Asset Management Career Path - Financial Edge (2024)

What is a Career in Asset Management?

Asset Management is the professional management of types of investments on behalf of clients. These clients might be organizations, institutions, or individuals. Asset managers oversee their clients’ funds and make strategic decisions like asset allocation, stock selection, and risk management. With the primary goal of maximizing the value of investments while mitigating risks.

Asset managers need to have expertise across different asset classes, financial markets, and the economy. As an industry asset management has a huge number of different career paths: Portfolio Manager, Investment Analyst, Equity Research Analyst, Fixed Income Analyst, Hedge Fund Manager, Private Equity Analyst, Real Estate Asset Manager, Wealth Manager, Risk Manager, Quantitative Analyst, Fund Accountant, Compliance Officer.

Key Learning Points

  • The asset management industry is typically known for offering competitive compensation packages combined with a good work-life balance.
  • Finding a position may be challenging as there are fewer jobs than in areas such as investment banking.
  • Competition is keen and employees are highly qualified, typically holding both an advanced degree and professional designations.
  • Asset management can provide an attractive exit opportunity for professionals in investment banking, hedge funds, or even private equity.

Why work in Asset Management?

“Why asset management?” is a popular interview question. While the typical response often mentions a passion for investing, for many the simple truth is that the work-life balance in this field is far better than it is in investment banking or private equity. While compensation is still extremely attractive, hours rarely exceed 60 per week (usually less) and weekends are predominantly free. A career in asset management offers intellectual stimulation and teams are typically diverse in terms of background and education.

Educational Requirements

In terms of education and academic achievements, expectations are high in the field, although it is not as intensely competitive as private equity. A bachelor’s and master’s degree in finance is viewed as an advantage, but sometimes graduates with other majors will be considered. This is especially relevant for sector specialists whose “real-world” experience is perceived as an asset. Graduates from other quantitative disciplines such as physics or mathematics may also be considered, particularly for highly quantitative strategies. The most common qualifications are an MBA or a master’s degree in finance


In asset management, financial certifications are an excellent way to demonstrate competence and dedication and earn an interview. If you are considering a career in asset management or you have recently been hired in an asset management role, enroll in our online portfolio manager course. Master the portfolio management process, watch an expert interview with a wealth manager, and receive a Wall Street recognized certification.The course is deal for anyone currently in the asset management industry or looking to break into the industry with the ultimate goal of becoming a portfolio manager.

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation also adds value to any resume. The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation focuses on alternative investments. In addition, the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment also offers a range of qualifications attractive to employers in the UK.

Last but not least, as ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors are becoming increasingly important to both public and private companies, and are highly valued by employers. Take the ESG Certificate online course, and master the core concepts surrounding ESG analysis, investing, and portfolio construction to create and maintain shareholder value.

Key Skills Required for Asset Management

Some of the key skills required for a successful career in asset management include:

  • Strong financial modeling and writing skills
  • Strong knowledge of financial markets, asset classes and risk
  • Ability to assess an investment’s potential for return
  • Presentation and relationship management skills
  • Critical thinking, both from micro and macro-economic perspective

As an industry asset management has a huge number of different career paths, listed below are the specific skills required for each popular path within asset management.

Portfolio Manager

  • Financial analysis
  • Investment strategy
  • Risk management
  • Client relationship management
  • Communication skills

Equity Research Analyst

  • Equity valuation
  • Industry research
  • Financial analysis
  • Communication skills
  • Presentation skills

Hedge Fund Manager

  • Hedge fund strategies
  • Portfolio management
  • Risk assessment
  • Decision-making
  • Leadership

Private Equity Analyst

  • Private equity analysis
  • Due diligence
  • Valuation techniques
  • Negotiation skills
  • Attention to detail

Real Estate Asset Manager

  • Real estate management
  • Financial analysis
  • Property optimization
  • Negotiation skills
  • Communication skills

Risk Manager

  • Risk assessment
  • Financial modeling
  • Decision-making
  • Communication skills
  • Analytical skills

Wealth Manager

  • Financial planning
  • Investment advisory
  • Client relationship management
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving

Asset Management Salary & Bonus

As you might expect, salaries vary across different organizations (depending on the firm’s size, the type of fund, and seniority). Below is a table outlining the salary ranges of a number of different roles in asset management. The ranges are from analyst to senior levels. Total compensation includes a base salary and a performance-related bonus.

PositionEstimated Salary Range
Portfolio Manager$80,000 – $200,000
Investment Analyst$60,000 – $100,000
Equity Research Analyst$70,000 – $120,000
Fixed Income Analyst$65,000 – $110,000
Hedge Fund Manager$100,000 – $1,000,000+
Private Equity Analyst$70,000 – $120,000
Real Estate Asset Manager$70,000 – $130,000
Wealth Manager$70,000 – $150,000
Risk Manager$80,000 – $150,000
Quantitative Analyst$80,000 – $150,000
Fund Accountant$50,000 – $80,000
Compliance Officer$60,000 – $120,000

Asset Management Hours

As potential candidates might expect, the hours are much better than in areas such as investment banking. The exact number of hours depends on team resources and the market environment, but anything more than 60 hours per week would be extremely rare. Unless something urgent comes up, weekends are usually free.

Asset Management Pros and Cons

The asset management industry offers a range of career opportunities across different functions. It is a popular exit route for investment bankers, benefiting from a better work-life balance, while still providing a competitive salary. The work is intellectually stimulating, particularly for those who are passionate about financial markets and enjoy analyzing companies.

Given these benefits competition for jobs in asset management is extremely high, the number of roles is limited, and demand for roles is high as many investment bankers and hedge fund professionals see asset management as a good exit opportunity.

Is Asset Management Right for You?

This depends on personality. For those who value stability and a good work/life balance but still want substantial compensation, asset management could be the perfect fit. However, the field is still quite competitive and intellectually demanding, so a degree and additional professional qualifications are a must.

For those who enjoy higher-risk environments and strive to generate higher income, investment banking, private equity, or hedge funds may be more appealing.


Asset management careers are typically a good fit for those who seek intellectual challenge, are naturally curious, and have strong knowledge of the financial markets. Compensation is competitive. These factors, combined with good work-life balance makes the industry appealing to experienced candidates from across the financial sector.

Additional Resources

Types of Roles in Asset Management

Investment banking vs asset management

How Asset Management Companies Make Money

The Role of a Portfolio Manager

Asset Management Career Path - Financial Edge (2024)


What is the career path in asset management? ›

As an industry asset management has a huge number of different career paths: Portfolio Manager, Investment Analyst, Equity Research Analyst, Fixed Income Analyst, Hedge Fund Manager, Private Equity Analyst, Real Estate Asset Manager, Wealth Manager, Risk Manager, Quantitative Analyst, Fund Accountant, Compliance ...

Is asset management a lucrative career? ›

Investment banking and asset management offer lucrative career paths for ambitious, high-performing economics and finance students. Jumping into either of these fields often means making a lot of money right out of school.

Does asset management fall under financial services? ›

The most frequent usage of the term portfolio manager (asset manager) refers to investment management, the sector of the financial services industry that manages investment funds and segregated client accounts.

Is CFA worth it for asset management? ›

The value of the CFA vs. CPA depends on your career goals. The CFA is better for professionals who work in asset management and trading, and the CPA is better for professionals who work in auditing and attestation.

What is the highest salary in asset management? ›

Highest salary that a Asset Manager can earn is ₹16.0 Lakhs per year (₹1.3L per month). How does Asset Manager Salary in India change with experience? An Entry Level Asset Manager with less than three years of experience earns an average salary of ₹5.2 Lakhs per year.

Do asset managers make a lot of money? ›

At the Portfolio Manager level, earning potential is around $1.0 – $1.5 million per year.

How prestigious is asset management? ›

Although it may not have quite the cachet of investment banking, asset management is still one of the most prestigious and desirable areas in finance.

How to transition into asset management? ›

Key Takeaways
  1. The Wall Street firms are the toughest to break into. An Ivy League degree helps.
  2. Banks hire asset managers. You might start out as an analyst and work your way up.
  3. If you pass the required exams, you can work for a financial advisor or start your own firm.

How much do asset managers get? ›

Asset Manager Salary in Los Angeles, CA
Annual SalaryHourly Wage
Top Earners$145,463$70
75th Percentile$117,400$56
25th Percentile$80,300$39

What does JP Morgan asset management do? ›

We invest for sustainable return in a sustainable world. Our goal is to create sustainable value for our clients. Our research-led approach is continually evolving to consider everything material to our clients' investments over the long term – including environmental, social and governance factors.

Why go into asset management? ›

It's very rewarding to guide people through large financial decisions, as I know this can be a stressful process for many people unfamiliar with investment concepts. I believe that I can use my expertise in asset management to help others invest their money wisely and beneficially.

How do asset managers make money? ›

In most cases, AMCs charge a fee that is calculated as a percentage of the client's total AUM. This asset management fee is a defined annual percentage that is calculated and paid monthly. For example, if an AMC charges a 1% annual fee, it would charge $100,000 in annual fees to manage a portfolio worth $10 million.

Is CFA harder than CPA? ›

CFA vs CPA Exam difficulty

Both are challenging and require gaining skills and knowledge in complex topics. However, the CPA Exam generally requires less studying - around 80 to 120 hours per section compared to 300 hours per section of the CFA Exam, and the CPA Exam also has a higher pass rate.

Is CFA outdated? ›

If you're aiming to work in roles such as financial analysts, portfolio managers, or investment bankers, the CFA designation can be a valuable asset. However, if you want to pursue careers in other areas of finance, an alternative certification or qualification may be more relevant.

Is passing CFA level 2 a big deal? ›

You fail—you haven't really started at all; you are still in the starting position. Now here comes level II. You pass—congratulations, you are almost done. This is a big deal—you have just one more to go; it's less than a year away and then once you pass that last one you'll practically be a charterholder.

How to land a job in asset management? ›

Get a degree in Finance: Gaining access to a great asset management career requires you to have two basic skills – the knowledge of accounting and financial management and the use of statistical models. Your daily job would be to look through the spread-sheets and dig in the earning reports.

Is asset management a growing field? ›

Job outlook for asset managers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of financial managers to grow 17% from 2021 to 2031.

What degree does an asset manager need? ›

Asset managers must usually have a bachelor's degree and more than 5-10 years of experience in another business or financial occupation, such as a commercial loan officer, accountant, auditor, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

How to switch career to asset management? ›

Key Takeaways
  1. The Wall Street firms are the toughest to break into. An Ivy League degree helps.
  2. Banks hire asset managers. You might start out as an analyst and work your way up.
  3. If you pass the required exams, you can work for a financial advisor or start your own firm.


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