Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

The Returnee: My simple guide to the pros and cons of working in the buy side

There are more and more local hedge funds, private equity firms and venture capital firms being established in China. I personally think these small buy-side players can compete with the international banks here when it comes to career opportunities.

Here are some of the pros

· All-round exposure. Buy-side firms have lower headcounts and people usually have multiple roles. Closing deals, operations support and legal documentation can all be done by the same team. You therefore get a chance to develop a front-to-end transaction cycle knowledge, which is hardly offered in big banks.

· Faster decisions. Large global banks are strictly controlled by international regulations, especially so after the financial crisis. Sometimes deals are lost to competitors because rounds of internal approvals are required before they can be proposed to the client. On the other hand, local buy-side firms have a flatter organisation chart, and are therefore quicker and more efficient at making decisions.

·Growth opportunities. If you join a firm when it is first set up and you grow with it, participating in its strategic milestones, it will be a rewarding experience. Many Chinese buy-side firms were founded by the top managers of leading global banks. Learning from these people will definitely help your career.

· Close working relationships. Due to the small size of most local buy-side firms, different teams working on the same deal are often able to sit next to each other. Working closely can avoid communication breakdowns and create efficiency.

And here are some of the cons

· Local focus. These firms provide less international exposure than the large banks. Opportunities such as global projects and mobility are not offered.

· Training opportunities. Small firms have small HR budgets and usually only provide on-the-job training. Managers expect quick learning and adaptability. Do don't go to the buy side if you're after workshops, multi-media courses, and associate programmes where employees can expand their networks.

·Admin. Because roles are less defined at buy-side firms, a degree of tedious work, such as documentation, is pushed between teams.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of eFinancialCareers. The author works for a financial institution in Asia.

AUTHORThe Returnee Insider Comment
  • Fe
    14 March 2011

    Stable career, buyside people don't flip so often, investors want the same bunch of folks who they talk to manage their investments years down the road. Of course, many chinese buyside firms have yet to lower their staff turnover ratio, and chinese management should do both: train their clients to take a longer investment horizon, not day-trading with your clients, and they should be more tolerant towards near-term unfavourable performance.

    There is no standard industry exam for chinese buyside, CFA charter has over 60yrs of history, and it is widely accepted in the US & the rest of the world. Chinese firms should be more official in taking CFA or other professional standard [ie. CPA] in hiring and training. In China, buyside staff hiring is not professionally done.

  • Wi
    11 March 2011

    So true.

Apply for jobs

Find thousands of jobs in financial services and technology by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Latest Jobs
Temasek International Pte Ltd
Associate, Investment (Shanghai) (9124)
Temasek International Pte Ltd
Shanghai, China
Morgan McKinley
Market Analyst
Morgan McKinley
Shanghai, China
Morgan McKinley
Head of Internal Control
Morgan McKinley
Shanghai, China
Morgan McKinley
Head of Internal Audit
Morgan McKinley
Shanghai, China
Morgan McKinley
Finance BP
Morgan McKinley
Shanghai, China