Careers in fund management/administration and investment banking

Graduate careers in fund management/administration and investment banking: getting a job, applications, working life and salaries.

The investment funds industry has grown phenomenally and is now the single largest employer in the international financial services sector in Ireland. Today, the Irish funds industry is recognised internationally as a centre of excellence and innovation in terms of product development and service levels across all fund types, from the traditional ‘simple’ investment fund to the more complex alternative investment fund types like hedge funds, property funds and private equity funds.
This industry, which started with the establishment of the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Dublin in the late 1980’s, now extends way beyond the IFSC and Dublin with many industry companies having established operations throughout Ireland. Industry companies are now located in Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Kildare, Meath and Louth and more companies are planning to expand their operations outside of Dublin. Northern Ireland's funds industry is also growing as part of the general growth of financial services there, with 27,000 people employed in more than 1,200 firms.
The investment funds industry in Ireland is well positioned to take advantage of a global market and is set to experience strong growth in the foreseeable future. This industry offers excellent opportunities to work in a vibrant, dynamic and rewarding business.

What is the Investment Funds Industry?

An investment fund or a collective investment scheme is where a group of people pool their money/savings to gain the benefits of being a single larger investor. The combined might of this group allows them to invest in a wider range of financial products, to spread their risk, to consult experts for advice and specialists to look after their investments. These specialists and experts collectively make up the investment funds industry and they invest, account for, service and manage investment funds in leading global investment centres like Ireland. In fact, Ireland has been one of the fastest growing investment funds centres in the world. The international funds services companies in Ireland include many of the world’s largest financial institutions.

Within the investment funds industry there are three principal organisations: the fund promoter, who markets and sells the investment opportunity to potential investors; the fund manager, who makes the investment decisions to try to increase the value of the fund and the fund administrator, whose responsibility it is to service the fund and to make sure it is managed properly.
While there are some fund promoters and managers based in Ireland, the main focus of the Irish industry is the administration and servicing of funds. Today, the investment funds industry in Ireland directly employs over 12,000 people and this number is expected to continually increase over the coming years.

What is a Fund?

A fund is where a group of people (shareholders) pool their savings to invest in financial assets, typically securities or shares. By pooling their savings they gain the benefits of being a larger investor, allowing them to invest in a wider range of financial products, to spread their risk, to have experts advise them on their investment and to have specialist service providers/ administrators look after the fund for them.

Who does what in the Funds Industry?

Within the funds industry there is such a wide range of services provided and products available that the roles and responsibilities of the people working in the industry and the opportunities available are equally wide and varied, nearly as wide and varied as the CVs of the people who have come to work in the industry. Many of the careers being developed are directly related to the servicing of investment funds e.g. Transfer Agency, Fund Accounting, Custody, Financial Reporting, Client Relationship Management, Trustee, Risk & Compliance, Taxation. However, there are many other careers in the business support areas e.g. Information Technology, Human Resources, Marketing, Business Development and Finance

Within banking you could be working in:

  • Investment banking – helping organisations raise funds in the capital markets.
  • Corporate banking – providing financial services to high turnover organisations.
  • Private banking – providing financial services to high-net worth individuals.

Getting a job in fund management/administration and investment banking

The entry route to jobs in this sector is generally through a graduate training scheme, often after completing an internship.

Some banks offer a number of different graduate training schemes, specific to their different divisions. Others will offer training schemes that include rotations between different areas of the business – and sometimes between different countries.

The application process

It’s usual to go through a three-stage application process: an application form (often online) followed by a first round interview and an assessment centre. You can get advice on all of these from your university careers office.

When to apply

Applications for all jobs in the finance sector tend to fall early in the academic year, so keep your eyes open for deadlines.

Skills required to work in fund management/administration and investment banking

You don’t necessarily need a finance degree, although you will need to be numerate, but these jobs usually require a 2.1 degree or above. Employers will also be looking for evidence of your analytical skills and a confident manner. Good interpersonal skills are particularly important for careers in banking. For jobs in the funds industry, you’ll need a strong interest in the financial markets and the ability to learn quickly.

Opportunities for professional development

A graduate training programme in this sector is an excellent basis for career progression and you will continue learning as you move up the corporate ladder.

Salaries in fund management/administration and investment banking

As you would expect from this competitive area of work, the rewards can be very good. Within the specific field of fund management/administration and investment banking, salaries are likely to be higher than in the rest of the financial services sector.

Working life

Working in the financial markets is a fast-paced, demanding career. Working hours vary: traders, in particular, tend to work an earlier day.