Move from back office at large firm to research at smaller firm... worth it?

I work in back office ops of a ultra high net worth asset mgmt firm, AUM around $40 billion. Decent firm, I like it there, but it’s back office ops. I might have a few opportunities to get into some smaller money managers, say between $100 million to $2.5 billion.

Just want to get your takes on moving on to smaller firms to maybe be more involved in the front office, research, trading, and portfolio mgmt side of the business. What kind of salary could I expect at these smaller firms for a new research associate/assistant/whatever title they’d give me, basically working under a portfolio manager and assisting him. Think there’s good experience to be built at the smaller shops? To me, getting out of back office any way I can seems like the goal.

Appreciate your advice!

Most would agree that its a good idea. Your experience and skill set is really what is important and transferable, the name of your firm is not nearly as important.

Do it! Smaller firms usually will give you better opportunity to take on more responsibility and will set you up for further advancement. You won’t get very far working in the back office at your current firm.

i work as an assistant/junior under the portfolio manager at a boutick assetman shop. i got a real kick out of it during the first months, as i came into the position from nearly-unrealted background (economis) and learned a lot fast. however now i feel the work is rather repetitive and tedious and there is not much of it anyway which i think has a lot to do with the people that run things. so i guess it really depends on if the role that is being offered to you will see you through to the next state, i.e. from assisting to hands on the money. i’m not there yet.

Do it.

  • More role flexibility - you can define your role & tweak by taking on more tasks that are related to your target role, and gradually push a transition into any role you want in a small firm. Highly dependent on your initiative though
  • From personal & friends’ experiences, smaller firms (in the UK at least) pay better but have less of a structured (read: straightforward) promotional process. Again, very dependent on personal drive
  • It’s much easier to move back to a large firm from a small one, than try and transition to front office directly

Good luck!