As an investment manager, you will help your clients, usually businesses, corporations and other organizations, to invest their money wisely. Investment managers normally work for large investment management and asset management corporations. You will be making major decisions about how the assets of the client company will be used to make the best profits.
Investment managers often purchase stocks, bonds, mutual funds, US Treasuries and other investments, even real estate, to serve their clients’ financial interests.
Most investment managers operate in a client-focused role. This means that most of your time will be spent meeting and working with clients and going to meetings. Before you make decisions for your clients’ investment portfolios, you also will need to conduct extensive financial data research about current investments.
What Is Investment Management?
Investment management and analysis offers detailed guidance to businesses and other organizations that need to make regular investment decisions for the best financial gain in the short, medium and/or long term. Investment management involves assessing the financial performance of stocks, bonds and other investment types. Investment management and analysis usually requires these types of duties:
- Recommend individual stocks, bonds and mutual funds to the organization for their portfolio
- Perform an analysis of historical and current financial data
- Study business and economic trends that are relevant to the organization so that good investment recommendations can be made
- Meet with officials at the company to obtain better insight into the financial investment prospects of the organization
- Write written reports that provide assessments and recommendations for investment
It is common for investment managers and analysts to work as both buy side and sell side professionals. Buy side analysts usually develop investment strategies for organizations with a lot of capital to invest. Some also may work as sell side analysts who sell investment products to consumers.
There is significant demand for investment managers and financial analysts in the US today. The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS states that this field will experience 11% growth from 2016-26, which is faster than average. This demand is being caused by a large and growing range of financial products, as well as a greater need for a deeper knowledge of certain geographic areas of the world pertaining to financial investments.
Demand for investment managers and financial analysts also is caused by a stronger economy; financial analysts are needed more today to provide expert evaluations of investment opportunities. Also, there are many emerging markets around the globe that provide companies with new, attractive investment opportunities. Investment managers are needed with expertise in those markets to provide good recommendations.
Median pay in the field is above average at $81,700 as of May 2016.
According to BLS, there will be approximately 750,000 new jobs added from 2016 to 2026 in the business and financial occupations. This includes investment management-related positions, such as financial analysts, financial examiners and personal financial advisors, among others. For financial analysts, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 296,000 jobs in 2016 with the largest industries including these:
- Securities, commodity contracts and other financial investments: 24%
- Professional, technical and scientific services: 14%
- Credit intermediation and other related activities: 13%
- Company and enterprise management: 12%
- Insurance carriers: 7%
Government statistics state that the median wage for all financial analysts, which is similar to investment managers, was $81,700 in 2016, with the top 10% earning more than $165,000 per year. The salaries in this field will vary based upon the industry in which you work:
- Securities and other types of financial investments: $96,000
- Professional, scientific and technical services: $83,600
- Company and enterprise management: $80,300
- Credit intermediation: $77,200
- Insurance carriers: $74,600
Some of the best cities for salaries in investment management and finance include:
- Boston MA
- Chicago IL
- New York NY
- San Francisco
However, there also are other less expensive cities to live in that also are attractive for people in the finance and investment fields. The salaries in these areas are not as high, but the cost of living is much lower than the biggest US cities.
- El Paso TX
- Bakersfield CA
- Clarksville TN
- Ann Arbor MI
- Bloomington IL
If you are interested in a career in investment management and/or financial analysis, consider working for some of these large investment management companies:
- Vanguard Group
- Pacific Investment Management
- Capital Research and Management
- JP Morgan Asset Management
- FMR Company
- Wellington Management
- Rowe Price
- Northern Trust Investments
- Fidelity Investments
- Prudential Investment Management
Those who are interested in investment management and financial management may consider earning a bachelor’s degree in financing, banking and investment or in investment management. Others may opt to earn a more general degree in statistics, mathematics, finance, accounting or economics.
For the more experienced professional, a good option to work in financial and investment management is to earn a Master of Science in Finance and Risk Management with a focus on investment management. Depending upon the university you attend, you may take these types of courses:
- Financial Reporting
- Financial Modeling
- Corporate Valuation
- Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management
- Quantitative Methods in Finance
- Money and Capital Markets
- Corporate Finance
Another option to consider is to get a master of business administration with a focus on finance or investment management.
A very good option for experienced business professionals who work full time is an online bachelor’s or master’s degree in finance or a related field. An online MBA with a concentration in finance or investment analysis or management may be suitable as well.
An MBA with a focus on investment management features these types of courses:
- Capital Markets and Investment Planning
- Financial Forecasting and Behavioral Finance
- Investment Statistics
- Communication for Finance Professionals
- Marketing Management
- Management of Information Systems
- Managerial Economics
- Management of the Supply Chain
- Managerial Accounting and Budgeting
- Managerial Finance
To be admitted into most master of finance or MBA programs, these are common requirements below. Be sure to check with your individual program and university to learn what the specific requirements are for admission:
- Official transcripts
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Updated resume
- Personal interview
- Courses in economics, finance, accounting may be required as background
- GMAT or GRE may be required
For master’s programs in finance and related fields, there are various types of specializations available. At the University of Denver, the Master of Science in Finance and Risk Management in Investment Management offers these concentrations:
- Commodities Risk Management: For the student who wants a career in investments, trading, assets and derivatives.
- Economics: This specialization is intended for those who wish a broader perspective in economics and finance.
- Financial Analysis and Management: Intended for professionals in financial analysis, financial management, corporate restructuring, investment banking and private equity.
- Risk Management and Insurance: Designed for those professionals who want to work in the insurance industry and investment management.
Earning a degree in finance, investment management or a related field is costly, but it is worth it in the end because of the many employment opportunities it affords. Below are some excellent grants and scholarships that are available in investment management, finance and related fields:
- Citigroup Fellows Program: This scholarship is offered by the United Negro College Fund. It is intended for students who are studying investment analysis, finance, economics, accounting, IS, banking, business or management. This is a $6400 scholarship.
- Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting Scholarship: This is for Latino students who must be studying accounting, business, economics, finance or a related field. The scholarship can be from $1500 to $10,000.
- HSF/Verizon Foundation Scholarship: This is a $2500 scholarship that is provided by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. It is intended for students of Hispanic heritage who are getting a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or business.
- UBS/PaineWebber Scholarship: This is an $8000 scholarship that is intended for the student who is studying any business-related discipline, such as economics, finance or accounting.
- Ritchie Jennings Memorial Scholarship: This $1000 to $10,000 scholarship is offered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners for students who are studying business, finance, or accounting.
- Laurel Fund: This is a $5000 scholarship that is offered every year by the Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting. It is for students who intend a career in accounting or a related financial field.
The most successful investment management professionals often have financial certifications that enhance their level of skill:
- Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA)
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
- Financial Modeling Certification
- Certified Credit Professional (CCP)
Financial and investment-related associations to consider to expand your networking and employment opportunities are:
- Investment Adviser Association
- Investment Program Association
- CFA Institute
- Association for Financial Professionals
- National Investment Banking Association
- National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
A career in investment management and finance is a strong choice for your future. Job growth in this area is strong, and it promises to get even more robust in the years to come as more financial and investment options are made available.
- Financial Analysts. (2015, Dec. 18). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm
- Investment Manager Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.vault.com/blog/in-the-black-vaults-finance-careers-blog/investment-management-overview
- University of Houston Downtown. MBA in Investment Management. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/15/cnbc-ranks-the-top-50-money-management-firms-of-2015.html
- CNBC Ranks the Top 50 Money Management Firms of 2015. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/15/cnbc-ranks-the-top-50-money-management-firms-of-2015.html