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  1. Financial Careers: Introduction
  2. Financial Careers: Qualifications and Credentials
  3. Financial Careers: Finance Employers
  4. Financial Careers: Investment Banking Jobs
  5. Financial Careers: Trading Jobs
  6. Financial Careers: Financial Advisory Jobs
  7. Financial Careers: Analytical Jobs
  8. Financial Careers: Financial Media Jobs
  9. Financial Careers: Analyst Jobs
  10. Financial Careers: Portfolio Management Jobs
  11. Financial Careers: Conclusion

Finally, we’ll take a look at portfolio management jobs. One reason that we’ve saved these for last is that they are many of the most prestigious roles in the entire finance industry. Portfolio managers directly oversee institutional and retail client portfolios in their daily work, providing them a tremendous amount of power, as well as a deep responsibility. Portfolio managers follow the markets for trends, make investment decisions for their teams, and may even meet with clients to help craft strategies and plans, or to update them on how their portfolios are performing.

Where the Jobs Are

Most money management firms and hedge funds have portfolio managers, as do “real money” institutions like sovereign wealth and pension funds. The money management branch of a large bank is also liable to have portfolio managers on staff. Because many of these firms are located in financial capitals like New York and London, portfolio manager jobs are often found in these cities. However, they may also be available in many other locations. Kansas City, Denver, Greenwich, Los Angeles, and other cities are home to sizable money management firms and hedge funds, each of which employs portfolio managers.

How to Get a Portfolio Manager Job

It’s incredibly uncommon for an individual to begin as a portfolio manager. Rather, most start in a different position and gradually work their way towards portfolio manager. After earning a four-year college degree, as well as a graduate degree, many potential money managers also attain CFA designation. A common career path is to begin as an investment analyst to learn about analyzing securities. Successful analysts may then move to roles as portfolio manager. Typically, a portfolio manager position is a “destination” role that does not lead anywhere else. Thus, rather than continue to climb a career ladder, portfolio managers may manage increasing amounts of money, or they may leave to start their own firm or hedge fund.

Portfolio Manager Jobs

Portfolio managers maintain ultimate responsibility for all aspects of portfolio construction and maintenance. There is, of course, an immense amount of pressure on the portfolio manager to make sure that client money is treated well, and that the relationship with the client is maintained. In some companies, a portfolio manager may be responsible for multiple accounts, for which different clients have unique styles, holdings, and strategies. The alternative is “pooled” accounts, such as mutual or hedge funds, where the assets of a number of clients are aggregated and then managed all together. Portfolio manager jobs include differing degrees of contact with clients, with some managers directly liaising with major clients, and others rarely contacting clients at all. Individuals considering portfolio manager positions should keep in mind whether or not they would be successful in a client-facing position.

It’s common for portfolio managers to specialize in particular asset classes, such as equities or fixed income. Some managers are more focused still. A manager may be a specialist in certain types of stocks, or blockchain-related startups, or high-yield bonds. Focused funds employing these specialized managers may seek individuals with research analytic backgrounds. Others include broader mandates, such as a multi-asset class strategy, and these firms often look for managers with a similarly wide base of investment knowledge and background.

Portfolio managers tend to work very long hours, and they maintain a huge amount of pressure. Portfolio managers tend to draw direct comparison with one another; if you can’t stand the idea of constantly being held up against your peers in order to gain (and retain) client business, portfolio manager is probably not the path for you. Besides that, a portfolio manager’s continued employment is usually dependent upon their performance; underperform for too long, and the manager is likely to be fired.

Summary

Portfolio managers are among the most prestigious workers in the financial industry, but along with the client respect and reputation comes pressure to perform as well as or better than peers at every stage. Successful portfolio managers earn massive salaries and huge bonuses, but those who struggle typically do not maintain their positions for long. (Learn more in Preparing For A Career As A Portfolio Manager.)

 


Financial Careers: Conclusion
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