Difference Between Investment Management & Wealth Management

Jan 18, 2018

Investment managers and wealth managers both assist clients with financial investment; however, their service offerings differ. This article will cover the salaries, job duties, and outlooks for these professions.

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Comparing Investment Managers to Wealth Managers

A career as an investment manager or wealth manager may appeal to individuals with strong analytical and interpersonal skills. Although both careers deal with finances, they offer clients different levels of service and products. An investment manager offers clients particular financial products, while a wealth manager focuses more on clients' overall financial health, including long-term goals. The key similarities and differences between the two careers are highlighted below.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2018) Job Growth (2016-2026)***
Investment Manager Bachelor's degree $93,273* 14% (Personal Financial Advisors)
Wealth Manager Bachelor's degree $78,292 (Wealth Management Specialist)** 14% (Personal Financial Advisors)

Sources: *, **, ***U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Investment Managers vs. Wealth Managers

Investment managers and wealth managers both specialize in helping clients with financial management. While an investment manager works with various financial products, all of these offerings are investment-focused. In contrast, a wealth manager does not offer product selection based on performance; instead, these managers consider clients' personal goals and current finances when recommending products.

Investment Manager

An investment manager assists individual or organizational clients in creating a financial portfolio, which involves purchasing and selling various investments. These managers deal with assets and securities, including real estate holdings and bonds. When offering a product, an investment manager will focus on the product's advantages. Investment managers usually work for financial services firms or financial institutions. They will need a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or a related discipline, with some employers preferring a master's degree. Relevant certifications for investment managers include a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Enrolled Agent, and FINRA Series 7.

Job responsibilities of an investment manager include:

  • Overseeing the development and execution of new products
  • Collaborating with sales personnel to create sales programs for products
  • Monitoring market trends and providing recommendations on new products to add to an organization's portfolio
  • Displaying a strong understanding of product offerings and an ability to effectively manage risk

Wealth Manager

A wealth manager, also known as a financial advisor or consultant, assists clients with more than just portfolio management. Wealth managers focus on the overall financial picture for clients, including accounting, tax services, and retirement planning. These managers can work for small organizations or serve as part of a wealth management team for a larger organization. This career requires a bachelor's degree in finance, business, or a related discipline, with some employers preferring a master's in business administration. Relevant certifications for this career include Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Job responsibilities of a wealth manager include:

  • Meeting with clients to assess their financial situation and long- and short-term goals
  • Developing a wealth management plan tailored to meet clients' needs and manage risk
  • Maintaining continued contact with clients to reassess their needs and adjusting plans accordingly
  • Providing clients with guidance on ways to maximize their earnings

Related Careers

Individuals interested in becoming an investment manager could consider working as insurance sales agents, as both careers involve offering a variety of products and assisting clients in selecting one. A career as a financial manager may appeal to those interested in wealth management, since both involve long-term planning for clients.

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