agree completely with what Acidophilus said above. What you need to do is improve your network within the space you work in. Lets imagine you work in the distressed debt space, you probably see the same few funds involved in every name/situation. You can ask your sales guy who is your counterpart at other funds and if he can introduce you guys. If you don't have a good relationship with your sales coverage just ask for the names and reach out to those guys yourself. 9 times out of 10 an analyst will agree to meet up to grab a drink/dinner and chat about new ideas due to (i) it looks good for him to tell his PM that he's out there building contacts that could lead to more/better info and idea generation, and (ii) he will also be curious to know what other funds are doing. I would aim to meet a new guy every week until you know all the analysts in your space and are on first name terms. After a while you will be able to use that network to source jobs and will have a better insight into what funds are like from the inside and who is hiring.

I appreciate this method takes time but well worth it regardless is you stay or leave your current fund. Given how close we are to year end you might want to wait until your bonus is in the account before looking.

Nov 3, 2018

this is great advice. do you have any other advice on developing relationships with people at other funds? this is something i haven't done historically, but something i want to start doing more of.

Oct 29, 2018

Do you guys have any general tips on how best to improve your relationship with your sellside coverage people? Am I supposed to just be hitting them up for drinks on a random weekday, or what?

Oct 29, 2018
arslonga:

Do you guys have any general tips on how best to improve your relationship with your sellside coverage people? Am I supposed to just be hitting them up for drinks on a random weekday, or what?

Call them and talk to thm on the phone. Make sure it's someone you trust. They'll get you in touch with people who cover the appropriate account if they don't cover it.

Nov 3, 2018

sonibubu, can you tell me other examples of how you work with sell-side folks in non-traditional ways? i actually have never thought of this and have never understood how to make best use of my sell-side relationships (other than for models, meetings, etc). would appreciate the advice.

Oct 29, 2018

So I work at a large multi-manager platform, and have been for the last few years. We pay a ton, and when I'm jumping from one to another, the sales guys know I will thank them with commissions. So I guess my advice applies for MM funds rather than smaller single man shops.

Oct 31, 2018

Equity sales here. Unless your sales coverage is an incompetent idiot, they should be more than happy to help and will keep it discreet. We help current and former clients look for jobs all the time for a variety of reasons. And it goes both ways - If I get axed tomorrow, i'd definitely ask the clients I have a good relationship with if they know of any open seats and keep an eye out for me. That said, your best bet is someone in prime brokerage. They have their finger on the pulse of the hedge fund community as a whole. Who's having a great year, who's down big and who's starting their own shop.

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Funniest
Oct 30, 2018

Pro Tip: Don't send a mass email where you copy a bunch of PMs. Guy did that at my firm... took all of 15 minutes for his boss to get forwarded the email.

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Oct 30, 2018
BuysideChamp:

Pro Tip: Don't send a mass email where you copy a bunch of PMs. Guy did that at my firm... took all of 15 minutes for his boss to get forwarded the email.

lmao, what happened to the guy?

Oct 30, 2018

Ended up "deciding" to go back to school after 6 months of unemployment

Apr 13, 2019
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