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

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.

Position Estimated 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