Are you trying to decide on a career path? Whether you are entering college, have a few years of schooling under your belt, or are wanting to change careers – consider a role in investment management.
1. What are the pros of an investment management career?
If you are looking for a career that is mentally stimulating, has a flexible schedule and extremely emotionally fulfilling then you may consider a career in investment management. Money and the negative, distracting and stressful emotions that come when you don’t feel you have a financial plan or assurance you are investing your money wisely can be so detrimental to your ability to be happy. With a career in investment management, you could be a key part in helping your clients achieve the peace of mind they need to enjoy life. The investment market is also extremely complex, regulatory changes in our industry ever changing, so if you want to have a job that is dynamic and evolving that is also a great benefit of this career.
2. What are the cons of an investment management career?
The biggest con is a “catch 22” in that you are helping people with their life savings! That gives you an ability to have an immense impact on your client’s lives and gives you great fulfillment, but it also bears a great amount of responsibility. That can be overwhelming and stressful to think of, but it also motivates you to be well-researched and thoughtful in all your decisions. You also are at the mercy of the stock market, politics and the economy which you don’t have control of and will always be factors that affect your clients.
3. What are the most important skills you need to be successful in an investment management career?
I would say there are three core skills you need to have:
Discipline to study as you’ll be required to pass several designation and license exams, continuing education and read constantly to stay aware of political, economic and market factors that could impact your clients. Also discipline to stick to your investment recommendations as the market may test your ability to stay invested or sell out of investments that have consistently not performed in line to peer groups and expectations.
Emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions as well as those around you. In investment management, you are dealing with a very personal and sensitive area of your client’s lives. Your ability to be empathetic to your clients while also knowing how to effectively communicate with them to help them achieve their intended goals is integral to the success of the Advisor/Client relationship. Lastly, you will likely be working in a team environment. A happy work environment leads to a team more willing to happily serve clients.
Ability to persevere. Whether it is the stock market testing you, distraught clients, or a passionate and stern Advisor you are working for – you will be encountered with tough situations that will challenge you. Your ability to accept rejection, not take things personal, to accept criticism and evolve, will separate you from the many people who fail out of this career because they lack the ability to persevere and grow.
4. What are the keys steps you need to take to become an investment manager? (certifications, education requirements,etc.)
First you should look within your network or reach out to an investment manager to mentor you. There will be so much wisdom and time saved by learning from an experienced investment manager who can share with you their journey and path to success. You should also begin reading investment news regularly and search for books that introduce you to the stock market so you can begin to understand investment jargon that will be used. After being hired by a firm, you will need to obtain a handful of securities licenses depending on the firm that you work with, which could include a Securities Industry Essentials Exam, Series 7 license and/or Insurance license exam. For an even deeper knowledge and designations that do not require you to already be hired at a firm, there are two routes that an investment manager can take – one who focuses more on managing the investments only where pursuing a Chartered Financial Analyst® designation would be notable or one who focuses on financial planning where becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ is particularly impressive.
Sathya Chey is a registered representative with, and securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC.