Asset management is a broad term used to describe many different positions. The key responsibility bringing these positions under the asset management umbrella, is the managing of investments for others. This requires balancing the desire for performance with the ability to handle risk. Asset management is similar to investment banking, but asset managers tend to work on the buy side while investment bankers tend to work more on the sell side. Investment bankers sell financial products and asset managers purchase various financial products for their clients.

Asset Management and Wealth Management

Within the field of asset management there are two major categories of positions. The first are asset managers whose sole focus is on assets. For example, a research analyst who works on a micro-cap investment strategy. The second category can be described as wealth management. These positions work with both assets and individuals, typically high net worth clients. Wealth management roles consider all assets in an individual’s portfolio and typically work with the individual to create a holistic financial plan. Careers in asset management and wealth management often have a large amount of overlap and both can be quite lucrative.

Skills and Responsibilities

A job in asset management involves researching macro and micro trends, reviewing different companies, and conducting statistical analyses. In order to advance in an asset management career, you’ll need analytical skills as well as management skills and excellent communication.

Education and Licenses

You will almost certainly need an undergraduate degree to work in asset management, but there is no specific educational requirement. An advanced degree is also an asset but not a requirement. Depending on exactly what area of asset management you enter to, you may also need a series license. Getting a series license requires taking an exam proving your knowledge of certain securities. Different licenses are required for different types of securities – series 7, Series 63, and Series 3 are some of the most common.


According to Glassdoor, the average salary for an asset manager is $76,232 per year. Many of the larger companies that offer more lucrative positions reside on Wall Street, which explains why the average asset manager salary jumps to $93,658 in New York City. Though positions with larger firms may prove more lucrative, they often require putting in considerably more hours. This means that when considering the amount you’re earning per hour, it may not be quite as lucrative as it sounds.

Career Path

A career in asset management usually begins with a job as a research analyst. From there, you typically choose to either continue exclusively in asset management or to branch out into wealth management. If you choose to stick to managing exclusively assets, the next step on the career path is often a position as a portfolio manager. In wealth management, the next step may be becoming a financial advisor. There is a large amount of overlap between asset management and wealth management, so the career path is fairly flexible. For example, you may move from research analyst to portfolio manager, to wealth advisor or if you’re at a small financial advisor firm you may act as both portfolio manager and wealth advisor.

A career in asset management if often challenging but comes with a flexible career path and lucrative compensation.

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