How hard is it to get into banking/asset management as a newly qualified ACA grad from a non Big 4 firm?


Is it possible to get a product control role in IB without going from big 4 into it?

is there anyway into AM with an ACA from a non big 4 firm, be it top 10/top 15/top 20?


Hi there,

To take your two questions separately:

Asset Management or similar role:
I myself am a qualified ACA who at one point was considering the IB/ AM or Private Equity route. I went to a variety of interviews for all of the above and to be truthful, it is not very easy at all.

Your main issue (Big 4 or otherwise) is securing an interview given your experience as a newly qualified accountant. But even if you manage secure an interview there is a lot of push back (which you should know how to answer), namely:

  • Why should I choose you over an IB grad?
  • Do you truly understand what is required? – arguably the skill sets are very different from assurance or whatever you were doing within the professional services firm.

It is possible of course! But I’d wager your chances are fairly low for a direct move, especially not being from a Big4.

Your best bet, and the route most people go down here is to pursue a stepping stone role. The most appropriate one will depend on what you want to do. I worked within Corporate Finance within a Big4 and then it becomes much easier to continue in to private equity/ asset management. But other options are equity research analyst or any other more commercial role. The issue with being a newly qualified ACA is that you don’t have much commercial experience.

Have you considered doing the CFA? It is not a requirement for every role but a lot of people use this to bolster their CVs and if you choose the right stepping stone role they may pay for you to do it!

Product Control Role in an IB:
This is much more achievable as a direct move if you want it. Lots of newly qualified ACAs (from all top accountancy firms) move in to product control roles as your skills are pretty much directly leverageable. Strong experience within audit of an IB and first time passes will really help here!

In summary:
My main advice would be to decide where you want to end up. Product control and asset management are really quite different! Once you decide where you want to be in the long term, you can work backwards and figure out what you need to get there.
I found that working in a commercial role for a year really helped me understand where I wanted to be and so give yourself that chance if you are unsure!

Good luck and I hope this helps :slight_smile: