Historically, starting a career in finance used to mean heading straight into an investment bank from University.
Thanks to tougher regulations, lower power and the technological evolution of the financial services industry, however, there are now a wider range of more appealing options available to students and graduates alike. Many of these exist within the asset management industry, which includes a number of different paths to suit multiple goals.
In this article, we will look at these in further detail and ask how you can get started with a career in asset management.
Understand the Industry and Distinct Job Roles
Before you plot a career path, you will need to understand the nature of the industry and the unique job roles available. These can essentially be split into two categories, with the most obvious being the type of strategic investment roles that drive large-scale service providers such as GAM. These individuals are responsible for investing the capital that is managed by the firm in question, with graduates usually starting out as financial analysts whose job is to scrutinise the best products, assets and stock options while working closely with fund managers.
You can also apply for distribution roles within the sector, which covers field such as sales, marketing, client servicing and, most importantly, product development. The latter can translate into a relatively high-paying role, as the the cultivation of appealing and profitable products is central to any successful asset management firm.
What Skills Do You Need to Work in the Sector?
While financial regulations continue to change and evolve (forcing employees to constantly upgrade their skill-sets), the same core qualifications are always required.
You will need a bachelor’s degree in finance to work in the asset management sector, for example, which accountancy and analytical accreditations are also useful. You can pursue a masters’ degree if you truly want to set yourself apart, but this is arguably not as important as seeking out work experience to hone your skills.
You should definitely keep your eyes peeled for additional accreditations too, while continually studying laws and legislation to ensure that your skills remain relevant.
Look for Voluntary or Apprenticeship Opportunities
On the subject of work experience, you may need to think outside of the box as you look to translate theoretical knowledge into practical experience.
One way in which you can achieve this is to seek out voluntary work opportunities while you are completing your studies. This represents a significant time commitment, but it is an excellent way of showcasing your desire to work and gaining a genuine insight into your chosen industry.
You could also look for an apprenticeship or internship, which will entry-level work opportunities alongside further education. This may restrict your earning potential in the short-term, but it could lead to considerable gains over time.