Also known as fund or asset management, investment management is about handling clients’ finances with the aim to reach specific goals. Those who work in this field monitor the financial markets to make the most out of their clients’ portfolios by investing in a variety of potential profit- making securities and asset classes.
Investment managers work closely with investment analysts, and often depend on their plans, advice, information and data to deal with clients’ portfolios, carrying out transactions according to the findings. Successful investment managers typically combine initiative, research and foresight to make the right choices with their clients’ monies.
Most graduates enter through graduate programmes and start off as investment analysts. Entry-level duties include analysing data from the market, preparing reports, contributing to portfolio decisions and presenting findings to company management.
Investment managers typically have more client-facing responsibilities, and travel to gain a better comprehension of sectors and products. As earning potential is typically proportional to the success of investment options, managers tend to remain hands-on to avoid becoming too distant, and keep abreast of the latest market trends.
Possessing a finance-related degree is advantageous, but not essential. Rather, having enthusiasm and the ability to comprehend the workings of the financial market are more valued. To that end, internships with investment management companies can help hopefuls assess their suitability for the field.
Most firms, especially international ones, encourage newcomers to sit for professional papers such as the IMC, the CFA, or even the CPA paper. Local companies may also want successful applicants to take the Capital Markets and Financial Advisory Services (CMFAS) paper.
Cultivating an open mind and a tolerance for uncertainty will enable graduates to deal with ambiguity daily. Staying a step ahead of competition through thorough research is also imperative. In addition, there’ll be times new hires will need to be able to take a firm stance despite differing opinions among senior colleagues or clients. Good communication skills, tact and confidence will aid in getting points across successfully.
Pros & cons
There are numerous opportunities to learn from experienced investors and to be exposed to the inner workings of various sectors. However, be aware that late hours are common in this line of work due to the sheer amount of research necessary, especially at the start.
Even in financially uncertain times, career prospects for investment managers can remain largely positive since expert advice are valued by concerned investors. However, market volatility often calls for managers to weigh the situation and come up with contingency plans if needed.