Investment Banking: Sell side vs Buy Side

What is a better job to aim for in terms of: Quality of life (work hours), salary, career promotion opportunities, people and overall work environment or satisfaction? Either buy side or sell side? Does anyone know this? I have a degree in finance with a strong economic and quantitative finance background and am currently going for my honours degree, but am not sure whether to take a buy side or sell side job, keeping in mind I still want to play basketball and football and have weekends off - so I can maintain some type of life outside work. Any insights or advice on what I should do would be greatly appreciated! Cheers, Dave.

If you want to have a life on the weekends, you might as well forget about working on the sell-side, especially in banking. What is “buy side” investment banking? No such thing. You should really use the “search” function and do some diligence here because many of your questions have been answered in past threads. Cheers

there is a buy side IN investment banks, hence the chinese wall between these 2 functions. But can anyone answer my question? Cheers.

i think your definition of Buyside is unique. the chinese wall refers to research and conflict of interest.

Yes as buy side research is kept separate from sell side research is it not? I read on sites the chinese wall exists between sell side and buy side in a large investment bank which has both buy side and sell side, anyway im rusty seeing as I am only a student, so back to the question at hand, can anyone answer the original question?

Frank is right on this one. In fact, sell-side analysts interact with buy-siders all the time. Isn’t that the whole point of my existence as a sell-side research analyst? Original poster is unclear as to the distinction between banking vs. other sell-side functions vs. buy-side; thus I don’t actually understand what his question is. Can you clarify?

“Investment Banking” is solely a sell side pursuit, and if you want to maintain any semblance of an outside life, you will avoid it like the plague. This in a job in which the good weeks will involve 90+ hours, and the bad weeks, well the bad weeks involve more. There do exist buyside positions within investment banks, although these will generally involve significantly more than 8-5 type hours.

OK well anyway the question is mainly the buy side vs sell side functions. What are the hours like on each side per week, quality of life, promotion opportunities in the firms, employment satisfaction, work life balance etc…which would be more satisfying? Does anyone have experience they can share on the pro’s and cons of each side? Many thanks again.

thanks hold side analyst, so would working in a smaller specialised firm on the buyside be a better option for someone who wants to keep there weekends, sports and social life? What are the usual hours involved there?

Do you mean “buy side” of deals in the corp finance group? helping a firm acquire another firm in m&a advisory, as opposed to selling a company (preparing offering memoradums etc)? I think looking for light hours is probably not the correct attitude to have if you want to work in the IBD

Im not looking for light hours, and i mean buy side in the sense of equity research and asset management. I was wondering if I could just not work weekends, and what the hours were like in buy side equity research and asset management in mid-tier firms??

yeah, sometimes people (and guides) refer to the groups represent the seller in an M&A transaction as “the sell-side”, and the groups the represent the buyer as “the buy-side”. It’s still all i-banking, not investment mgmt. Confusing, I know. Considering you only get paid when the deal goes through, I think it’s better to work on the selling side than the buying side in this context.

There is a difference in roles in within the Sell Side. If you look at Sell-side, what most people refer to as Investment Bank, you could delve into Sales, Trading, Research, Corporate Finance, IBD. You will also have Prop trading versus Making Markets. You can even see difference in career opportunity and hours depending on what product you work with. I-Bank Sales will often have easier hours than Trading. If you sit on a desk which supports a globally traded product, as many Fixed-Income products are, you could find yourself in a follow-the-sun situation. If you find yourself on a CDO desk, or other Credit Risk desk in this type of market, you will find yourself with a whole lot of free time atm :slight_smile: It all depends. Do you know what type of investments interest you?

Dave101, I understand what your real question is, and I’ve thought about it myself also. I’m currently an Associate in sell-side research, working under a head analyst, so I can give you my opinion. In sell-side, you would start off as an associate, supporting the head analyst, and for the most part hours would be 7am-5:30 or so on a normal day… it all depends on the sector your covering… Our sector happens to be mainly smaller companies so there’s not as much big news that comes out to keep us late on a normal day, but I know other associates that work longer hours. Of course, earnings season is much different - depending on the reporting schedule, you could be in at 6am for a morning report and won’t get out until after 10pm… our companies tend to report all at once so there are some rough days, but its only 4 times a year… In the Associate role I’ve never worked on a weekend, although the head analyst has to keep track of news constantly, even over the weekends (but can do this over his blackberry so no need to be in the office), and there is a lot of travel for a head analyst, not so much for an associate. I’ve never worked on the buy-side but have friends that do, and it seems like they work 7am-6pm kind of hours, and they don’t have the pressure to get our their earnings wire after a company reports… they don’t have the kind of 16 hour days that you may see during earnings season on the sell-side… A lot of sell-side guys end up switching to the buy-side for that reason… that’s my two cents, hope that helps…

"I’ve never worked on the buy-side but have friends that do, and it seems like they work 7am-6pm kind of hours, and they don’t have the pressure to get our their earnings wire after a company reports… " This is roughly accurate.

I’m on the buyside and my hours are roughly 8am~6:30pm. I have worked 2 weekends in 14 months and that was spent on preparing a huge sector review/preview type report.

My hours are 9AM to 6-6:30PM… No weekends whatsoever… The downside is that bonus is much smaller than what sell-side analysts usually get, at least at the entry level.

krnyc2008 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > My hours are 9AM to 6-6:30PM… No weekends > whatsoever… > > The downside is that bonus is much smaller than > what sell-side analysts usually get, at least at > the entry level. Pre-market material announcements start around 7AM or later…but clearly well before 9AM in most cases. Does your company not do pre-market trades?

Are you guys trying to screw with this guy or what? If you are I get it, but if you’re not, just tell this kid buyside is working at mutual funds

I work as a sell-side equity research associate. My hours are usually 7AM - 8PM between earnings seasons and 7AM - 10PM during earnings. More often than not, I find myself working weekends. All depends on your analyst though. Some of my peers leave at 5 each day and a few leave later than me. We put out a lot of thought pieces between earnings, which keeps the workload high year round. We also do a fair number of initiations each year.