Analysts vs. associates

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Ever-expanding workloads are upsetting the delicate equilibrium of analyst/associate relations.

Logan Naidu, a consultant at recruitment firm Cornell Partnership, says higher volumes of work are rocking the analyst and associate boat: "There's more stress, they get more tense, and it's easier to get ratty with each other."

One associate (and former analyst) at a major European investment bank says associates who behave with Ted Bundy-like compassion are the main reason analysts quit: "The culture in investment banks is that the crap starts at the top and is thrown downwards. Analysts are treated badly by associates; associates are treated badly by VPs. One of the main things that drives associates is that they're trying to get their own back."

An email brouhaha offers a window onto the dirt-slinging. An analyst at an anonymous bank lays in to his associate for asking him to compile a working group list (used to disseminate information on parties involved in deals) at short notice late in the day - "I was here all night, you know that, and I am curious as to why you are passing this off to me. I am aware that it takes 5 minutes to do, but you should know there is a difference between 'pushing back' and wondering why (for the 2nd time this week) you are giving me in particular a WGL. I thought that's what staffing is for."

Our contact suggests that part of the problem is simply that associates - many of whom are fresh from business school - know less about banking than analysts and this tends to grate.

But another analyst-turned associate, in IBD at a bulge-bracket US house (who really therefore ought to know about analyst angst), says problems only arise when either analysts or associates don't measure up: "At the end of the day, the associate's role is to delegate, and most good analysts can take the pace. If you have a good team you never have an issue of analysts feeling overburdened - everyone knows their limits."

If you can't stand the heat, you know what to do with yourself (retire early and become an accountant).

ยท Read the email exchange here