Morgan Stanley associate demonstrates optimal method of moving to private equity

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Analysts and associates in investment banks like to move into private equity (PE) jobs. However, as we are never slow to point out, doing so is hard. - Private equity funds are small compared to investment banks, and the number of junior investment bankers who'd like to work for them far exceeds the opportunities they have available.

In this context, the career path of Aleix Sumpsi, a former Morgan Stanley associate who just joined the small London-based private equity firm Agilitas, looks inspired. 

Agilitas is small. It only has eight registered employees according to the Financial Conduct Authority, and it hasn't hired a new registered employee since March 2014 (Sumpsi is either unregistered, or yet to be registered) - so getting in is hard. More importantly, if you're trying to get in from banking, Agilitas' website indicates that most of its employees have a consulting background: only two come from banking.

How, therefore, does a dyed-in-the wool investment banking junior from Morgan Stanley move across to a firm like Agilitas? Three words: financial sponsors group.

Financial sponsors groups in investment banks work with private equity firms to buy and sell assets. If you're in a financial sponsors group, you'll therefore have preferential access to top private equity funds - which might hire you.

Sumpsi started out in Morgan Stanley's Spanish coverage team. From there, he moved to European transportation and infrastructure. From there, he moved to financial sponsors. Did he come into contact with Agilitas as a client? - He didn't respond to our request to find out.

If you're an analyst or associate in an investment bank who aspires to move into PE, you could always adopt Sumpsi as your role model. - Although Logan Naidu, CEO of recruitment firm Dartmouth Partners, stresses that simply being in a financial sponsors group is unlikely to get you a job in private equity on its own: "It's more about how many deals you've done. At the junior end, private equity funds want people with excellent modelling skills and strong transaction experience."


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