What does it take to get into AM LO from here?

I'm really sorry for how out of place and annoying this question is, but I'm really lost & would appreciate any help. There is huge asymmetry in AM recruiting, to the point where I don't even know how to filter employees on LinkedIn.

I still can't believe it happened but I got my CFA level 2 passed. I am currently attending a top master in finance, but not one of the best (esade). I had an internship in equity research at a small AM company, but I'm not quite sure if it can be leveraged as the fund isn't too well known. I specialised in EM equities primarily

Almost all classmates are into IB. I will still have endless visits to career centre to discuss this but my uni isn't too big on AM recruitment. So I just want to get a less vague idea on how do I break through the clutter. Im mainly focusing on large AMs such as capital group and t.Rowe's price, but small AMs are also on the list. I can speak German, so I'm open for the German speaking world, but ultimately I am aiming for London.

Should I reach out to junior employees from different schools? Does the fact that my school doesn't have presence in AM make me automatically dismissed?

Thank you.

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Comments (66)

Most Helpful
Sep 19, 2021 - 1:24pm

Hey there! I work in LO AM myself at one of the large places you listed above in the US. I'm not sure how it works in the UK, but I can tell you about my experience. I came from IB internships in university before going into LO AM.

I think you're doing a lot of things right but here's a pretty sure set of things that worked for me. 

1. I reached out to a lot of colleagues at my current company (and others at different companies) who were able to direct me to the best positions to apply to based on my experience and interest in investing. I think this would be a good place to start and figure out what positions are best to apply to. Perhaps an Associate Analyst position would be a good one to apply to.

2. Have a good understanding of the markets and investing. Try to have a good stock pitch planned out and have a few good books in mind to talk about.

3. Practice interviewing with others in advance as you move through processes.

DM me if you have more questions!

  • Intern in ER
Sep 19, 2021 - 2:34pm

Thank you for replying, much appreciated

I guess what I have to ask here is whether or not you're from a target school or not. Generally, I reached out to someone from my school who works at BLK and was very humble in responding (however she's in the FMA division). So I guess more networking is needed

I have 5 stocks pitched: Dropbox, softbank, Blackstone, Cabot o&g and intuit. I am prepared in this case but still have to develop my skills with debt research

Thanks for offering to reach out, hopefully I will soon :)

Sep 19, 2021 - 8:59pm

Hey, I did go to a target school, but was not hired as part of on campus recruiting. I think that going to a target would help, but not to the extent that it assists you in IB

About BlackRock, I'd check to see if you can get a position in investments at all, as I am unsure if they actually hire investments staff out of undergrad (except for one position based in San Francisco). 

Having deep analysis in each one of your stock pitches is critical. I'd usually go with being prepared for at least one buy pitch and one sell pitch, but more pitches prepared is always better. Having 5 stocks is a solid number for each interview (and don't feel you need to include any sell pitches in your case either; I'd consider a few in the sector you are interviewing for, and maybe one outside it). 

If you need interview help, let me know!

  • Intern in ER
Sep 19, 2021 - 5:19pm

Of course tell me what you wanna know, preferably here in case someone chimes in for help. If you have private questions tell me & I'll DM you :)

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Sep 24, 2021 - 4:13pm

Just to give you some background I'm a Canadian student, I have internships in strategy/PE/investment analys but I'd really like to break in public equities. I'm considering the ESADE masters and would like to either go back to work in Canada or maybe stay in Spain if there are opportunities there.

- What was your experience like as an international student (if you're one) and how much Spanish do you speak?

- Are local companies open to international students when recruiting?

- What do you mean when you say the uni isn't too big on AM recruitment? No OCR from reputable companies? No alumi at good shops?

- Anything else I should know about or advice considering my background?

Sep 19, 2021 - 7:24pm

AM seats in London out of a degree are incredibly scarce out of uni. If you're talking about ER at a long only specifically, then they're even more scarce. I can think of less than 10 firms that hire and most of them only hire via internships which have incredibly small cohorts.

Capital group doesnt hire anyone out of university in the London so forget about that. BlackRock, Fidelity and TRP pretty much hires only from their internships. There are probably less than 10-15 seats at these shops combined. Schroders and Baillie Gifford hire a few. JPMAM hires very few people on the product side and again, pretty much all from the internship. GSAM and MSIM don't hire people  out of uni in equities (pretty much just private markets stuff). Anecdotally, UBS AM seems to hire people out of uni exclusively for their FoF stuff. There are more shops but you get my point. Not much stuff going around, pretty much all accessed via internships (which isn't a bad thing if you're still eligible).

So how do most people get in? They go through sell-side ER/IB or big 4 (audit or TAS/corpfin). Can networking help? For the structured, large firm programs, not really. For the boutiques? Of course. Does it matter if you can't find alumni? No, not really. I honestly think the whole only-alumni networking is way less of a thing in the UK. No one gives a shit if you went to the same uni as them and in my experience it doesn't affect their willingness to help you.

Sep 19, 2021 - 9:02pm

I'm not exactly sure of the situation in London, but I am aware it's pretty tough. I work at one of the places you mentioned, and although it is the case that we hire very largely out of internships, a decent 20% in the US come right from undergrad into our most junior investments positions. For London, I don't know if this applies though. 

I would also say (again I recruited in the US so it may be different) that networking definitely can help even at the big places. That said, if you don't find it helping you either, I wouldn't be surprised. 

Sep 19, 2021 - 9:29pm

So for the places I mentioned that only hire out of internships:

*BlackRock has an FT recruiting program but in the past 2 out of 3 years, it's been closed in most front office positions due to being filled by interns. First hand experience from an intern in equities tells me they hire less than half the interns anyway, due to headcount, not because the interns are bad. Only one datapoint though.

*Fidelity (International, not Investments, different entity technically) literally doesn't have a graduate scheme for ER (or credit or multi-asset for that matter), only for sales/client service iirc.

*TRP again literally doesn't have a graduate scheme.

Bonus:

*Schroders also tends to hire out of only internships. Past two years they haven't opened their investments graduate scheme at all.

Just so you think I'm not cherry picking there are grad schemes available like from Baillie Gifford, Ruffer, and the banks' AMs (but as I said these don't really offer a route into equities).

Re networking: it really seems to be the case that networking just matters A LOT less in London. You go to a bank/financial firm in London and ask people who were recruited out of uni how they got in and their answer is unlikely to include networking. The answer changes when you're asking people who lateralled - then networking comes into play. In the US, my impression is that most answers would include networking. Can it help in London out of uni? Yes, I've seen it help a couple of times at large firms but is it the norm? Absolutely not.

I don't mean to be a cynic if I'm sounding like one. This is a field I'd love to break into too, but truth is it's fucking hard out of uni, especially if you don't land an internship, hence my current title.

  • Analyst 1 in ER
Sep 20, 2021 - 7:15pm

Hi thanks for your input. Since you and another commenter alluded to the same idea, I have a question if that's okay

I will be starting with JPM ER in March as a ft analyst. Registered for CFA level 1 as well. Like OP I'm also in London. Does JPM have a good name for jumping to the buy-side after 2-3 years? Thanks.

Sep 20, 2021 - 7:24pm

In ER, it's way less important what bank you work at than what analyst you work under but obviously, as a graduate you don't get much say in this initially.

JPM is considered a tier 1 bulge bracket and has a stellar reputation in ER. I believe they're consistently top 3 on II rankings. So I think you'll be fine mate (it will, of course, still be hard).

Sep 23, 2021 - 8:10am

Disagree, BlackRock recruits at both the SA and Analyst level. Interviewed there for both when I was at uni. Small class though, FAE cohort is <~5 in total. 

Array
Sep 23, 2021 - 8:15am

From my subsequent replies to this thread:

*BlackRock has an FT recruiting program but in the past 2 out of 3 years, it's been closed in most front office positions due to being filled by interns. First hand experience from an intern in equities tells me they hire less than half the interns anyway, due to headcount, not because the interns are bad. Only one datapoint though.

Sep 20, 2021 - 12:05pm

The typical path if you want to go to AM directly from university is grinding your way through a few long-term internships first and getting experience that way. The other option is ER or IB.

Hope this helps

Sep 22, 2021 - 4:18am

As long as you have the skills and the capacity to do the job even if you fall under a different programme, you won't be dismissed. I think the best thing you can do here is to never lose trust in yourself. That's really important.

Sep 23, 2021 - 2:41am

NOBODY hires straight out of school for AM.  You've got to do something else first.  Sorry man, that's the world.

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
  • 5
Sep 23, 2021 - 8:35am

I'll stand by it.  It took me seven years and my charter to break in, then I had to risk it at a start-up.  Around here the only way you're getting any job straight out of school is on the internal desk or the RFP team, and you don't want either of those jobs.

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
  • 3
Sep 24, 2021 - 6:57pm

To add to the other responses here, several LO firms 100% recruit fundamental equity research associate roles out of undergrad including the firm I am at currently. So this is in fact misinformation for anyone reading this. Goes without saying that obviously not every single firm does and that there aren't that many spots in general.

Sep 24, 2021 - 7:10pm

Are you just writing stuff?  I'm in Product which TBH is where everyone wants to be.

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
  • 3
Sep 24, 2021 - 10:00pm

Are you willing to move to Baltimore (T. Rowe, Brown Advisory) or Kansas City (Ivy, Scout, ACIM, Gugg)? If yes…it's considerable easier to get your first junior analyst seat in one of those markets. Always struggling to recruit high level people because not many are willing to make the move to those offices.

Sep 25, 2021 - 7:45am

Baltimore is secretly decent, and CHEAP.  Move to Fed Hill or Fells. Um, one of the places you mentioned in KC is actually in NYC other than what we bought, The big middle of nowhere midwestern guy (Iowa) will let you work from anywhere.  I know the head of product there.

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Sep 26, 2021 - 3:47pm

So few people are willing to move to Baltimore. Working there now and we struggle to get people to come.

Sep 24, 2021 - 10:07pm

I just got an offer from an AM firm. However, I am based in Canada and am going to the credit side. I am an experienced hire and have an unconventional path into AM. In any event, you can start with something like sell-side equity research and continue to network and expand your connection. Sometimes, you need to be a bit patience. In the meantime, complete your CFA and work on other things to booster your profile such as study another industry or pickup computer programming if you haven't done so. I can tell you that a lot of AM are looking for candidates with skillset other than just the hardcore finance skills such as: programming, python, R, quant skills etc. Those will help a long way in your finance career. Good luck bud.

Sep 25, 2021 - 7:49am

BabyYoda

I just got an offer from an AM firm. However, I am based in Canada and am going to the credit side. I am an experienced hire and have an unconventional path into AM. In any event, you can start with something like sell-side equity research and continue to network and expand your connection. Sometimes, you need to be a bit patience. In the meantime, complete your CFA and work on other things to booster your profile such as study another industry or pickup computer programming if you haven't done so. I can tell you that a lot of AM are looking for candidates with skillset other than just the hardcore finance skills such as: programming, python, R, quant skills etc. Those will help a long way in your finance career. Good luck bud.

This is very good advice. May I suggest both? Python/R plus your charter will get you very far.  I just survive by knowing how to handle Bloomberg and M* better than 95% of my coworkers.

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Oct 10, 2021 - 10:15pm

Is there a relatively achievable path from AM analyst at a BB investment bank to investor at LO AM shop? I'm weighing offers from BB IB and BB AM, and frankly the BB AM looks much more attractive to me (mostly because of the significantly better hours)

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Oct 14, 2021 - 12:00pm

I would go with this too. Go with BB IB instead of AM. Most of my large LO takes people from BB IB or ER, but not many at all from BB AM. It will be a tough few years but your future career in Asset Management will thank you for taking it

Oct 11, 2021 - 6:27am

I'm a second year analyst in Equities for a LO firm, albeit more of a boutique than the ones you listed with AUM in the £5-£10bn range. I got in through getting an internship and converting it to a FT offer, I reached out to a PM who liked me enough to offer me a summer internship.

Oct 12, 2021 - 4:40pm

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