How Can I Become an Investment Manager?

Explore the career requirements for investment managers. Get the facts about the education requirements, desired skill sets, licensing and salary information to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Finance Investments & Securities degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is An Investment Manager?

Investment managers provide advice and direction so their clients can get the greatest return on their financial assets, including stocks and bonds. These professionals, a type of financial manager, must have in-depth knowledge of the stock market so they can predict trends in the market and advise their clients to take advantage of opportune moments for investing. They work with clients individually to develop an investment strategy based on their financial goals, like whether they want to make bold investment decisions that may pay out quickly or if they would rather be more conservative and possibly make more money over time. The following table provides an overview for this career:

Degree Required Bachelor's degree (minimum for entry-level), master's degree (recommended for better job market opportunities )
Education Field of Study Bachelor's in financial management or economics; master's in business management or administration
Key Skills Goal-oriented, highly motivated, self-reliant, proficient with modern technology
Licensure Series 7 Exam through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority; Series 63 or 66 Exam (requirement for some states)
Job Growth (2014-24) 7% (for financial managers)*
Average Salary (2015) $134,330 (for financial managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need to Be an Investment Manager?

Stock brokers are more commonly known as investment bankers, advisors or managers. These professionals often manage other commodities than stocks, which are altogether known as securities. As an investment manager, you handle portfolios for private individuals or firms while advising and consulting with them. The route to this career title involves starting as a junior advisor or assistant and working up to an account manager.

Although you only need a bachelor's degree in a field such as financial management or economics to pursue entry-level employment in this field, a master's degree in business management or administration may improve opportunities or help individuals attain management status faster. Your undergraduate coursework traditionally spans four years. It includes a general curriculum in the humanities and sciences with more focused studies in macro and microeconomics, financial analysis and strategies, statistics, accounting and business communications. In addition, you should consider pursuing internships and other opportunities for networking in the business world.

What Kind of Skills Do I Need?

Investment management is known for its high stress level and competitiveness. You should be goal-oriented, highly motivated and capable of meeting stringent demands. Your work will benefit from a predisposition toward mathematics and critical thinking. It's also important to be proficient with modern technology, computer science and spreadsheets.

Where Will I Work?

Investment managers work everywhere from large trading houses to small local brokerages. In general, your working environment is typically a comfortable, indoor office setting. You may work very long, irregular hours. Depending on the size, nature and location of your firm, you may be required to travel.

Do I Need to Be Licensed?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you need to register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to work as an investment manager or advisor. To qualify, you must work for your firm for at least four months and pass a Series 7 exam. However, some states also require you to pass the Series 63 or 66 as a secondary licensure. You may also pursue a variety of other voluntary credentials in order to seek opportunities for advancement (

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You could also seek to become a personal financial advisor. These professionals, who perform many of the same duties as financial managers, are generally in charge of overseeing all aspects of an individual's finances, including their investments. In addition, they also help clients make decisions regarding college saving funds, retirement, estate planning, and taking out loans for things like mortgages. This job generally requires a bachelor's degree.

Another option is a career as a budget analyst. Budget analysts must also obtain a bachelor's degree, and they provide feedback to organizations regarding their budget. They analyze organizational spending and possibly recommend ways that a client could cut back on spending.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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