- Competition among private equity firms and hedge funds for the best young talent on Wall Street is fierce.
- Many buy-side shops rely on specialized headhunting firms to help them identify and hire the most promising future dealmakers and traders.
- Some of these gatekeepers have been recruiting for alternative-investment firms for decades, while others have materialized in recent years as trillions in capital have funneled into the strategies and increased demand.
- Business Insider tapped its sources at investment firms, business schools, and the recruiting world to identify 12 of the top firms that private equity and hedge funds rely on to identify future Wall Street all-stars.
Competition among alternative-asset managers for the best young talent is fierce. Whether it’s poaching from investment-banking analyst programs or more seasoned practitioners finishing up an MBA, private-equity firms, hedge funds, and other buy-side investors duke it out to ensure they’re landing top prospects to replenish their ranks and shore up their future generation of partners and portfolio managers.
As billions in capital continues to flock to these strategies, the recruiting gauntlet has grown ever more intense. Last year, private-equity firms started their 2021 class search by late summer, locking up 22-year-olds with only a few weeks of banking experience under their belts in the earliest recruiting blitz on record.
Privately, some recruiters have expressed to Business Insider a hope that the recruitment timeline may be delayed given the complications from the pandemic, including disjointed start dates, virtual training, and remote work — but they noted it was still too early to tell.
Apollo is revamping recruiting and trying to soften its culture amid a big growth push. From MBA summer internships to kids’ story time, here’s a look.
On the flipside, thousands of young Wall Street analysts with dreams of long and lucrative careers managing investments are vying for coveted positions at prestigious firms like Blackstone, Apollo Global, and Citadel.
Straddling the two worlds are the gatekeepers: A cadre of headhunting firms that specialize in the annual circus of interviewing and assessing aspiring dealmakers and traders and funneling the best of the bunch to their top buy-side clients.
Some boutiques have practiced this brand of Wall Street recruiting for as much as three decades, dating back to when it was truly a niche. But alternative asset classes have exploded — private equity and hedge funds alone had nearly $8 trillion in assets under management globally in 2019, according to Preqin — and other firms have emerged to help fill the need, in several cases with founders splitting off from old-guard practitioners to launch their own competitors.
See more: Private-equity firms are already interviewing 22-year-old bankers who will start in 2 years. Their earliest-ever hiring kickoff shows how crazy the battle for talent has gotten.
Business Insider tapped its sources— including contacts at asset managers, business schools, and executive search firms — to identify 12 of the top firms that recruit budding front-office investors to the buy side. While some of these firms recruit at senior levels and for other industries as well, they each have robust businesses recruiting pre-MBA, MBA, and post-MBA employees.
“It’s not a business that search firms can pursue casually. It is very labor intensive; the search consultants have to cultivate relationships with a huge amount of analysts during the year, and then get the timing right by having them ready to go on interviews during the brief window when the PE firms are doing the hiring, ” John Arbolino, a managing director at Boothroyd & Co., a consulting firm that specializes in recruiting for Wall Street executive search firms, told Business Insider.
“It can be lucrative for the search firms, but they have to be very dedicated to call the analysts all year long and then make the hit during hiring season.”
While some firms agreed to speak about their recruiting efforts on the buy side, others either declined to comment or did not return a request for comment.
Here are the 12 headhunting firms to know if you want a career in alternative asset management — or if you’re an investment firm looking to connect with the most promising young standouts on Wall Street.
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Amity Search Partners
Locations: New York, San Francisco, Austin, San Diego
Staff size: 17
Amity was founded in 2009 by Pam Esterson and Susanna Nichols after the duo broke off from their former firm, SG Partners, one of the longest-running buy-side recruiting shops.
Esterson and Nichols now run a staff of 15 recruiters who place candidates with alternative-investment shops across the country — as well as some international markets — with dedicated offices now in New York, San Francisco, Austin, and San Diego.
Clients include Bain Capital, Centerbridge Partners, and Trian Partners, according to the company’s website.
Locations: New York
Staff size: 11
BellCast Partners works with private equity, venture capital, and alternative asset management firms, as well as some hedge funds and distressed funds.
“We focus across the spectrum from the entry-level folks into their first buy-side job, all the way to managing directors and partners,” the firm’s cofounder Danielle Caston Strazzini told Business Insider. Caston Strazzini founded the firm with Alison Bellino Johnson after working together at CPI, a veteran firm in the buy-side recruiting space, in the 2000s.
Locations: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco
Staff size: 34
CPI sources talent across the spectrum, but it specializes in shepherding the pre-MBA through post-MBA crowd into an array of investment management firms, from private equity and credit funds to hedge funds and VC firms. Founded in 1996 by CEO Brian O’Callaghan, it’s one of the longest-tenured players in the field.
The firm assesses 3,000 candidates annually, according to its website, sourcing from analyst programs at more than 50 investment banks and consulting firms as well as top b-schools like Wharton, Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia. CPI has clients in Latin America, Asia, and Europe in addition to its US presence.
Dynamics Search Partners
Locations: New York
Staff size: 14
Dynamics Search Partners is a top recruiter to alternative-investment shops. While 75% of its candidate placements end up in hedge funds and private-equity firms, partners Keith Mann and Josh Grauer also have inroads to family offices, endowments, and venture firms.
“We do just about everything — family offices, private equity, public markets,” Mann told Business Insider.
Mann has been recruiting on Wall Street since the early 2000s, launching DSP in 2008 to focus exclusively on the buy side.
Locations: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco
Staff size: 41
Glocap, founded in 1997 by Adam Zoia and now run by CEO Annette Krassner, has a diversified recruitment operation — they handle Wall Street investment searches across the board, but also media, technology, and entertainment mandates.
Its longest-running and largest practice is placing young analysts and MBA grads at hedge funds and private-equity firms.
Glocap has seven people dedicated to that business, which is now run by managing directors Katie Cunningham and Sarah Armstrong. While most of their work focuses on the buy side, they collaborate with teammates focused on investment banking, corporate development, or real estate to make sure candidates can find the right fit.
“As a firm we offer the widest variety of exit opportunities,” Cunningham told Business Insider. “Everyone on our team has spent time at an alternative investment firm or investment bank, so we have a good understanding of how the ecosystem works.”
While the firm excels in placing junior and mid-level talent, they handle mandates at the senior levels as well.
“Many of the candidates who were candidates as young bankers are now really important clients and relationships,” Armstrong said. “It’s a very natural, organic way in which we built the firm.”
Gold Coast Search Partners
Locations: New York, San Francisco
Staff size: 8
Gold Coast was founded in 2009 by a trio of recruiters that defected from CPI — Anna Brady, Janelle Matthews, and Beth Grossman.
Like their previous shop, Gold Coast specializes in placing junior and mid-level talent in buy-side investment roles, including private equity, venture, and growth equity.
And like the name suggests, the search boutique is rooted in its expertise of the Bay Area market.
Henkel Search Partners
Locations: New York, San Francisco
Staff size: 22
A former managing director in investment banking at Morgan Stanley, Eleni Henkel now runs Henkel Search Partners, which runs searches for pre- and post-MBA candidates and more senior-level principals.
Henkel, along with founding partner Leah Trabich, started HSP in 2011 after working together at SG Partners, one of the longest-running competitors in the space.
HSP has worked on “hundreds of searches and placed thousands of candidates at buy-side and advisory firms,” its website boasts.
Odyssey Search Partners
Locations: New York
Staff size: 13
Odyssey Search Partners specializes in private equity and hedge fund searches running the gamut from pre-MBA candidates up through the most senior levels of the corporate hierarchy. The firm was founded by Adam Kahn in 2010. Kahn and Anthony Keizner are Odyssey’s managing partners.
“We narrowly focus on front-office professionals or investment professionals, with a big eye towards helping hedge fund and private-equity firms identify more diverse talent pools,” Keizner told Business Insider in an interview. “These professionals range from partners and portfolio managers at the top of the organizations through associates and analysts at the start of their careers.”
On its website, Odyssey reports having completed searches in 14 cities across the US, with 93% of those searches resulting in a filled position.
The Oxbridge Group
Locations: New York, Los Angeles
Staff size: 23
When it was founded in 1988, the Oxbridge Group originally focused its recruiting efforts on investment banking professionals. Subsequently, as private-equity investing gained momentum in the 1990’s, the firm pivoted to more intensive PE recruiting, and added on hedge fund searches in 2011.
Nina Swift founded the firm, but veteran recruiter Marty Brady joined her six years later and has been helping run the firm since.
The company now has a large continent of managing directors — 11 in all — explaining on its website that Oxbridge is “one of the few boutique search firms that has a flat structure, and our managing directors are the primary interface for both clients and candidates throughout the entire search process.”
Locations: New York, Boston, San Francisco
Staff size: 11
Ratio Advisors hires pre-MBA and post-MBA talent, as well as students currently enrolled in MBA programs, for jobs at private-equity firms, hedge funds, and alternative asset managers. The firm is led by Vedica Qalbani, Ratio’s CEO and a managing partner, formerly a director in mergers and acquisitions at Time Warner.
Qalbani and fellow managing partners Lindsey Mead and Jessica Wu worked together at Amity Search Partners for several years before breaking off to found a competitor of their own with Ratio in 2017.
“We function as our clients’ outsourced marketing arm” in pitching clients to pre-MBA hopefuls looking to land their first bulge bracket jobs, Ratio says, and notes that it is also active in “a wide range of VP and principal searches.”
Locations: New York
Staff size: 12
Michael Garmisa founded SearchOne in 1998, two years after graduating from Indiana University, and has maintained an exclusive focus on recruiting investment professionals for hedge funds, private equity, and other alternative asset managers.
The firm excels at matching younger candidates with buy-side opportunities, but, like others on this list that have been at it for a couple of decades, long-standing relationships mean they handle ample mandates for senior roles as well.
SearchOne boasts on its website that 80% “of mid- to senior-level candidates placed have been in touch with SearchOne throughout their careers.”
Locations: New York
Staff size: 19
Sheri Gellman, the founder of SG Partners, is one of the original talent sourcers of the private-equity industry — she helped popularize the investment-banking to PE pipline in the early 1990s, long before the industry exploded into one of the largest investment asset classes on the planet.
SG Partners, founded in 1991, remains a top player in that realm today, though Gellman has expanded the remit to include hedge funds, real estate, and investment banking, among other specialties. The firm places candidates across the US and in select international markets as well.
The company’s enduring presence and success has spawned offshoots: Several competing firms cut their teeth at SG Partners before leaving to hang out their own shingle.
“Preparation” for hedge fund interviews means coming up with 2-3 solid investment pitches, working on spinning your pitches into sounding like deals and then taking a strong view of each one, and making sure you can explain your market views coherently.What is private equity recruiting? ›
Private Equity recruitment is the process that PE firms use to source, interview and hire candidates. Since Private Equity is a highly paid, prestigious, and competitive field, banks do not have to do much to “attract” candidates.How do you prepare for private equity recruiting? ›
- Making a good early impression within your banking group is key (better staffings, recommendations to firms, & help with headhunters)
- Talk to older analysts who have been through the process.
- Ask for old modeling templates and tests (PE firms recycle modeling tests)
To become a private equity analyst, you will need a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance or a related programme and sometimes an MBA as well. Entry-level positions are available, but usually experience working in the financial sector is a requirement.What is the difference between a hedge fund and private equity? ›
Hedge funds are alternative investments that use pooled money and a variety of tactics to earn returns for their investors. Private equity funds invest directly in companies, by either purchasing private firms or buying a controlling interest in publicly traded companies.How much money do you need for a hedge fund? ›
Hedge Fund Fees and Minimums
Minimum initial investment amounts for hedge funds range from $100,000 to upwards of $2 million. Hedge funds are not as liquid as stocks or bonds either and may only allow you to withdraw your money after you've been invested for a certain amount of time or during set times of the year.
The national average salary for a Private Equity Executive Recruiter is $88,798 per year in United States.How long do private equity interviews last? ›
Interviews at the largest firms start and finish in 24-48 hours, with upper-middle-market and middle-market firms beginning after that.What do private equity firms look for when hiring? ›
Private equity firms usually look for entry-level associates with at least two years of experience within the banking industry. Investment bankers usually follow the PE firm career path as their next job and typically have a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics, and other related fields.What questions do private equity ask? ›
- 1) How large is your fund? ...
- 2) What is your target return profile and strategy? ...
- 3) What role will you play in the relationship during and after the transaction? ...
- 4) How many investments will the partner have active at one time? ...
- 5) What is the typical board composition?
Overwhelmingly, private equity firms hire: Investment Banking Analysts at bulge bracket and elite boutique banks, as well as a few In-Between-a-Banks.How do you stand out in a private equity interview? ›
Being able to articulate a well thought out reason why you want to come join our fund specifically goes a long way toward standing out. It shows strong preparation, an ability to think high level, and a keen interest to be in a specific place.Can you go straight into private equity? ›
Private equity firms do hire undergraduates. However, there are usually only a handful of undergraduates from top schools that recruit directly into PE firms. Usually with previous experience in investment banking or private equity. Boutique firms with minimal recruiting structure can accept undergraduates too.Is it hard to get into private equity? ›
It will be very difficult to get into private equity without experience in IB or PE and without having gone to a typical target school. However, it is not impossible to break into the industry.How do I become a private equity investor? ›
In addition to meeting the minimum investment requirements of private equity funds, you'll also need to be an accredited investor, meaning your net worth — alone or combined with a spouse — is over $1 million or your annual income was higher than $200,000 in each of the last two years.Why private equity is better than hedge funds? ›
Key Differences Between Private Equity and Hedge Funds
Private equity funds invest in companies that can provide higher profits over a more extended period. In contrast, hedge funds are used to invest in assets that yield good ROI or return on investment over a shorter period.
Private markets enjoyed better performance
Investors are increasingly choosing private-market options over hedge funds because they are seeking higher returns, and for the most part, the private markets have delivered.
A growing number of hedge funds are allocating larger chunks of their portfolios to private market assets, chasing compelling opportunities and competing for many of the same investments traditionally pursued by private equity and venture capital funds.Can I start a hedge fund with my own money? ›
Yes, you could start with much less capital, or go through a hedge fund incubator, or use a “friends and family” approach, or target only high-net-worth individuals. But if you start with, say, $5 million, you will not have enough to pay yourself anything, hire others, or even cover administrative costs.How do I start a hedge fund with no experience? ›
- The answer is you can't-at least not legally. In order to start a hedge fund, you must have a certain level of experience in the industry. ...
- In addition to experience, you'll also need to have a sound investment strategy. ...
- Last but not least, you'll need to raise capital.
1. BlackRock Advisors. BlackRock (BLK) is a New York-based investment manager that manages trillions in assets. The largest BlackRock entity, BlackRock Fund Advisors, has been in operation since 1984 and oversees $1.9 trillion in assets.How much do private equity partners make? ›
At the low end, such as at a brand-new fund with a few hundred million under management, a Partner might earn in the $500K to $1 million range for base salary + year-end bonus. As fund sizes approach several billion under management, Partners move closer to an average of $1-2 million in base salary + bonus.Is private equity considered Wall Street? ›
The private equity sector has tripled in size over the last decade and now manages roughly $10trn of assets. Top private equity firms are “the new kings of Wall Street”, says The Economist. Private equity refers to investments that are not listed on public markets.How much do you make in private equity Reddit? ›
In PE firms, the usual private equity compensation is as follows: Salary for private equity associates: $150-$300K. Salary for senior associates in private equity: $250-400K. Salary for a private equity vice president (VP): $350–500K.What happens at First Round private equity interview? ›
On the first round, the private equity firm will host numerous 30-minute behavioral interviews to make sure you have the right background, strong communication skills (for example, to make sure you are capable of engaging appropriately with investment target companies, portfolio companies, bankers, and consultants), ...What is the difference between investment banking and private equity? ›
Investment banks tend to act as middle-man, marketing shares of publicly traded companies to other investors in a sell-side function. Private equity firms, on the other hand, invest their own money in a buy-side fashion in privately held companies.Can you go from consulting to private equity? ›
There are two primary paths for consultants into the Private equity industry: the operations team and a portfolio company (while a small portion of consultants end up working in an Investment Team, firms primarily target individuals with investment banking or Private equity backgrounds for these roles).What do people do at private equity firms? ›
What Do You Actually Do In A Private Equity Job? Private equity firms raise capital from outside investors, called Limited Partners (LP), and then use this capital to buy companies, operate and improve them, and then sell them to realize a return on their investment.What typically happens when a private equity firm acquires a company? ›
When a private-equity firm (PE) acquires a company, they work together with management to significantly increase EBITDA during its investment horizon. A good portfolio company can typically increase its EBITDA both organically and by acquisitions.How much does a VP in private equity make? ›
The average Private Equity Vice President salary is $153,201 as of September 26, 2022, but the salary range typically falls between $138,464 and $165,601.
- Industry Strengths. ...
- Business Cycle. ...
- Company Size. ...
- Platform vs. ...
- Questions to Ask Before Choosing a PE Firm. ...
- Know What Type of Investment You Are Seeking.
The three measures of private equity performance you need to know are internal rate of return (IRR), multiple of invested capital (MOIC), and public market equivalent (PME). It's important to learn and use all three metrics in tandem because they account for the others' blind spots.How do I prepare for private equity internships? ›
- Know all about private equity. The first step is to know what exactly you are getting into. ...
- Create a list of targeted companies. ...
- Prepare a resume. ...
- Follow up on interviews. ...
- Prepare for the interview.
McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm. We are the trusted advisor to the world's leading businesses, governments, and institutions.Why do PE firms use headhunters? ›
Purpose: Headhunters function as outsourced recruiting and HR for private equity firms. In the on-cycle recruiting process, their main purpose is to screen candidates and eliminate people who look good “on paper” but do not perform well in real life.Do you need MBA for private equity? ›
Although most large private equity firms look exclusively for job candidates with an MBA, you can still get into a smaller firm without one. Smaller firms prefer candidates with an MBA, but it's not always a requirement.How hard are private equity interviews? ›
The competition is fierce – a single entry-level role will receive around 300 applications – and the interview process is notoriously difficult. “Private equity interviews are incredibly competitive, and you don't get many chances to practice,” says Gail McManus, managing director of Private Equity Recruitment.What do you say in a private equity interview? ›
- Describe the industry and the company's business model.
- Discuss the revenue, EBITDA, or earnings of the business.
- Talk about the valuation that the company sold for (EV/EBITDA, or other) ...
- Outline the strategic rationale for the transaction.
Private equity can help to diversify a portfolio by mitigating both public market risk and cyclical risk. The way that the majority of investors access public markets is through index funds, which invest a proportion of capital in every stock in a particular index.What do hedge funds look for in candidates? ›
The skills that hedge funds look for in job candidates can be divided into two basic categories—knowledge-based skills (gained through education, self-study, and work experience) and personal skills in areas like communication, teamwork, and risk-taking.
While working in equity research or in investment banking is typically the clearest path to working at a hedge fund, it is not impossible to start working at a hedge fund right after undergrad. It will however, take a great deal of work to overcome to highly competitive nature of recruiting.What should I wear to a hedge fund interview? ›
Hedge Fund Interview: Tips on How to Dress
Suit: Wear a solid colored suit, either dark grey or dark blue, with a two-button coat. Classy but conservative is the name of the game. Shirts: Wear solid shirts as well, white or light blue.
Hedge fund roles are extremely popular for their high earning potential and potentially better work-life balance as compared to similar high returns jobs. However, it remains one of the most competitive jobs in the industry, and only the cream of the crop in investment banks are admitted to this profession.What is the biggest hedge fund in the world? ›
1. BlackRock Advisors. BlackRock (BLK) is a New York-based investment manager that manages trillions in assets. The largest BlackRock entity, BlackRock Fund Advisors, has been in operation since 1984 and oversees $1.9 trillion in assets.What is the best hedge fund? ›
|1||Skye Global (West Palm Beach, FL) >||Equity Long/Short|
|2||North Peak Capital Partners--Class E1 (New York)||Equity Long/Short|
|3||Haidar Jupiter Composite (New York)||Global Macro|
|4||Atika Capital Partners (New York)||Equity Long/Short|
Hedge fund strategies are a set of principles or instructions followed by a hedge fund in order to protect themselves against the movements of stocks or securities in the market and to make a profit on a very small working capital without risking the entire budget.Do you need MBA to work at hedge fund? ›
That doesn't mean you have to have a degree in business or economics. In fact, many famous hedge fund managers are students of philosophy. Certain hedge funds require an MBA or CFA. Many people get both, but getting both is really a waste of time.How much do people at hedge funds make? ›
|Position Title||Typical Age Range||Base Salary + Bonus (USD)|
|Junior Analyst or Research Associate||22-25||$100K - $150K|
|Analyst||24-30||$200K - $600K|
|Senior Analyst or Sector Head||28-33||$500K - $1 million|
|Portfolio Manager||32+||$500K - $3 million|
Key Takeaways. A bachelor of science (B.S.) degree in finance is ideal for a variety of hedge fund jobs, but your major will matter. Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics, accounting, physics, computer science, and even engineering are also useful, given the recent rise in algorithmic trading.How do people dress in private equity? ›
Investment Banking and Private Equity
For men in investment banking or in other sell-side roles, this still means crisp, well-fitted shirts, blue or gray suits (not black or patterned, ever) and ties really only for client meetings if the client is more formal, such as most corporates or pension funds would be.
Unless you're out soliciting money from high-net worth clients, the dress code at most hedge funds is rather ambiguous. Most people don't wear suits, though some do. Others dress business casual or will even wear jeans.What do you wear to a private equity interview? ›
You should purchase a solid shirt (either white or light blue) and get a conservative tie. Also, get a decent pair of black shoes that are not clunky and preferably have a thin wooden bottom. And make sure not to wear French cuffs, a pocket square or a spread collar dress shirt.Is working for a hedge fund good? ›
Working for a hedge fund is the goal of many investment-oriented college students, where they can start earning six figures even in their first year on the job. Hedge funds are complex businesses with several distinct operational segments, from investments and trading to accounting and support.Why do hedge fund managers make so much money? ›
Hedge fund managers become rich by making money on the profits of their assets. They charge a 2% performance fee and cut the generated gains, which amounts to about 20%. Due to the above, they only allow wealthy and affluent individuals to invest in hedge funds.What should I ask a hedge fund? ›
- How long can you put aside the money?
- What sort of returns do you expect to get from the investment each year?
- How do you define risk: Losing some or all of the investment? ...
- How much risk can you tolerate?
- What percentage of your liquid assets do you plan to allocate to hedge funds?