How to Work in Asset Management: 13 Steps

Table of contents:

How to Work in Asset Management: 13 Steps
How to Work in Asset Management: 13 Steps

Asset management is the act of monitoring and maintaining the assets of an organization or person. Financial planners and managers may work in an organization that controls and directs the assets of the employing company, or in a company that controls and directs the assets of external customers. Keep in mind that the most sought-after and highest-paying jobs are extremely competitive, requiring advanced degrees, excellent qualifications, unique skills, and a willingness to work in a high-stress position and long work hours.


Part 1 of 3: Get the Education

Work in Asset Management Step 1
Work in Asset Management Step 1

Step 1. Get a bachelor's degree in finance

A bachelor's degree in finance is the minimum requirement for a career in asset management. Knowledge of accounting and statistics is essential. You can earn a degree from an accredited online college, community college, or private college.

  • A big part of the job in asset management is being able to read spreadsheets and earnings reports. That qualifies as quantitative skills. You will also need to develop analytical skills, which means understanding the numbers, deciphering them, and turning them into financial models and projections.
  • Statistics and accounting classes help develop these skills.
Work in Asset Management Step 2
Work in Asset Management Step 2

Step 2. Get a graduate degree

Work toward a master's degree in finance. A master's in finance will enhance your job opportunities in asset management. Employers prefer candidates with a graduate degree, and a graduate degree will increase your chances of having a higher salary one day.

  • The graduate program must provide the student with an education in financial analysis.
  • Some of the world's leading banks and asset management companies ask that applicants have global skills. Global skills include the willingness to work abroad, know another language, and have international experience. The second preferred language depends on the company or bank with which the job is applied.
  • Take a language class to develop your language skills.
  • If you can, travel abroad. Companies prefer applicants who have experience with other cultures.
Work in Asset Management Step 3
Work in Asset Management Step 3

Step 3. Gain experience through an internship

Find financial or banking planning practices to gain experience. Most jobs for undergraduates are entry-level and don't provide much experience. However, an internship at a prestigious financial industry firm is a major resume advantage and you will begin to build a professional network. Banking and working in an investment firm can provide the individual with the skills necessary to monitor and manage a client's portfolio of assets.

  • Learns fast. Some of the learning skills that companies and banks value include open-mindedness, quick understanding and learning of new concepts, and intellectual curiosity. These qualities can be used in a job to meet new clients, handle a task, and assimilate new information and data.
  • Before an interview, think of times when you have demonstrated your brainpower in practical situations.
  • Ask a teacher or professor for advice on where to apply for the internship.
Work in Asset Management Step 4
Work in Asset Management Step 4

Step 4. Continue with management training programs

Investment or asset management firms may offer promising employees the opportunity to complete a management training program. This can result in you being hired in advanced positions. Use online job boards, classifieds, and career recruiters to find finance positions.

  • Management training programs are a good opportunity for those who do not have a graduate-level education. An employee with a college degree in finance or business can advance in an asset management company by excelling in the company's training program.
  • Training programs at an investment company provide the employee with an education in the methods and techniques that the investment firm uses with clients.
  • Work in any type of career that deals with finance in a highly stressful environment. Companies value employees who show resilience under pressure. A quality of a resilient person is one who sees a setback as a challenge. Think of a specific situation in which you have shown resistance under pressure before an interview.
Work in Asset Management Step 5
Work in Asset Management Step 5

Step 5. Obtain professional credentials

Professional credentials offered by professional financial associations can enhance the opportunities available in asset management and are sometimes better than advanced degrees. Candidates must meet eligibility requirements and pass exams to obtain professional credentials. For example, if you live in the United States, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential offered by the CFAI requires the candidate to meet the education and experience requirements to qualify to take three exams. Other certifications in the United States include:

  • Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) - This certification demonstrates that you are proficient in all areas of financial planning, including stocks, bonds, taxes, insurance, retirement planning, and estate planning. You will need to pass an exam administered by the Certified Board of Financial Planning Standards Inc., in addition to completing three years of full-time work experience (6,000 hours) or two years of apprenticeship experience (4,000 hours), and agree to the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and the Financial Planning Standards of the CFP Council.
  • Chartered Investment Advisor (CIC): If you are a CFA, you can work towards this certification, which focuses on portfolio management. You will need to work in an eligible position for an Investment Advisers Association firm, agree to the code of conduct, and present character and professional references. A CIC must be recertified every year. CICs often manage large accounts and mutual funds.
  • Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA): If you are an investment consultant with at least three years of experience, you can apply for this certification. You will take courses through the Investment Management Consultants Association to obtain a CIMA certification. You will need to complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years to recertify.

Part 2 of 3: Starting the Race

Work in Asset Management Step 10
Work in Asset Management Step 10

Step 1. Understand the different career paths

There are many careers you can choose from in asset management. Previous experience and education may dictate the job you finish, but try to follow the career path that interests you the most. There are many career paths, with plenty of room for overlap, such as:

  • Analysts: Generally, you will work in a specific industry and will be able to buy, hold and sell recommendations from specific companies. Analysts can also look at specific commodities such as a currency, grains, metals, etc. Some analysts are technical, while others are grounded in the fundamentals of security. You can be a research analyst, purchase analyst, sales analyst, quantitative analyst, or a junior analyst.
  • Portfolio Manager - This is a high-ranking position where you will select an individual or company investment portfolio to have the highest rate of return. You will need to have knowledge of how to choose the right investments and how to predict future earnings.
  • Private Banker - Private bankers offer the services of a portfolio manager to a select group of wealthy clients. To be a private banker, you need multiple degrees and years of experience.
  • Financial advisor: Financial advisers attract clients and sell them investments. They will help people manage their wealth and savings. You can work independently or for a large company, in which case you would sell the company's products.
  • Fund Counter - This position determines the price people will pay for mutual funds based on the value that you will calculate. You'll keep track of how much people earn from securities, their closing prices, and customer withdrawals. The job generally requires an accounting degree.
  • Registered Representative Assistant - This position generally requires you to perform the administrative duties of a stockbroker, such as handling reports and calling to confirm trades. This job is a great way to learn about the business and eventually move up the career ladder and does not require a college degree as this job is primarily clerical.
  • Registered Representative - This job requires getting new clients and selling products to them, such as life insurance and real estate. With this job, you will advise clients on how to use their wealth wisely. This role includes financial advisers, who must register with the SEC and must adhere to certain rules and manage a portfolio of securities. Registered representatives rarely have discretion, but make recommendations that the customer may or may not follow.
Work in Asset Management Step 11
Work in Asset Management Step 11

Step 2. Find a position

Search for a position in the field you have chosen. Candidates with the appropriate financial education and experience in the financial industry can seek positions such as an asset manager or in an asset management company. Look for companies that they hire based on your level of experience.

  • Practically speaking, a recent college graduate is not likely to be hired as an asset manager, but rather as an analyst. Keep in mind that the positions in the main investment companies are very competitive
  • Job seekers can network with finance professionals to find asset management positions. This is the time to start building a "rolodex" of professional contacts that will expand throughout your career. Professional social connections are one of the most important assets a job candidate can have.
  • Try joining websites such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn can give you connections and career opportunities.
  • The best place to start looking is through your college location officer and social network. Search companies or recruiters rarely represent a beginner as the starting salary is too low and it is easy to find candidates for any open position.
Work in Asset Management Step 12
Work in Asset Management Step 12

Step 3. Accept a job

Don't be disappointed if you don't get the job you expect at first. If you're happy with the company, don't discount jobs in marketing, sales, or as a research analyst. Accepting jobs in other departments can give you an advantage over external candidates who apply for a higher position later.

It can be difficult to work in a position that feels below you or not quite right, but try to keep in mind that everyone in higher positions had to start somewhere

Work in Asset Management Step 13
Work in Asset Management Step 13

Step 4. Stand out from the rest

Typically, you will have to work in a lower-level position for two years before being considered for a management position. Earning a CFA or MBA will give you a jump start to excel. Think of specific ways in your work to stand out. If you deal with clients on a daily basis, show them outstanding customer service. If you have a monthly sales goal to meet, try going beyond that goal.

  • Always be ready to help your colleagues and your boss.
  • Offer to run errands or jobs that seem below your ability, such as going for lunch or coffee.
  • Be assertive and show your skills. Don't be overbearing, but don't be afraid to show your potential either.

Part 3 of 3: Advancing the Race

Work in Asset Management Step 14
Work in Asset Management Step 14

Step 1. Take every opportunity

Don't be too squeamish to make a career change. If you are offered a better job or a job in a different department, don't be afraid to take it. Sometimes a career change can be risky, but it can be an opportunity for more success. Be sure to research the job offer before accepting it.

  • Evaluate the benefits and drawbacks before moving on to another job. Most companies do not allow you to take all the information of your customers. This is especially true for registered representatives. In many cases, the employee is bound by a non-compete agreement, especially a period of no solicitation from clients they have previously worked with.
  • Don't be afraid of failing. You can get fired, or take a misstep in your career, but understand what happens to everyone. Take failure as a lesson to grow. Don't let it stop you.
Work in Asset Management Step 15
Work in Asset Management Step 15

Step 2. Get creative

One way to get ahead is to think differently from others. Asset management may not sound like a creative career, but there are plenty of opportunities to use creativity. Make a business move, or take an opportunity that might not be obvious to others.

  • Trust your decision before making an unconventional business move, and get your boss's approval if necessary.
  • If you are a financial advisor, think of fresh and creative ways to invest to maximize the wealth of your clients.
  • It promotes the industry in creative and appropriate ways that are outside the realms of typical promotion and advertising.
  • If you are in research, take time to research and write new strategies and ways of approaching whatever research you are working on.
Work in Asset Management Step 16
Work in Asset Management Step 16

Step 3. Continue your education

Every industry grows and changes over time, even if you are in a management position. Stay up-to-date on certifications and continue taking courses if new technologies and methods are introduced in asset management. Staying up-to-date at any point in your career will help you stay relevant and more marketable in the job market.

  • Stay up-to-date with new technology. In recent years, a new program has been introduced that allows you to view customer investments in real time. Find out about new programs as soon as you can.
  • Search or subscribe to news related to your professional career.
  • Look occasionally for course material in your workspace, and see if the content being taught has changed or been updated.
Work in Asset Management Step 17
Work in Asset Management Step 17

Step 4. Become an entrepreneur

Once you are further advanced in the career, it is an option to start your own private asset management company. Being an entrepreneur is a great way to have the freedom and control that you wouldn't normally have. Make sure you have the proper qualifications before taking this step. You won't be able to take all of your customer information from your old company when you start a business, so make sure you know what information you are allowed to leave with when you cut ties with the company.

  • You will need at least a municipal license and another certification specific to your type of business to open a business.
  • You could benefit from taking classes in subjects such as management, computing, and marketing before opening your own business.
  • You can choose to operate your business under an independent brokerage firm, which will allow you to start your own business within their network.


  • Make sure you are aware of your duties in an asset management job. Expecting a job to be easier or harder than it actually is can hurt motivation and ambition.
  • View your job as a constant job interview.
  • Welcome any opportunity for a job in property management at the beginning. Feeling like you're too good for a position will keep you from getting ahead in the long run.
  • Most candidates entering the finance industry will be hired as registered representatives with a career path from CEO or analysts-in-training who become industry analysts, portfolio managers, or traders.


  • It's good to be ambitious and assertive, but make sure you don't act inappropriately. It is important to stay professional. Behavioral expectations will depend on the job and the company.
  • Never stay in a job where you are treated unfairly. It is not worth staying in a good company or job if you are demoted or abused.
  • This type of work requires long working hours and a lot of stress. Burnout is common, and the culture is extremely competitive. If you don't thrive in this type of culture, it may not be the right job for you.

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