There is a huge demand of resources in the space of asset management jobs, and therefore, today in this article I am going to tell you all you need to know in order to start a career in asset management.
But...let us first get a hang of what asset management really is.
As an investor, all your time and efforts go in figuring out how to make more money out of your existing money.
At the core of every finance profile, your objective is again the same.
Whether it is a person’s money or a company’s money – as an asset manager your job is to invest that money in such a way that it gets accumulated more with minimum risk of losing that money.
And, as you earn more money, you come across more avenues of investing it.
As a rich man, or a rich company you wouldn't have the time to do it all yourself, and that is where asset managers come into picture.
Asset managers are professionals with expertise in diversifying their clients’ portfolio and earning more money for them.
Asset Management: Overview
Asset management firms administer the investment money of their clients in order to achieve a financial objective within specific guidelines of the investment pool.
It can be in the form of various financial manuscripts like pension funds, retirement funds, hedge funds or simple mutual funds.
It can be done using various financial vehicles like derivatives, options, futures, equity scrips of securities.
Asset managers, depending on the clients’ objectives and risk appetite, would manage the funds and ensure that the financial goals are achieved.
Asset Management: Skills and Talents
To be able to work in an asset management company, you need to possess a certain set of skills and qualifications in order to be successful.
Following is the list of skills that would be required to get an entry into an asset management firm:
1. Finance degree
This is the first and foremost requirement of any asset management firm.
You need to have a proper graduate or post graduate degree in finance to start a career as an asset manager.
Preferably the big companies would want specialized courses like CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) for key positions and even MBA (Master of Business Administration) specialized in finance.
It is not mandatory to have such degrees for starting a career in asset management firms, but if you don’t have these degrees you will really have to work your way up to succeed.
2. Quantitative and analytical skills
Number crunching is at the core of any finance job, and asset management is no different.
You need to be well versed with tools like SPSS and MicroSoft Excel because, you like it or not, you will be surrounded by spreadsheets and workbooks in your job as an asset manager.
You need to be comfortable with using these tools in order to do your analysis.
Financial modeling is another aspect in addition to statistical modelling and forecasting that you need to be aware of.
If you did not study them in your graduation or post graduation, it would be a good idea to take up a specialized course before applying for a job.
3. Managerial and communication skills
As you will move up the hierarchy in an asset management firm, you will be in charge of your own team for doing a job, and therefore you need to know how to manage your resources.
You would also be involved in front end or client facing activities as a manager, therefore interpersonal and communication skills become extremely important for better performance.
Also, in this position you would be required to take a lot of decisions that would result in big time money making or even loss.
You need to be able to make fast decisions and own up the responsibility for it at a later stage.
Please remember, time is very crucial in decision making as they famously say that time is money. If you lose time in making the right decision, you lose money – and that is not something that you would want to do as an asset manager.
Asset Management: Job Options, Description and Salary
1. Buy side research analyst
It is an inbound profile with very less interaction with the clients.
Analysts in this role conduct financial and equity research in a team (team size may vary from 2-3 analysts to up to 15 analysts) for their fund manager.
Their primary responsibility is to collect data on a particular company or an industry and analyse its financial strength.
They are required to make reports and present their opinions on buy, sell or hold decisions of a particular script or stock.
In addition to this, they are expected to make recommendations to their managers on diversifying the portfolios depending on their research.
Usually the minimum pay in this profile is about USD 150,000 and can go as high as USD 1 million in a Wall Street firm.
2. Sell side research analyst
The kind of work these sell side research analysts do is quite similar to the buy side research analysts with a small yet significant difference.
Sell side analysts usually cater to the external clients as against internal clients in case of buy side analysts.
The profile is more outward and requires analysts to travel extensively and interact a lot with the outer world.
Whether it is client presentations or media interaction, sell side research analysts have to be good in communication skills and presentation skills.
They are required to make recommendations on investing their clients’ money in a particular company or industry by presenting facts and analysis.
The salaries offered in this profile are similar to that of buy side analysts but the pressure is much more.
3. Portfolio manager
This is a profile wherein you get to call the shots.
Quite literally this is the ultimate profile within asset management domain for an aspirant.
As against making recommendations on which stock to include in your fund, here you really get to create your own fund depending on your own and your team's analysis.
As a portfolio manager you will decide the composition of your fund in terms of which scrips to include and how much.
This is an extremely strategic profile and requires a lot of analytical thinking to arrive at a decision.
You will have to work your way up to be able to work efficiently in this profile.
Also, you need to work closely with your team of analysts to understand the research behind every decision that you make.
Typically after 4-5 years of experience as an analyst should get you in this position.
The compensation offered in this profile is quite handsome and can go up to millions of dollars’ worth of money.
4. Financial advisor
This is more of a business development profile where your primary task is to acquire more business or more clients.
Depending on the requirement of your clients, you would sell a portfolio of investments to your clients.
It can include many funds with different expected dividend.
This is a very senior profile in asset and wealth management domain and requires at least 8-10 years of experience.
The compensation is mostly incentive based and a major part of remuneration comes as a part of commission from the clients.
Firms usually have a base salary which might seem too low but the variable component is very high.
5. Relationship manager
This is a mid level profile wherein you will handle a specific number of clients.
As a relationship manager you are the mediator between your client and your company.
You will be required to be at your clients’ disposal at all times.
Whether it is compliance, processes or even grievance handling, you will be required to do all of that for your set of clients.
You will also be responsible for educating your clients on now products, services and offerings that your company might have and try to expand the current relationship for more business from the same client.
The compensation in this profile varies from USD 100,000 to USD 175,000.
6. Sales manager
In this profile, you will be operational in a particular geography.
In that geography you will be required to generate more business by acquiring new clients.
You will be required to make presentation to the prospective clients and convince them to get in a business relationship with your company.
This profile requires a lot of travelling and networking.
If you are an introvert, this is probably not the right profile for you.
As high as 80% of your time could be spent out of office in this profile.
As you wouldn’t be sitting in office, you will have a support team of your own to do the back end job for you.
This back end job involves identifying prospective clients and scheduling appointments for you.
The compensation in this profile starts from USD 150,000 and can go up to as high as USD 500,000.
Entry Level Asset Management Jobs
1. Fund accountant
This is a pure data-centric job wherein you will be required to deal with ledger books and entering data into spreadsheets.
You will be required to record transactions and calculate net asset value of various funds depending on its opening and closing values.
Any basic degree in accounting should be enough for getting a job in this profile.
2. Junior research analyst
This is usually the most common profile with most of the asset managers start their careers at.
In this profile you would be like an assistant to the research analysts in the company and help them in their day to day activities.
Primary responsibilities include collecting data on a specific company or industry, using both secondary and primary techniques, creating small reports and helping the analysts in their analysis.
This profile gives you immense learning of the industry and exposes to all the facets of asset management.
This is a profile wherein you would be feeding analysts with the macro economic parameters that could impact the funds.
It involves tracking the monetary policies and deriving their impact of specific industries and economy as a whole.
They do not have a direct involvement in the creation of a fund, but the inputs provided by them are very crucial and often aid the decision making of the portfolio managers.
This is a generic profile and is not restricted to asset management.
The avenues for an economist are usually open beyond asset management.
4. Quantitative analysts
This is again a generic profile which is not only restricted to asset management.
Here the analysts are required to create models and tools for analysis.
The quantitative analysts will understand the analysis requirement of the research analysts and develop a model that will help them do their analysis in a smooth fashion.
Typically a quantitative analyst will have working knowledge of computing languages like C and Java, as they will be required to write syntaxes and prepare codes for generating new models.
Asset Management: Facts and Trends
With the advent of the Internet, managing your money has become very convenient and accessible.
There are more investors today than there ever were.
The people are getting aware of financial planning and are investing their money more in non traditional vehicles.
A simple reason is that traditional investments like insurance and government bonds give lesser returns when compared to modern investment vehicles like mutual funds.
In a survey conducted in the USA in 2008, it was noticed that nearly 50% of the people there owned mutual funds, and the number is fast increasing.
With such trend in the investment circle around the world, asset management firms are going to prosper and flourish.
It means that they would need more people to work for them.
And this demand is going to increase in the future as well.
It is an opportune time for you to consider asset management as a lucrative career option.
Hope this asset management jobs guide gave you clarity on jobs in asset management.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to comment below.