Careers in the investment world: how can you get started?

If you are thinking about embarking on a career in the world of investment there are a number of options to consider. However, the three options most people choose to take are in the fields of investment management, investment banking and investment holdings.

Investment management

Investment management is concerned with the management of your client’s assets, which might take the form of bonds, shares or other forms of securities. Clients may be wealthy individuals, institutions or companies looking to maximise the return on their financial assets.

You could be employed by a multinational company with its own in-house asset management team or, more usually, by an investment management company.

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Investment banking

Investment banking is a service available to individuals, companies and even governments that are looking to raise capital by issuing securities against existing assets. As an investment banker you may also be called upon to assist in acquisitions and mergers.

Investment holdings

Investment holdings companies purchase shares in other corporations or companies that provide services or manufacture products. The investment holding company makes its profits by way of dividends generated by these shares, rental income and interest received.

A typical example of an investment holding company is provided by Beirut based M1 Group, which owns shares in companies operating in a diverse range of sectors, from real estate in Monaco, the US and the Middle East, to a Swiss airline and a petroleum company in Luxembourg. You can connect to Najib Mikati, who founded the group along with his brother Azmi, on LinkedIn.

Qualifications and experience

In the past there were few academic requirements: you either had a flair for the job or you didn’t. As you gained experience and your investments became more successful no one was too concerned whether you had a degree or professional qualifications. Today, there are still individuals in senior positions in the industry who have no formal qualifications, but they are rapidly being replaced by graduates with degrees in relevant subjects, such as investment management or financial economics. What’s more, prospective employers are also now starting to take account of which university you graduated from and in some cases showing a preference for candidates with master’s degrees, such as an MBA.

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If you are interested in a career in the sales sector of the investment industry – asset management and pension sales – the academic qualifications are less onerous, though being educated to degree level is certain to improve your chances of success. Similarly, equity managers are not required to have in-depth knowledge of technical mathematics.

No matter what formal educational standard you have achieved, if you wish to become a fund manager, for example, you will almost certainly be expected to enrol on a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) course within weeks of securing employment. This qualification entails 300 hours of your own time each year for three years, and includes three exams.

Though the entry requirements may seem daunting, the rewards in terms of job satisfaction and financial remuneration make it well worth the effort. If you don’t currently possess the qualifications necessary to apply for your chosen job, it might be worth considering a lesser position and using on the job training as a means of gaining promotion.

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