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Is Being an Investment Manager a Good Career Option?

By: Kaplan Schweser
October 7, 2021
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If you would like to help others discover the best ways to get substantial returns on their investments, are intrigued by analyzing risk, or are interested in helping businesses buy other businesses, consider a career in investment management. Contrary to popular film and fiction, this career does not limit you to pin-striped suits and high-pressure deals on the floor of a noisy, crammed trading room. You have plenty of opportunities to avoid stock exchanges (unless that’s where you want to be). 

How to Become an Investment Manager

Investment managers provide advice and direction to their clients so they meet their goals and get returns on their financial assets. If you want to become an investment manager, you’ll most likely need a fair amount of education, experience, and dedication.

What Education Do You Need to Become an Investment Manager?

You will need a bachelor’s degree in a field such as financial management or economics to start off.  To help get you closer to obtaining the Investment Manager job title, popular options include:

What Skills Do You Need to Become an Investment Manager?

You will need to be able to cope with stress and thrive in a competitive work environment to become an investment manager.  It is expected that you are passionate about the field and the needs of your clients.  You will succeed if you are goal-oriented, enjoy mathematics, are proficient in data analysis, and love to solve problems.

Should You Become an Investment Manager?

Here are 7 reasons why being an investment manager is a good career option to pursue:

Investment Managers Have Lots of  Career Options

There are many jobs available to investment managers. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates there are over 650,00 financial manager jobs in the US in 2020.  jobs in banks, brokerage firms, credit unions, and insurance companies. You can be a financial analyst, fund manager, portfolio manager, risk manager, hedge fund manager, alternative investment analyst, stockbroker, risk analyst, ratings analyst, private equity associate, and more. You can choose to manage the investments of individuals or businesses. With the right education and knowledge, there is also the opportunity to join well-known financial institutions like Vanguard, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, HSBC, and Merrill Lynch, just to name a few. There are also ways you can work for yourself if you’re dedicated, realistic, and have enough experience with a finance employer first.

Investment Management Is Fascinating

Investment managers give people and companies advice on what to do with their money. This involves a kind of detective work that will be different each time you do it as you match investments with your clients. One day you might be helping a fashion designer, and the next day, it’s a company that built an app to help disaster victims find relief and shelter. Every day is different. And, since investments can be affected by global events, extreme weather, and unpredictable things like human emotions, there is no time to be bored. You have to keep coming up with new and different investment strategies and ways to direct funds on behalf of clients.

Investment Management Can Be a Lucrative Career

The investment management profession offers some of the highest starting salaries in finance. For those who are talented and ambitious, there’s also a great deal of room for that salary to grow quickly. In the United States, Glassdoor reports that the annual salaries for investment managers range from $51,000 to just under $172,000. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) puts investment managers in both the financial analyst and financial manager categories and reports that the median annual salary was between $83,664 and $134,180 for both positions in 2020.

The Investment Manager Job Outlook Is Bright

With so many different financial products and a growing need for people with in-depth knowledge of geographic regions, it’s no surprise that most industry analysts expect strong employment growth in the investment management field midway into the next decade. According to the BLS, employment in investment management is expected to grow 17 percent from 2020 to 2030. This job's outlook is much brighter than the average for all occupations, especially if you happen to be tech-savvy. The competition will be fierce, but with the right education, you should be able to land a good entry-level investment position.

Investment Managers  Don’t Have to Spend Years in Additional Schooling

Are you in the process of earning, or do you already have, a bachelor of science (BS) in business administration, a BS in finance, or a related degree? If so, we have good news. Any of these degrees are all you need to get started in an investment management career. Also, earning a voluntary certification or charter such as the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) charter, the Chartered Alternative Investment AnalystSM (CAIA®) charter, or the Financial Risk Manager (FRM®) designation is a great way to augment your degree without going to graduate school.

If you’re curious about the differences between these designations, you can learn more in these articles about the CFA charter vs. the CAIA charter, the CAIA charter vs. FRM certification, and the FRM certification vs. the CFA charter.

Considering the CFA® charter? Download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam eBook.

Investment Managers Can Be Creative and Innovative 

There’s a tendency to think that anyone who chooses to invest for individuals or businesses as a living is a numbers-cruncher. Numbers are involved, but your main focus is investment portfolios, not equations and calculations. These portfolios should be as diverse as possible—comprising lots of different businesses, projects, and sectors. Moreover, as we mentioned in reason #2, you have to tailor these portfolios to the needs, passions, and beliefs of your clients. In other words, investment management offers you remarkably rewarding opportunities to develop and innovate, delivering solutions that make a true difference in individuals’ lives or in the way business and capital move forward.

Investment Management Is Satisfying

A great deal of what investment managers do involves solving problems. With each resolution and discovery, there’s satisfaction. Think of how it would feel to know that you recommended something that made money for one of your clients. Not only is there the knowledge that they benefited from your decision, but there’s the joy of knowing that after a lot of research and detective work, you picked a winner. Now imagine how it would feel to do that consistently over time. Of course, you won’t get it right every time. But even then, being wrong in investment management brings experience and expertise. If you think about it, that’s another type of satisfaction—having learned a lesson well.

Are you ready to learn more about this fascinating and satisfying career? If you think that a career in investment management is right for you, check out these resources that can help you get started.

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