Careers in Portfolio Management

Whether you’re looking to jump into the financial sector or wonder what the next step up might be, portfolio management is an excellent career path that can be quite lucrative. But with that salary comes a myriad of requirements, skills, and experience necessary to ensure your success. So how can you become a Portfolio Manager, and what will you need to land a job?

That’s where we come in. This article will give you an overview of how careers in portfolio management work, the education requirements needed, and a few soft skills you should master. Plus, once you’re ready to set yourself apart, we’ve got a great resource that can help you get noticed. 

What is a Portfolio Manager?

Portfolio Managers (also called Investment Managers, Financial Analysts, Asset Managers, and Wealth Managers) are responsible for maintaining a daily investment strategy for their client’s portfolios. They may work in hedge funds, mutual funds, private investment firms, pension plans, or foundations that focus on the securities industry.

Portfolio management careers can be very lucrative thanks to their generous base salary (currently averaging around $98,440) and annual bonuses. Portfolio managers work with a team of analysts to constantly evolve their investment strategies. These analysts help the manager keep up-to-date with the latest financial products that complement a clients’ portfolio or investment goals.

While the job may sound like it’s a day spent watching stock tickers, it’s much more involved than that. A typical day will include meetings with analysts, research, proposal creations, client meetings, and customer service. 

What Do I Need to Become a Portfolio Manager?

To become a portfolio manager, you’ll need to have an extensive financial analysis background. If you have a Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, economics, business, or even engineering, you’ll have an easier time landing a job than someone who doesn’t. Some employers will also require a Master’s degree, though this isn’t across the board. Still, having a graduate degree, especially in a financial or mathematics field, will give you a competitive edge and is well worth the investment. In addition, becoming certified by a professional organization will not only look good on your resume but can help give you a 360-degree approach to securities that will please your clients. 

The SEC requires any person working in a portfolio management career to be licensed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). These include the Series 7 and Series 66 licenses under NASAA Uniform Combined State Law Examination, which is mandatory for any person buying and selling securities on behalf of clients.

If you are managing portfolios over $25 million in assets, you’ll also be required to register directly with the SEC. 

In addition to the degrees, you’ll also need a past portfolio that demonstrates your ability to understand how and when to capitalize on the market. Since you’ll be working in an upper-level position, you should also be able to demonstrate your ability to work with a team while in a leadership role. 

Lastly, this role is client-facing, so you should be comfortable communicating and have excellent interpersonal skills. And while it’s not a requirement, having some success with sales will help you immensely. Most clients want to minimize their risk when investing and are hesitant to try new things. Having experience with sales will make this part of the job so much easier.

The Career Path of a Portfolio Manager

Portfolio management is not a stepping stone in the financial career world; it’s the end goal. Most managers begin as Financial Analysts and work their way up to a Junior role, where they’ll remain for a few years learning the client portfolios their employer works with and will begin to serve their own clients.

As the Junior manager shows competence and success, they’ll be promoted to a Senior management role. This is the top of the portfolio management food chain and is typically the role most retire from. Some managers may move onto CFO, CIO, or other executive positions for those who want to continue their careers. 

Ready to Gain a Competitive Edge?

If you want to gain a competitive edge in this field, we suggest taking a look at our current selection of courses. Held both in-person and online, our certifications will help you stand out in a competitive market while keeping up to date with the latest developments in finance, investing, blockchain, and more. 

Related Courses: Portfolio Management Professional Certificate

Develop core competencies in portfolio management. Learn how to conduct portfolio performance measurement and attribution. Review portfolio strategies for a variety of asset classes including fixed income, equity and alternatives.


August 2019, Portfolio Management Professional Certificate

“Be patient, you’re not as bad as you think. You don’t know it all. There’s always something to learn… Just have an open mind and always be aware of your business environment. Don’t be too confident and don’t be too underconfident.”

About The New York Institute of Finance

The New York Institute of Finance (NYIF) is a global leader in professional training for financial services and related industries. NYIF courses cover everything from investment banking, asset pricing, insurance and market structure to financial modeling, treasury operations, and accounting. The New York Institute of Finance has a faculty of industry leaders and offers a range of program delivery options, including self-study, online courses, and in-person classes. Founded by the New York Stock Exchange in 1922, NYIF has trained over 250,000 professionals online and in-class, in over 120 countries.

See all of NYIF’s training and qualifications here.

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