From Investment Consulting to Funds Management

I have been working with one of the big global institutional investment consulting firms for the past two years as an analyst. Up until now, I have enjoyed my work as it is quite varied and one gets access to a lot of research and some very smart people across different asset classes/products. But now I feel that it’s about time I try and move to funds management and specialize in one asset class/strategy. Has anybody on board made the switch from asset consulting to funds management and would like to share their experience. I see quite a few managers on a day to day basis who are quite happy to sit and talk to you about their products/processes but I don’t have much idea as to how receptive they are to hiring people from the asset consulting side. I am largely interested in ER or PE roles.

The typical path for someone like you on asset management side is Consultant Relations / Consultant Sales. That said, you may be able to find something in portfolio management, provided the product is a traditional one. ER is also a possibility. I’m skeptical of your ability to land a PE role from investment consulting. Maybe Fund of PE Funds, but not straight PE.

Danteshek, I agree with you. Most of the people I know who have moved from asset consulting into asset management firms have moved on to consultant relations/BDM roles. Whereas we have a lot of senior consultants in our firm who are ex fund managers wanting to have a better work life balance. I do know a few guys have worked in my firm for 5-6 years and then moved on to managing money and are PM or strategy heads at some very big names but they are few in number. I would like to think that somebody from asset consulting has a better chance of cracking in to an ER role than say somebody from BO or MO. Granted, one doesn’t do much work a the security level in asset consulting but a lot of other functions like portfolio management, style research, risk optimization, allocation decisions etc. broadly follow the same principles an equity manager would in running a portfolio. Also, we spend a fair bit of time with fund managers learning about their investments processes, idea generation techniques and valuation inputs etc. I am just not sure whats the best way to approach this move. As in what to highlight from my current responsibilities which I mentioned above which would make my resume more attractive to a fund manager. Ideally I would like to work at a fundamental or thematic equity manager or maybe a FoF Hedge fund or PE if direct PE is too ambitious at this stage. One reason I think that I am being a bit cautious and slow here is that it is a small industry and I know a fair few managers (at least superficially). It will be pretty darn embarrassing to land up an interview and make a fool of myself by not knowing the stuff as I am quite likely to see the same guys again in my current role. Also, once I start looking, it wouldn’t take long for somebody at my firm find out that I am interviewing. A lot of my bosses are ex fund managers and that last thing I want is a ‘post a fair few drinks’ conversation like… “ Hey Jim, you know the John Doe at your office, I interviewed the chap the other day and I was disappointed. I used to think that he is a pretty smart guy but he had no clue how to identify the key drivers of a company’s performance and use it in a DCF” And the truth is…I don’t have much clue. I might be able to put some spiel on it for half an hour but that’s the whole reason I want to move to asset management and learn these things. Any tips on how to approach the resume writing and interview process are greatly appreciated.

I also wonder how many guys on this board are working in investment consulting. I rarely see the role mentioned. Where as a lot of guys at my works have the charter.

Oldmonk, The way I see it, it will be very hard to break in to ER or PE from your role. I work in what I think is a similar capacity to you - managing managers, except internally instead of externally. To me, it seems like the most obvious exit strategy would be fund of funds and maybe PWM down the line. I’m fortunate enough to work with long only equity managers as well as long/short and multi-strategy HFs, so I think my experience will help towards landing a role at a hedge FoF in the future. Not trying to crush your dreams or anything, just offering what I think is a realistic view. ER positions will probably require a different skill set than the one acquired in a consulting role across many asset classes. I wouldn’t say it’s completely impossible, just not easy. Good luck to you.

Oldmonk, I don’t want to take over your thread, but I am very interested in pursuing work in investment consulting. Is it okay if I email you with some questions about ways to break in and what to expect from this line of work? Any insight you could provide would be most appreciated.

edmund_lord, feel free to email me on oldmonk16 at gmail. Pox Americana, I agree that the switch is hard but not very hard or impossible. There are a lot of guys on this board who have made the jump from BO to FO and I’d say that we probably have an easier run compared to them. I am at relatively at an early stage of my career and don’t mind starting as a junior analyst in ER or PE and I think it will progressively get harder to make the switch with time. Although I must add that there are some senior guys at my work can talk to you about each and every stock in a managers portfolio. Any equity manager will snap them up in a minute and sometimes I feel that they are only working at my firm because they enjoy all the a*s kissing by fund managers. FOF’s is certainly easier to move into and we have a multi manger department within my firm which is managing double digit billions. But if I move there then I think it is quite unlikely that I will be going anywhere soon as everybody seems quite comfortable in there. But again, there is very little security level learning involved. I am gonna start applying soon and will keep you posted. Meanwhile if anybody on this board has made the switch, please share your thoughts. Lets keep the damn thread alive.

Being a person who’s worked for an asset manager, dealing directly with the inst’l consulting world for several years I’d like to hereby denounce your description of what I do as ‘ass kissing’ the consultants. : )

Maybe not you Chicagoist. But there are some who do. There are some very smart relationhip managers out there. And then there are some who make up for the lack of it with lots of schmoozing. But again, for 400K a year plus a chunky bonus, It aint a bad job at all.

shhhh… we don’t want people catching on! let them continue to want to be analysts : )

I’ll shoot you an email this evening oldmonk.