Fund manager job

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Mark Fowler works for an investment company. As director of Asian Equities, he specialises in forecasting share prices in this region, with the aim of building his clients' investment profits.

What does your fund manager job involve?

At a very basic level, I take a pool of other people's money, such as pension funds and collective funds, like ISAs, (Individual Savings Accounts), and try to increase its value.

How do you add value?

This involves meeting companies in the Asian market, listening to analysts and economists and trying to forecast which Asian company shares will perform better than others. From the outcome of research, I will add companies to the funds and make the investment for clients. I deal with a real mix of institutions, all generally looking for steady growth in their investment portfolio.

How does your day start as a fund manager?

The nature of my job means there is always something to learn and read up on, so there's never a typical day and I often start early. The Asian markets will have been open for several hours when I arrive, so I catch up on major news, any events and companies that have just published financial reports. At 8.30am the whole equity team meets to run through developments specific to their region. Outside of meetings, I analyse all the information available and try to come up with new investment ideas.

What hours do you work?

I work relatively normal office hours. I suppose 8.00am is reasonably early, but not unsociable.We're not day-traders, so being present during the whole trading period isn't necessary. I usually leave by 6pm.

How much travel overseas is involved?

I probably make two trips to Asia a year, scheduling in meetings with companies for the entire two-week duration. In the past year I've visited China and Hong Kong. It sounds exciting, but you rarely see much of the country. However, I enjoy experiencing the cultural differences, which are very important to respect in this job.

What skills are important working as a fund manager?

While you don't necessarily need a maths degree, numerical and analytical qualities are important. Diplomacy, communication and questioning skills are essential. In this job, your performance is always under scrutiny, which adds to the pressure.

How much of your fund manager job relies on instinct?

We are all different, and if you give identical information to several people, they might all reach different conclusions. This job is about finding information and applying it in the best way. Most of the job involves putting in the research hours and using every source you have access to.

What equipment do you use?

I rely on a computer which is logged into the various stock markets and exchanges worldwide. I also use various computer programs aimed at providing specific financial information.

What do you enjoy most being a fund manager?

There are always new companies to see and things never stand still. Travel can be a big benefit, as are the financial rewards.

Mark's route to his fund manager job

  • Degree in Management and Chemical Sciences.
  • Joined smaller fund management firm.
  • IIMR (Institute of Investment Management and Research) qualification (now replaced by the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) award).
  • Current post at Insight Investment.

Mark's fund manager tips

  • Increase your interest, reading about and observing why certain businesses perform better than others.
  • Apply a business idea to something that interests you.

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Salary of a fund manager

  • Most graduate fund managers can expect salaries of between £30,000 and £35,000, with the possibility of between 10 and 50 per cent in performance bonuses.
  • With experience, salaries rise considerably.
  • A very senior and high-performing fund manager can earn as much as £300,000 with bonuses.

Fund manager job

  • Many fund managers are recruited straight from university or college, with first class or 2:1 degrees – particularly in accountancy or economics. Increasingly, entrants also have postgraduate qualifications.
  • For non-graduates, employment options are limited, although some fund managers work their way up from a research support role.
  • Holiday employment or an internship with a financial firm can be an advantage. Many applicants have tracked an imaginary investment portfolio.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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