Fund Manager Job Description
Fund managers direct financial investments and activities for clients, often actively managing funds that include a mix of stocks, bonds, and other securities. In this role, fund managers analyze market data and client investment goals to develop funds that balance income with risk management, which can change depending on market activities and the client’s investment objectives.
This role tends to be relatively high stress due to the uncertain nature of financial markets, but fund managers utilize their financial industry expertise and market knowledge to develop portfolios that can weather times of uncertainty or upheavals in the market. Fund managers also ensure that they follow industry regulations and best practices in investing and reporting.
Fund Manager Duties and Responsibilities
Based on postings that we analyzed, most fund managers share several essential duties:
Direct Client Investment Activities
The primary role of a fund manager is directing client investment activities for stocks, bonds, and securities within a particular fund. Fund managers conduct analysis to determine which securities provide the greatest return on investment and mitigate client risk. Many also take an active role in managing fund activities, deciding which securities to incorporate into the fund’s mix of products.
Provide Investment Advice
Fund managers provide investment and financial management advice to their clients and to other financial professionals. They may recommend rebalancing a fund, for example, based on investment objectives and performance. Additionally, the fund manager may advise clients on long-term strategies for financial management and explain how a particular fund fits into their overall goals.
Monitor Fund Performance
From day to day, fund managers also monitor the performance of the funds that they manage. They may focus on one particular fund or manage a suite of financial products. Many fund managers conduct weekly meetings to assess fund performance and identify shortcomings, developing strategies to offset losses and drive profitability. Fund managers also take corrective actions to improve fund performance.
Complete Financial Transactions
Fund managers also complete financial transactions on behalf of their clients and the funds they manage. This typically involves buying and selling stocks, bonds, and securities, but can also include complex transactions to drive profitability or reduce risk. Fund managers weigh the risks and benefits of each transaction, determining whether they fit into the fund’s strategies and deliver value to clients.
Maintain Portfolio Records
While conducting investment and oversight activities, fund managers maintain records and documentation related to investments and transactions. Fund managers may develop weekly, quarterly, or annual reports on fund performance, along with reports of their activities related to managing the fund. Additionally, fund managers may develop documents related to their funds to distribute to clients.
Ensure Adherence to Financial Regulations
Fund managers also ensure that their investment activities adhere to financial industry regulations, conducting audits to prevent fraud and ensure that they are not putting client investments at risk unnecessarily. Fund managers may need to submit documents and reports to oversight bodies or appear before regulators to explain decisions they make regarding fund management.
Fund Manager Skills and Qualifications
Fund managers oversee client investment and financial activity through active investing and securities management. Workers in this role tend to have at least a bachelor’s degree, financial industry experience, and the following skills:
- Investment expertise – fund managers oversee a wide range of investment products, so they should have a high level of knowledge about different securities and financial products and how they support investor goals
- Client service – this role requires strong client service skills, since fund managers work closely with clients to understand their goals and make financial decisions that support both long- and short-term investment objectives
- Familiarity with financial regulations – fund managers should also thoroughly understand financial laws and procedures in order to protect client investments and ensure that they are making legal and sound decisions
- Networking skills – in this role, fund managers need to build their professional network and client base, so they should be excellent relationship-builders and feel comfortable with networking to stay informed about industry trends
- Documentation skills – fund managers prepare financial documents such as disclosures and reports, so they must be able to craft and edit these documents while ensuring accuracy
- Communication skills – written and verbal communication are both essential in this position, since fund managers communicate directly with clients and other financial services professionals
Fund Manager Education and Training
Generally, fund managers need at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance, accounting, or economics. Many brokerage organizations prefer candidates with advanced degrees in these fields. Most fund managers also have at least five years of experience in a financial services or business role. While certification is not necessarily required, many fund managers obtain a chartered financial analyst (CFA) or certified public accountant (CPA) designation, both of which require periodic recertification and continuing professional education.
Fund Manager Salary and Outlook
Fund manager salaries can vary based on a number of factors, including whether their pay is based on salary, commission, or a combination of the two. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial managers earn a median annual salary of $125,080. The highest-paid workers in this role earn more than $208,000 per year, while the lowest-paid financial managers earn less than $66,480 annually.
The BLS expects employment of financial managers to grow at a faster-than-average pace of 19 percent through 2026.
We searched the web and found a number of helpful resources if you’re interested in working as a fund manager:
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority – FINRA is the central governing and oversight body for the financial industry. It provides rules and regulations in addition to training, professional development, and certifications
Fundamentals of Financial Management – this book provides an in-depth overview of the financial management industry, along with examples based on real-world corporate finance
National Association of Active Investment Managers – fund managers can join NAAIM to connect with other professionals in the field, access educational and professional development materials, and attend events
Fund Management: An Emotional Finance Perspective – read this book to learn about balancing the emotional strain of working as a fund manager. It focuses on acting in times of uncertainty and balancing the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the role
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