Career as a Fund manager

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Simon Cooper is an overseas equity analyst. His aim is to establish his own business, helping investors to get the best return for their money.

What does your career as a fund manager involve?

Our team's main responsibility is to maintain client portfolios of investments, working out requirements with them – how much money they want to invest and how much risk they can take – and preparing a risk profile as a result. I focus on the Japanese and Asian markets, so need to research and keep-up-to-date with what is happening in these markets – sudden changes in stocks or politics, for example.

Many of our clients are large, well known companies and we have to respond quickly to their needs and provide up-to-date accurate information and advice.

What are your main tasks?

The fund manager has overall responsibility for the control and regular checking of client portfolios. I play a part in this too, as I help out with the day-to-day administration and checking.

I spend a lot of each day on the computer, communicating with other analysts and specialists in different financial markets. I use the internet widely for research. I'm mainly office based, but sometimes go out to meetings with companies and analysts.

What particular skills and qualities do you need for a career as a fund manager?

You need to enjoy working with other people. There are six of us in our team of analysts, assisting the fund managers. Communication skills are also very important.

You need to be flexible and able to prioritise tasks. Financial markets change regularly, sometimes suddenly, and you have to re-examine your workload and make instant changes to priorities when this happens.

What are your main challenges?

It is challenging dealing with sudden changes in the markets. I often work to very tight deadlines and work anti-social hours when necessary. It can be very pressurised.

What opportunities exist for training?

There is plenty of opportunity for training and development in this job. Currently, I'm working towards the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme. It's a very good programme – I'm learning a lot and enjoy doing it.

What do you like best about the job as a fund manager?

It's a very dynamic and exciting atmosphere to work in, responding to market changes and working on getting the best investments to suit our different clients. There are great opportunities in this line of work.

What about your future?

Once I've gained enough experience in fund management and have taken my professional qualification exams, I'm aiming to become a fund manager myself. I enjoy working for this company, so hope that an opportunity will arise here.

Simon's route to his career as a fund manager

  • Degree in Economics
  • Temporary job in London, which included working on a company's trading desk
  • Joined present company as an overseas equity analyst in the fund management department

Simon's fund manager tips

  • Take an interest in all types of companies, company mergers and stocks – reading the business and financial pages of a national newspaper will help.
  • This is a competition industry, so you need to work your way up in an investment company, but job experience in banking, accountancy or business provides a very useful background.

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Salary of a fund manager

  • Salaries can offer considerably from company to company, but a new or assistant fund manager may earn between £25,000 and £27,000.
  • With experience, this can rise to £50,000 or more. Senior fund managers and heads of department can earn up to £70,000 and, in some cases, much more.

How to become a fund manager

  • Fund management is very competitive and most positions are filled by graduates. There are specific degrees in Investment and Financial Risk and Management Accounting and Investment as well as in finance and business studies.
  • It may be possible, with some companies, to work your way up to become a fund manager, through knowledge and experience in business, finance and investment.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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