Way out of Asset management

I was interested if you could share some tips for career change out of asset management (equity). Since I graduated four years ago, I have been working as a buy-side equity analyst at a medium-size AM firm where I had previously interned. It’s not going too bad and I was even promoted to fund manager and pay is good too. Yet I cannot stop worrying what would happen if things go south with performance. I went through CFA to bolster my CV in case of such an eventuality but now I find out it doesn’t really open doors to mobility within fields. I recently applied to credit analyst positions as well as investor relations, to check my marketability, and was immediately rejected. I am seriously worried for my employability in case of a market downturn, all the more so as I have a family to support and age advances (I am now almost 30). To the point that I am now considering leaving my job and nice pay and taking a masters degree in financial controlling, you know, a boring job that is always on demand. Do you know what area could be a potential lifeline without going back to university, maybe real estate or risk management ? Or what certificates I could earn that give you opportunity to land a job without previous work experience (such as FRM perhaps)? I would appreciate any thoughts

Maybe see if one of your investors (endowment fund, family office, fof) has a spot.

game never changes homie

lever up portfolio. make fat fees now. store away for a rainy day. downturn hits. get fired. crush severance package in Cabo. start family office/ prop fund to mask unemployment. economy improves. get hired by somebody else.

rinse & repeat.

OP, can you get any kind of MBA or MS from a top 10 or hopefully, top 5 school? By far, this will be the best eye catcher on your resume and will make most people give you a chance. Part time programs are also ok.

All those FRM sort of credentials are throwaways. They are so easy and common that they don’t mean much.

Thank you for your comments. MBA would be very expensive and time-consuming. Embarking on it means I will have to leave my job and live off my savings for at least a year. If I am to do that, I’d much prefer a masters with a practical orientation that will guarantee me employability and would be much cheaper.

You could do part time MBA. I feel your pain, surprised you had so many rejections. I would focus on a top tier MBA, those specialized type masters to Ohai’s point are typically sort of useless. In the meantime, keep patiently testing the job market, honing how you market / present yourself and the story you tell. Maybe do some networking.

I guess I got rejected because a recruiter will always prefer hires who come from the exact background as the job on offer. I thought though that I could be a shoo in for an investor relations role, since I also have interned in financial communication, yet my several applications had no follow-up. My impression is that for such a role companies prefer people from the sell-side or from auditing. In any case I agree that networking is key and that I have to work on my presentation skills

The good thing is that you’re not ina a situation where you “need” to find a job right away since you’re currently employed. So I would use that time/option and avoid panicking and try to be very methodical. Not panicking is crucial, it’s common but can feel alarming to be rejected repeatedly but you need to keep it in perspective, realize that people job hunting often go through hundreds of rejections for moves to non-identical roles. Additionally, your point is correct about recruiters only wanting people with identical backgrounds. It’s a great frustration but somehow, maybe because most people are stupid, they have a hard time imagining anybody can contend with mild transitions. It seems myopic given how quickly the right person can work through those things and the perspective they can bring. Anyhow, to overcome it, you will probably need to work on marketing yourself more directly for each roll, but it’s an uphill climb.

This, with the exception of levering up the portfolio. Kill it in your fund man. Build a good track record and the AUM will flow. If a downturn hits you hopefully will have structured the portfolio to perform better in a down environment. Then the AUM really flows in.

We always look as a downturn as something where you can REALLY set yourself apart. Provided you stick to your guns and buy when stuff is really cheap,

Why would someone want to move away from a role that everyone here on this forum and most probably thousands of people would take in a heartbeat? Banking is all about sales so don’t move there unless you want a sales role. You can be an analyst for a while but after a couple of years, your boss wants you to go out and sale. If you really want stability, then I believe FP&A type of job would be fine but then again, a lot of people complain about those roles because they are frustrated with the lack of action.

I heard on NPR we need plumbers and also construction workers to build a wall

Isn’t knowing how to hedge against a “severe market downturn” exactly the point of you taking the CFA?

I’d imagine with the CFA charter and four years of experience in AM you should have strong quant skills that could be lucrative in management consulting or corporate finance roles. You might need to take a pay cut but you’d have options.

Going back to school for MBA @ 30 years old (and taking out loans) while needing to support a family might not be an option for you. I mean, isn’t the whole point of getting the charter to stand out among other candidates in case poop hits the ceiling?

Thank you for your comments. Many of the suggestions made here (corporate finance, MBA, FP&A) are useful guides to what a plan B could look like. Corporate finance job in a company would be indeed a convenient way out but in my view very hard to transition to as recruiters in this area are only interested in candidates coming from M&A and accounting (at least in France where I am from). In any case for the time being it seems I can only work hard to protect my portfolio and develop my network beyond people who do the same job as me. I appreciate your various responses. I am new to the forum and did not expect that many comments, thanks to all.

I don’t understand OP’s concerns…If/when a major market downturn occurs, people in investment management are the safest in the company. People in IT, marketing, and even operations will get laid off way before you. In 2008, there were massive layoffs at my firm just like everywhere else, but we didn’t let a single PM or analyst go. It’s a bad look. Makes it seem like the company is panicking.

If you’re worried about the strategy(ies) you work on underperforming, that’s just life on the buy side. Still, most asset managers give their investment professionals a very long leash. I’d keep my head down and just do your job. Sounds like you’re actually in a really good spot.

A slow downturn over many years is still a downturn. No one wants to be in a no growth industry when all those IT guys now got new jobs in an expanding field.

I think if you are an old entrenched FA who can live off accumulated customers, it’s better to stay where you are. However, if you’re a new person with no investment in the field, there’s probably nicer things you could be doing.

Getting tired of agreeing with Ohai lately, but I agree with Ohai on this one. If you’re young and early in your career, the excitedment and optionality of an expanding field vs fighting over a melting ice cube. The most surreal aspect of the shrinking investment field and even moreso, rapidly declining areas like research are the number of incredibly intelligent people fighting to maintain stasis or differentiate themselves.

You’re probably ahead of the game if you’re considering your options already and testing the market. If I were you I’d keep building on presentation and networking skills.

There are exit opportunities. I went from small cap buyside to PE although that’s probably a rare move.

Didn’t the guy on “The Big Short” rack in millions while everyone was getting fired?

I think the OP needs to start investing in the VIX, and get some “self attribution bias” to take credit for the big rake when the bear starts.

Ah, to be young and completely oblivious.