Investment managers work in the financial sector, managing equity funds, fixed interest stocks and company shares, currency or property on behalf of clients looking for the best return on their investment. Employers include fund and asset management groups, insurance companies and the investment management divisions of banks.
Also known as
- Fund Manager, Investment
Video: - Amanda: Investment Fund Manager
As an Investment Manager, you will buy, sell and manage equity and fixed income funds, stocks and shares, cash deposits and currencies, or property, on behalf of clients who are looking for the best possible return on their investment, consistent with the risks they are prepared to run.
The investment management industry manages investments for a wide range of clients. These can be divided into 'wholesale' - the bigger institutions and corporates - and 'retail' - private individuals and small businesses and organisations where the level of protection for client assets is higher.
Managing portfolios (collections) of assets, whether for a single pension fund or for a unit trust with thousands of investors, is essentially the same job and, in many firms, one manager could be running a handful of different portfolios of investments for pension funds, unit trusts, charitable foundations and high net worth individuals.
Investment management can either be discretionary (where the client delegates investment decisions to the Manager) or non-discretionary (where the client retains more control over investment decisions).
How you, as an Investment Manager, become responsible for a particular collection of portfolios or clients depends on a few key factors. The firm could have built its reputation in a specific style or segment, or the firm might even be an insurance company, local authority or multinational company with in-house management of part or all of its investments.
Similarly, as an Investment Manager, you will tend to specialise in particular market segments or investment strategies; riskier or more complex approaches might be more suitable for larger clients, while other styles could have much broader appeal.
The work involves developing and implementing effective fund investment policies and strategies. You'll make decisions about what to buy and sell to achieve the best balance for the fund. Often, you will work closely with, and take advice from, Investment Analysts, in order to make those decisions.
You might carry out your own research. This can involve visiting companies, in-depth analysis and other forms of research such as talking to industry specialists.
Some investment management companies running complex investment portfolios might require their senior staff to provide technical training to some of their larger clients. As a Senior Investment Manager you might also have responsibility for client relationship management and new business generation. This is likely to include writing detailed business proposals and could involve giving presentations to potential clients.
You will need to maintain a broad, up-to-date knowledge of the relevant investment markets. There are also likely to be some staff management responsibilities.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become an Investment Manager, you'll need to:
- take decisions calmly and rationally
- understand world business and financial affairs
- be capable of evaluating complex financial information
- understand your clients' requirements
- work as part of a team
- be aware of analytical trends and current activity in the financial markets
- liaise effectively with clients and gain their confidence
Foreign language skills can also be helpful. For many posts, you will need supervisory skills for managing teams of people.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £26,000 - £30,000
- With experience: £33,500 - £40,500
- Senior Investment Managers earn £45,000 - £51,500
Salaries are generally increased by performance-related pay and bonuses. Other benefits could include private health care, gym membership, medical insurance, and life and pension cover.
Hours of work
You will often work long hours, which could include early mornings and late evenings.
Where could I work?
Employers are fund and asset management groups, pension funds, life assurance companies, unit and investment trusts, the investment management divisions of banks, and stockbrokers. There are also openings with large companies that manage their own investment portfolios, with some local authorities and with major charities.
Opportunities for Investment Managers occur in some larger towns and cities throughout the UK. However, most work is located in London, with a significant number of posts in other major financial centres, particularly Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).
Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.
Take a look at our General Information Article
Entry Routes and Training
To become an Investment Manager, you usually need financial management experience in, for example, accountancy, banking, economics or insurance, and usually a relevant degree. Some degrees include investment and financial analysis. There are also postgraduate courses in investment and in investment analysis.
People might start their career as an Investment Analyst; others might enter as a trainee Investment Manager, progressing to Manager within a few years.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
The Institute of Financial Services (IFS) offer a level 3 diploma in financial studies. This course is assessed by a multiple choice test and a written paper. The units you could be studying include:
- unit 1: financial capability for the immediate and short term
- unit 2: financial capability for the medium and long term
- unit 3: sustainability of an individual’s finances
- unit 4: sustainability of the financial services system
Check the website for dates and availability.
Other courses could be available in your area.
An Advanced Level or Degree Apprenticeship is also great place to start.
Trainees must pass an exam that is recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority, such as the Investment Management Certificate from the CFA Society of the UK or the Certificate in Investment Management from the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI). Fund managers working on the retail side must have an approved level 4 qualification (such as the Investment Advice Diploma). Some firms offer traineeships.
On-the-job training is complemented by study for a professional qualification such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), supported in the UK by the CFA Society of the UK, or the CISI Masters in Wealth Management.
Investment Managers can progress by taking responsibility for larger or higher-risk funds. Some might become directors or partners in their organisation.
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
Working as an investment manager is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to. This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.
Previous experience in accountancy, economics, banking, broking or insurance would be really useful for this career. If you have any other experience working in investment as, for example, a researcher or analyst this would be really helpful for this career.
For entry to a relevant degree course such as economics, statistics, maths, finance or accountancy, the usual minimum requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects
- English at either level
- maths at A level for degrees in maths or statistics
- maths at GCSE grade B/5/6 or above if not taken at A level, for degrees in economics
Some universities require/prefer A level maths.
Alternatives to A levels include:
- BTEC level 3 qualifications
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma
However, course requirements vary, so check prospectuses carefully.
UCAS tariff points from the following qualifications might be accepted by some institutions for some courses, in combination with other qualifications:
- the ifs certificate or diploma in financial studies
- the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) certificate for introduction to securities and investment
To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Adult applicants usually need a relevant degree and professional experience in accountancy, economics, banking, broking or insurance.
Some entrants have a background working in investment as, for example, a researcher or analyst, or have other financial management experience. Experience or knowledge of particular industrial and business sectors is an advantage.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree course, a college or university Access course (for example, Access to economics, statistics or accounting) could be the way in. These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.
Postgraduate courses in investment can be taken, usually following a numerate or other business-related degree.
Relevant professional qualifications are available by distance learning from the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) and the CFA Society of the UK.
Publisher: Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)
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Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)
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