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All roads lead to Portfolio Management?

Hey guys,

I know quite a lot of us aspire to be a Portfolio Manager. I was just wondering about the various other roles people assume in asset management. By roles I mean those that are as senior but having different responsibilities than that of a portfolio manager.

Also, its quite common to read the career progression of people in asset management i.e. Start off as an Analyst and work your way up to the role of a Portfolio Manager. What are the alternative routes that people can take on their way to becoming Portfolio Manager or a similar position within AM?

I'm sure most of us have read and researched about this stuff online. I just couldn't find a good resource to answer the above questions.

It'll be great if anyone can contribute to the discussion. It'll be even better if you could describe the career progression as well :)
“Once you decide on your occupation you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job, you must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and the key to being regarded honorably. I’ve never once hated my job, I fell in love with my work and gave my life to it.”—Jiro Ono
policedog

Comments

  • As far as I know:

    Different positions - the other options are middle and back office, not sure if that are options you're considering. Or support staff like HR and legal (which can pay pretty well too!)

    Career path - Fund management firms seem similar to law firms in terms of positions etc: pretty flat. I know everyone likes to say that, but the official titles seem to go from analyst to manager, and there is a wide band of seniority within those titles. You could obviously graduate to partner or c-suite, but probably your progression involves moving on to larger and larger funds.

    Just my 2 cents. Would be interested to hear what everyone else thinks! :)
    AjFinance
  • @artyeasel thank you for the inputs. By different positions, I was referring to roles within AM. What exactly do you mean by partner or c-suite?
    “Once you decide on your occupation you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job, you must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and the key to being regarded honorably. I’ve never once hated my job, I fell in love with my work and gave my life to it.”—Jiro Ono
  • I guess partner or c-suite (CEO, CFO, C whatevers) is ideal, but the jump from the department/division heads to that will be tough. But that's a long way anyway.

    I'd imagine there would be portfolio mgmt side of things, but there are a little bit of trading and risk management as well? Definitely a fixed income division (where you're interested @AjFinance?), probably equity research side, or even commodities really. Depends what AM you're in, I'd imagine a big one has division for every asset class...
  • @Reena thanks for the reply :)

    “Once you decide on your occupation you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job, you must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and the key to being regarded honorably. I’ve never once hated my job, I fell in love with my work and gave my life to it.”—Jiro Ono
  • @Sophie and @Christine, maybe you guys can clear things up? 8->
    “Once you decide on your occupation you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job, you must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and the key to being regarded honorably. I’ve never once hated my job, I fell in love with my work and gave my life to it.”—Jiro Ono
  • christinechristine On the movePosts: 629 Sr Portfolio Manager
    What @artyeasel mentioned is essentially right - you start as an analyst for a fund manager, and your particular management style could vary quite widely (depending on your risk profile, investors, what your firm generally specialises in).

    As your seniority increases you'll graduate from analytical work to taking on investment recommendations or decisions. Some firms let portfolio managers take on the investment decisions (and therefore the responsibility/risk too!) but some require a more structured approval process (such as a committee approval process).

    As portfolio manager your value to the firm depends on how good your performance is. The larger your fund size / performance, the better your standing in the firm is, generally speaking. Partners have a stake in the firm and get a cut of the firm's profits, and generally do outreach and sales. You'll need good networks to make partner (i.e. know a lot of high net worth investors, or institutional investors). C-suite are the firm's leaders as @reena said (i.e. CEO, CFO, etc).

    Hope that helps!
  • Thanks @Christine :)
    “Once you decide on your occupation you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job, you must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and the key to being regarded honorably. I’ve never once hated my job, I fell in love with my work and gave my life to it.”—Jiro Ono
  • @christine @artyeasel that's quite similar to a structure in a boutique M&A firm as well.
    Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait, wait. I'm worried what you just heard was, "Give me a lot of bacon and eggs." What I said was, "Give me all the bacon and eggs you have". Do you understand?
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