Career Focus: How to Become A Portfolio Manager

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Career Focus: How to Become A Portfolio Manager

Business Careers Author: Admin


In the industry of business, finance, and investment, one of the most lucrative and in-demand careers is that of a portfolio manager. A portfolio manager can be one of two things. First, he or she can be the person responsible for making investment decisions using the money entrusted by his or her clients to control. Second, he or she can be someone who manages the assets & liabilities of financial institutions as well as their portfolios.

With such responsibilities, the qualified person can earn an estimated $450,000 per year as well.

Portfolio managers do not work alone. They usually work alongside a team of researchers & analysts but they are considered as final decision-makers when it comes to deciding vehicles for fund management or asset management. Most companies would usually hire portfolio managers internally. That could mean starting at the bottom and working their way up the corporate ladder.

A Portfolio Manager’s Main Responsibilities

A portfolio Manager can have several underlying positions and job descriptions. The person will be responsible for several processes that are dependent on the following factors:

  • Size of fund
  • Investment vehicle type
  • Investing Style

If he or she manages assets of an institution with large money management, the person will be designated as a portfolio manager. If smaller fund assets are being managed, he or she will then be referred to as fund manager while the Chief Investment Officer becomes the portfolio manager who manages assets of large business organizations.

Furthermore, in terms of investment vehicle types, portfolio managers can manage the following investment vehicles: mutual funds, retail funds, hedge funds, institutional funds, trust funds, pension funds as well as commodities. Some also manage investment vehicles that are considered fixed-income or managers are quite diverse when it comes to investing style. They can use hedging techniques, small or large-cap specialties, and other techniques.

Here are the steps to succeeding in such a lucrative role:

1. Educational Background

Candidates with a degree in economics, business, math, and accounting are often at an advantage. It’s important to note as well that a lot of portfolio managers have academic backgrounds in engineering, computer science, biology, or physics. Acquiring an MBA can also prove to be a benefit.

2. Find a Related Job

Most portfolio managers are selected from among the top financial analysts. If the person is not a financial analyst yet, it’s important that he or she seeks out such a position in a firm. He or she should also consider being an investment adviser to prepare for more challenging roles, develop skills and add to the experience.

3. Secure a License

Examinations would usually require employer sponsorship, so it’s highly unlikely to get a license before getting hired. Once the interested party has his or her license, he or she should work hard towards earning another set of certifications to give their career a boost.

Requirements to Get Promoted Internally

In a firm, financial analysts are usually the ones who are often promoted to portfolio managers. This may be because part of their job descriptions workaround either asset management solutions or portfolio management.

This is especially true in Asian countries like Hong Kong and Singapore. Firms that provide services such as fund administration follow this kind of setup. They consider the role of analysts to be perfect training grounds for a portfolio manager position. Analysts are trained on how to make crucial portfolio decisions like selling or buying securities or determine what underlying economic conditions affect securities.


Though the hours are long and the work is doubly hard, the rewards are certainly worth it. Do you believe the role of a portfolio manager fits your career goals? If you’re nodding your head, looking forward to a bright future in finance, and ready to take on the challenges, then this career is definitely for you.