What Is an Investment Manager? (With Skills and Career Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Investment management is an exciting area of financial management that can provide a rewarding career. If you're considering a career in finance, learning what is an investment manager can help make your career goals clearer. Training to become an investment manager can help you secure a job at a wealth management firm. In this article, we explain what an investment manager is, their common duties, skills and salaries and offer tips for securing one of these finance jobs.

What is an investment manager?

An investment manager is a finance professional who manages client investments. Investment managers may help individual investors or business clients. They advise their clients on investment strategies. They also invest their clients' capital and oversee their investment portfolios. Investment managers aim to help their clients maximise the return on their investments and grow their wealth.

What do investment managers do?

An investment manager meets with clients and helps them manage their investment portfolios. People may see investment managers if they want to save for retirement or make a major purchase such as a house. Businesses may engage with investment managers if they want to increase their profits or help their customers.

For example, superannuation firms often use investment managers to get the best returns for their members. The duties of investment managers vary depending on their firm and clients, but may include:

  • meeting with clients to discuss their financial status, investment goals and budget

  • developing investment strategies that align with their client's goals

  • buying and selling investments to maximise profits

  • monitoring portfolios and report results regularly to clients

  • reviewing and revising investment strategies to suit client's needs and market changes

  • answering client questions about investments, risk factors, earning distribution and the investment market

  • recommending insurance cover and arranging policies for clients

  • referring clients to other organisations for financial services, as required

  • directing the collection of finance, accounts and investment information for the business

  • preparing budgets, reports and forecasts for the business

  • attending industry and community events to discuss investment initiatives

What are the working conditions of investment managers?

Investment managers spend most of their time in an office environment. They spend most of their time at their desks at the employer's premises. Some businesses may agree to flexible remote working arrangements for some investment managers. They may spend time offsite meeting clients and attending finance events.

Investment managers usually work regular hours within the standard working week. They may work longer hours during peak financial periods, including near tax time and the end of the financial year.

What skills do investment managers use?

Investment managers use a combination of hard and soft skills to succeed in their roles. Hard skills help them understand financial markets and identify the best investments for their clients. Soft skills help them build connections with their clients and other financial professionals. Forming good connections helps investment managers build customer loyalty and fit in with the company's culture. Here are some of the skills investment managers use:

Financial literacy

Investment managers research finance markets to create the best investment strategies for their clients. Good financial literacy helps them understand leading resources such as finance periodicals and securities reports. It can also help them understanding and communicate using financial terminology.

Related: 12 Commonly Used Accounting Principles

Communication skills

Strong communication skills help investment managers understand their client's financial goals. They listen to their clients and ask intelligent questions to get more information from them. They also know how to simplify complex financial strategies and concepts to explain them to clients.

Investment managers also speak with enthusiasm to engage their clients in the investment process. Strong written communication skills help investment managers write clear financial reports. They also use positive body language during meetings to show their engagement with clients and finance experts.

Computer literacy

Investment managers use financial and data processing software to write financial reports, analyse investment markets and track client portfolios. Strong computer skills help them use these programs efficiently. Understanding computers helps investment managers adapt to new software.

Related: Computer Literacy: What It is And How You Can Improve Yours

Organisation

Organisation skills help investment managers manage various client portfolios at once. Organised investment managers remember the needs and investment options of each client on their books. Good organisation helps them track the performance of their client's investments and buy and sell at optimal times. They also prioritise their clients and tasks so they attend to the most pressing matters first. For example, if an investment manager has a client meeting soon, they prioritise tasks relevant to that client.

Relationship building

Investment managers use relationship-building skills to form close, trusting relationships with clients. Clients who trust their investment managers feel more comfortable accepting investment advice. They may also invest more money into their portfolios. Investment managers greet people warmly, with smiles and handshakes to help them feel at ease. They regularly reach out to clients to maintain their relationships over time.

Analytical skills

Analytical skills help investment managers review and predict the impact of investment decisions. They analyse financial markets and investment options to predict what may happen next. Their predictions inform the investment decisions they make with clients. These decisions impact whether their clients' portfolios grow and the size of their growth.

Problem-solving skills

Developing investment strategies for clients is a lot like solving puzzles. Investment managers consider several factors when developing investment strategies, such as the size of each client's capital, their investment preferences and the market conditions. As conditions change, investment managers use problem-solving skills to tweak their approach and continue getting the best results for clients.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

What qualifications do investment managers have?

Investment managers have at least a bachelor's degree in commerce or business majoring in finance, accounting or economics. These degrees take three years of full-time study or the part-time equivalent. The study programs feature compulsory lessons in industry fundamentals and elective subjects which help students customise their learning. Degree programs feature classes in these disciplines:

  • accounting

  • economics

  • business information systems

  • organisational behaviour

  • management

  • business law

What do investment managers earn?

The average salary for an investment manager is $124,897 per year. Investment managers typically earn more as they gain experience in their field. An investment manager's employer and location may also impact their salary.

Differences between investment managers and investment bankers

Investment managers and investment bankers both seize investment opportunities. Understanding the key differences between these roles can help you decide which job you want to pursue:

Job responsibilities

Investment managers help clients manage their existing capital. They do this by identifying investment opportunities in the market. Investment bankers focus on generating new capital. They do this by creating new investment opportunities, such as handling mergers and acquisitions or launching initial public options (IPOs).

Client types

Investment managers have individual or business clients. Investment bankers only work with organisations related to finance. Both types of investment professionals can work with government bodies.

Related: What Is an Investment Banker?

Tips for becoming an investment manager

Investment management is a competitive field, so it's a good idea to try to distinguish yourself from other job applicants. Here are some tips that can help you become an investment manager:

Take part in further study

Most job candidates have a bachelor's degree. Holding a higher qualification shows your commitment to learning and improving yourself. If it's offered to you, accept the invite the study honours at university. Only the best undergraduates get invited to undertake an extra year of study, so joining an honours program shows your diligence.

A postgraduate degree can also give you a competitive advantage over other job candidates. A Master of Business Administration is one of the most popular degrees for investment managers. A Master of Financial Analysis (Financial Risk Management) is another relevant postgraduate degree. If you want a role in property investment, a Master of Real Estate Investment can expand your industry knowledge.

Gain finance industry experience

Investment managers usually spend several years in finance before earning management roles. Graduates may apply for jobs such as investment assistant, finance assistant or accounts assistant. Focus on applying the skills and knowledge you learned at university. Volunteer for new opportunities to broaden your skills and advance your career.

Get AFS and ASIC registration and licences

All financial services businesses have registration and licensing from the Australian Financial Services (AFS) and Australian Security and Investment Commission (ASIC). If you are an employee, you operate under the business's registration and licence. Getting your own registration and licence lets you start your own investment management business. Becoming a self-employed investment manager gives you more freedom, as you can choose your own schedule and clients. This step is a great way to develop your investment management career.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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