Should I Become an Investment Manager?
Investment managers, a specific type of financial manager, oversee the sale, purchase, and administration of securities and assets for investors. Their clients may be institutions or private investors. They work closely with other types of financial managers as well as stock brokers in order to maximize the profits and minimize losses for their clients' portfolios. All investments come with a measure of risk and not all are returned on with profit.
This job can be highly lucrative, but very stressful. Financial managers often supervise the spending of their clients' funds in addition to working to maximize the return on their investments. Most investments managers work full-time, primarily during regular business hours, although long hours are common.
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|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree (usually required); advanced degree often recommended|
|Degree Field||Finance, business administration, accounting, economics|
|Licensure/Certification||Some areas in the industry require licensure; the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) administers licensure exams, and the CFA Institute and the Association for Financial Professionals offer certifications.|
|Experience||Prior experience is highly beneficial; some firms offer on the job training|
|Key Skills||Proficient in management and administration; strong mathematical, financial, accounting and analytical skills; familiarity with computer software programs involving accounting, databases, spreadsheets and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions|
|Salary (2014)||$115,320 per year (Median salary for all financial managers)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O NET Online.
Step 1: Gain a Bachelor's Degree
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, investment managers, also commonly known as financial managers or asset managers, most often hold at minimum a bachelor's degree. The degree is most likely held in:
- Business administration
Experience within the field is equally as important as formal education. Firms and banks often promote from within as wells as advance employees who complete formal management programs within the company. Consequently, much of the training for these positions will be gained on the job.
Step 2: Obtain Licensure and Qualifications
Depending on the particular area an investment manager is working, it may be necessary to be licensed. For example, if the manager is working in the accounting department, they will most likely need to be a certified public accountant (CPA). The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) (www.sec.gov) requires anyone who sells securities to pass the Series 7 Exam. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FRINRA) administers the examination.
To further their skills, and demonstrate their knowledge, managers and those seeking to enter the profession can also complete certificate programs. The CFA Institute (www.cfainstitute.org/) offers the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. The Association for Financial Professionals (www.AFPonline.org) offers the Certified Treasury Professional credential.
Step 3: Continue Education
Due to the constantly changing regulations and complexity of financial instruments, continuing education in the form of an advanced degree, conferences or professional programs is needed to stay competitive in the field and pursue career advancement.