Building a career in the investment world usually calls for a lot of hard work and determination. The investment industry is dynamic and ever changing. It needs individuals who do not mind putting in long working hours. A career in the investment world can be challenging, rewarding and fulfilling in spite of lengthy working shifts.
Before exploring the different careers available in this field it is important to have an idea of what investment entails. Investing pertains to the proactive use of money to make it grow and yield profit in the process. It may involve the purchasing of certain financial products (eg, bonds or stocks) with the expectation of making favorable future returns from them.
Professionals working in this field usually hold jobs in different government institutions, banks, investment firms, and insurance firms as well as in various specialised asset management companies. In carrying out their daily tasks they usually deal with individuals and companies.
Possible investment careers
In the world of investment there are different careers to choose from. Among the roles are as follows:
Research analysts are hired by an investment management firm primarily to perform fundamental investment research and valuation. Research analyst positions include investment research assistants, research associates and senior research analysts.
These analysts mainly look into stocks and bonds from different companies. They focus mainly on their growth potential and future outlook. Their duties include analysing and systematically compiling reports on economic data and market trends. They also meet with different company managers in order to learn the intricacies of that particular company or industry. The pieces of information they gather are helpful in providing the necessary investment recommendations to their respective investment managers.
Investment management involves the systematic handling of clients’ money by investing it in various bonds or equities. Investment managers (also known as fund, asset or portfolio managers) are mainly responsible for offering sound investment options to their clients. They are in charge of steering the investment strategies of their various firms and they rely heavily on the information they receive from investment research analysts. This sector may also involve managing a client’s real estate assets.
Assistant and associate portfolio managers work under the portfolio managers and are responsible for screening and filtering possible investment options.
The role of an investment banker is more hectic and demanding than that of an investment manager. They usually assist businesses and even governments to sell their stock to members of the public or float shares in the stock market. They are also concerned with arranging mergers or takeovers between businesses and helping businesses to invest their surplus cash. They may pass information on the availability of new bonds or stocks to investment managers.
Client account managers.
Client account managers are also referred to as marketing and sales managers in some firms. These individuals are involved in maintaining sound and fruitful client relationships. They communicate with current clients and provide presentations and reports about ongoing investments. They are also responsible in identifying and attracting new clients by selling the investment products offered by their companies. Although they are not directly involved in the actual investment process they are invaluable members of the investment world.
Career path and skills
A career in the investment field requires one to have a good grasp of numbers but it should be pointed out that a mathematics degree is not necessary. However a finance degree would be an additional advantage for those who are interested in such careers.
It is very difficult for recent graduates to break straight into investment management. Most of the fresh graduates launch their careers as investment research analysts. Graduates who intend to work in investment should keep their eyes out for graduate recruitment schemes run by various banks and investment management companies. These companies are often actively involved in recruiting talented graduates from universities who can help drive their businesses forward. Graduates should also strive to apply for internships in big investment companies in order to gain valuable work experience.
Careers in investment are best suited for individuals with an unlimited intellectual curiosity coupled with love for numbers. Such individuals should also have the ability to grasp and learn new concepts quickly. Additionally they should possess a number of soft skills such as negotiation, communication, interpersonal and leadership skills. These will come in handy when dealing with various clients.
Graduates who aim to build careers in investment should be prepared to put in intense work and long hours in order to earn the hefty salaries available in this field. The nature of the work is often unpredictable and demanding. To top it all, the investment environment is fast paced and exciting. The different investment careers provide plenty of opportunity for career progression with good salary prospects for those who are truly determined.