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Career as a Investment Manager

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Who Is an Investment Manager?

Investment is the process of redirecting finance towards profit generation. Investment management involves the professional management of various financial securities and assets belonging to an investor for the purpose of earning maximum benefits. An investment manager is an individual who manages investor finance and focuses on yielding future benefits for the investor. Investment managers manage investment portfolios and operate under the government’s securities legislation.

An investment manager is usually part of a large financial institution: a bank, a trust, or a life insurance company. Investment managers manage the investment portfolios of these institutions, and may also provide direct investment management services to third-party clients. Since investment managers are required to manage money for investors, they are also involved in ‘investment counselling’. Investment management companies providing this service are required to license their investment managers as ‘investment counsellors’ or ‘investment counsels’. An investment manager involved in counselling is also expected to have completed at least the first year of the CFA programme, and to hold relevant professional experience in the investment industry.

Investment managers are also known as ‘fund managers’. The term fund or investment manager refers to both an individual who helps direct investment management decisions, and institutions providing financial services.

What Does Investment Management Involve?

Investment management involves the following processes:

  • Setting investment objectives:

Investment goals will differ depending on who invests and the purpose behind the investment. Investments can be made by financial institutions, such as banks, pension funds, insurance companies, etc. Investments can also be made by private investors focused on generating high returns on investments. Investment managers help set investment objectives depending on investor decisions.

  • Formulating an investment plan:

Following the setting of an objective for investment, investment managers help formulate a plan for investment. An investment manager will draw up investment plans based on factors like risk profile, financial capacity of investors, market factors and economic conditions, and in line with government regulations.

  • Establishment of the portfolio strategy:

An investment manager will weigh the objectives and constraints and classify asset classes accordingly. Asset classes include financial securities (fixed income, foreign), debts, equities, currencies, and / or real estate (commercial and residential). An investment manager is responsible for selection of assets for investment from the asset classes.

Since investment management is an ongoing process, investment managers are expected to consistently evaluate and improve their investment portfolios.

Role of an Investment Manager

Every individual interested in securing his / her future through investment, practices investment management. An investor will need to save money, draw up a budget, spend wisely and invest a substantial sum towards buying high profit potential assets or financial securities. But while everyone can make investment decisions, not everyone should. An investment manager is a professional who specializes in investing and is qualified to take the right decisions; placing money in the best profit yielding instruments to accomplish goals and predetermined targets. Hiring a competent investment manager is essential if one wants to invest in the financial market.

An experienced investment manager will help investors in the following ways:

  • Discern the best strategy for investments

  • Analyse status of finance, and assist in asset and stock selection

  • Monitor investments on an ongoing basis

  • Help gain maximum benefits from investments

  • Provide advice on investment areas

  • Handle investor decisions and investments with the utmost discretion

Types of Investments and Investment Managers

Investment management is often described in terms of fund management, asset management, money management, wealth management, portfolio management and advisory investment management. Fundamentally similar, they have a few minute differences. Investment managers involved in these different areas of investment management have specific responsibilities to fulfil.

1. Asset (Portfolio) Management and Asset Investment Managers:

The term asset management refers to the management of collective investments made in multiple investment options on behalf of groups of investors, e.g. mutual funds. An asset investment manager is required to make decisions that will result in the maximum returns possible. The decisions taken by an asset or portfolio investment manager should be based on well-researched information, financial profitability, predetermined investment targets and availability of resources.

2. Money Management and Money Investment Managers:

Money investment managers may manage a client’s investment portfolio without his / her approval, e.g. mutual funds. This form of investment management is known as ‘discretionary’ money management. The money investment manager manages the investment portfolio independently; sets goals, builds budgets, cuts down on unnecessary expenses, saves money and makes investments based on the investor’s risk constraints. Money investment managers are focused on achieving profits for the investor’s current and future stability.

3. Wealth (Portfolio) Management and Wealth Investment Managers:

Private investors, typically wealthy individuals, will invest money in the capital market. A wealth or portfolio investment manager manages the investment accounts of such high-net worth individuals.

4. Advisory Investment Management and Investment Advisors or Advisory Investment Managers:

An advisory investment manager offers investment recommendations and suggestions regarding investments; where to invest, when to invest, how to invest, when to sell securities, and so on. Advisory investment managers may either provide asset management services on behalf of corporate investment firms, or directly manage a client’s assets. Hiring good advisory investment managers ensures the efficient management of investor finances and high returns on investments.


An early career Investment Manager with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation of ₹570,000 b ased on 28 salaries.

Steps for InvestmentManagers

Let's see what steps you'll need to take to become a portfolio investment manager.

Step 1: Attain a Bachelor's Degree

Portfolio investment managers start their careers by acquiring a bachelor's degree in accounting, economics, business, statistics or finance, with classes in all those subjects. Many of these subjects can prepare an individual for either an entry-level position or graduate school. However, a large number of portfolio investment managers also hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, so it is advantageous for one to choose an undergraduate major that can ease the transition into an MBA program.

Step 2: Earn a Master's Degree

One may decide to earn a master's degree right after completing his or her bachelor's or after gaining experience in the field. In graduate business school, master's degree programs may be in business, risk management, finance or accounting. Courses in bond evaluation and pricing provide an educational foundation for portfolio investment managers. Although not mandatory, a master's degree can help one advance in this competitive career.

Step 3: Find a Financial Analyst Position

Portfolio investment managers are an advanced career choice in securities, and most portfolio managers start out as financial analysts. This position may be available as a graduate internship or a full-time paid position. Working as an investment advisor for individuals may help develop the skills and experience to become a portfolio investment manager as well.

Step 4: Acquire Licensure

As a financial analyst empowered to buy and sell to manage a portfolio of investments, portfolio investment managers must be licensed. Many license exams require the portfolio investment manager to have employer sponsorship, so financial analysts are not expected to have the licenses before being hired.

Step 5: Register with Securities Agencies

Portfolio investment managers need to be registered with their state's securities agency. States may require fingerprinting for a background check, in addition to an application or registration form.

Step 6: Consider Certification Options

Many employing firms prefer portfolio managers who hold the official Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Investment managers meet the designation's requirements by possessing a bachelor's degree, acquiring four years of experience and completing three examinations taken either back to back or individually. These tests cover information like asset evaluation, corporate financing, accounting, economics, portfolio management and securities analysis.

To become a portfolio investment manager, you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree, consider earning a master's degree, obtain any required licenses and complete any required registration.

Certification in India

The International Certificate in Wealth & Investment Management (ICWIM) India is a bespoke qualification aimed at investment and wealth management practitioners and others dealing with high net worth clients who require the knowledge required by the National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) to qualify as an Investment Advisor in India, in order to provide high-quality advice to clients and firms specifically in India.

The qualification introduces candidates to financial services and regulation of markets in India. It provides a comprehensive introduction to Indian savings and investment products, financial planning calculation and tools, investment analysis, lifetime financial provision and tax and estate planning in India.

Common FAQs

1) What is the difference between an investment manager and a fund manager?

Investment managers work with securities, such as bonds, while fund managers focus on different types of funds, such as mutual funds. They invest money on behalf of their clients with the goal of earning profits for their clients.

2) What do investment managers do?

Investment managers, also known as fund managers and asset managers, seek to make their clients' money grow so that they can achieve their goals and aspirations, to help offer a more comfortable future. Investment advisers or brokers can help investors make appropriate choices as to which assets or funds to invest in.

3) How do you become an investment manager?

Let's see what steps you'll need to take to become a portfolio investment manager.

Step 1: Attain a Bachelor's Degree.

Step 2: Earn a Master's Degree.

Step 3: Find a Financial Analyst Position.

Step 4: Acquire Licensure.

Step 5: Register with Securities Agencies.

Step 6: Consider Certification Options.

4) Is the International Certificate in Wealth & Investment Management India right for me?

The International Certificate in Wealth & Investment Management India is suitable for wealth and investment professionals in India who need to demonstrate their knowledge of Indian financial services and regulatory systems and who currently advise clients. It is also suited to postgraduate students and senior practitioners in India who wish to become licensed wealth advisors.


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