When people think of fund management, they think of portfolio managers. The kings and queens of the fund management world who run funds on behalf of their clients based on a range of investment experience and expertise. However, this is the pinnacle of an investment career and one of many roles that make fund management firms tick. Jobs in fund management fall into three broad categories:
Investment: Portfolio managers run the investment strategies and tend to specialise in one asset class, whether that’s equities, fixed income or property and manage the day-to-day investment decisions across the funds they look after.
In big fund management firm there are tens of money managers with various areas of expertise including multi-asset funds, which decide on which ‘blend’ of financial investments to include in a portfolio. However, portfolio managers don’t work in isolation.
Portfolio managers run the investment strategies and tend to specialise in one asset class
Supporting them are teams of buy-side research analysts. Unlike research analysts working in investment banks, which analyse financial results and come up with recommendations for clients, research in fund management is about generating investment ideas for portfolio management teams.
They spend their days poring through company reports and industry insights in order to gain in-depth knowledge about particular sectors or asset classes, which will give the portfolio management team an edge over the competition.
Distribution: If investment teams deal with the money management side of the business, distribution teams are all about bringing in, and maintaining client assets.
Sales, or business development, professionals deal with large institutional investors, find out what their investment needs are and try to recommend the products of their employer. Sales professionals also need to spend a lot of time developing and maintaining relationships with clients in an attempt to increase loyalty. One of the biggest challenge any fund manager faces is maintaining assets under management, particularly if performance dips.
Product development/management roles ensure that a fund manager is present in all the markets and asset classes it should be, has the right funds available to investors in the right markets and that there are no obvious gaps. They also liaise with the risk and compliance teams to ensure any new products will keep regulators happy, that a fund’s pricing structure is correct and that a firm isn’t falling behind their competitors in any areas.
Marketing professionals make sure that the right messages about the products reach potential and existing clients. Like marketing professionals elsewhere, the job has had to evolve with the digital age, and marketing professionals spend less time wining and dining clients and more ensuring that the fund manager is well-represented across the web and social media.
Business operations: Without delving too deeply into each position, fund managers employ risk and compliance professionals, investment operations professionals performing back office functions as well as IT, HR and accounting positions.