Investment management and fund management
Investment banks, investment management companies and fund management companies offer a range of job opportunities for graduates.
Investment management concerns investing money in the best way to ensure it provides a good return for organisations or individuals. This can be in a variety of ‘asset classes’, such as equities, shares or bonds. There are employment opportunities with investment banks and specific investment management companies, such as fund management companies (also known as asset management).
Different areas of work
Roles within the funds industry can be known by a number of different job titles and responsibilities can overlap depending on the nature of the organisation. Within the funds industry, you could be working in:
- Fund Accounting: The Fund Accountant is responsible for performing a range of accounting responsibilities in order to maintain and report on a series of funds as required by regulations and our service level agreements with clients. Responsibilities include a wide range of accounting calculations (Net Asset Valuations, reconciliations, market pricing), together with report generation, as well as interaction with clients and other internal departments to ensure the accuracy of the fund valuations.
- Transfer Agency: The Transfer Agency's role is to provide back-office support to clients through processing financial and non-financial transactions, as well as quality client service and communication. Responsibilities include administration of clients’ trades and maintenance of register, processing of cash movements and reconciliation as well as administration of clients/Investors correspondence.
- Market data: Market Data is comprised of four core areas:pricing, corporate actions, derivatives and client reporting and risk analysis. Collectively the department is responsible for providing up to date information on the securities held by the funds. Accurate pricing is required by clients at key regular deadlines but also on demand for certain securities.
- Trustee/compliance:The Trustee's role is to assist with review of fund documentation and completing of review programmes in order to ensure appropriate monitoring of funds. They assist in the review of funds to ensure compliance with regulatory investment restriction and borrowing power limits.
- Financial reporting Financial Reporting involves preparing and reviewing financial reports on behalf of clients. Responsibilities of Financial Reporting include filing annual reports/interim reports to the Central Bank of Ireland, The Irish Stock Exchange, National Futures Association and the relevant GAAP (Irish, UK and IAS), preparing quarterly financial returns to the Central Statistics Office and dealing with clients and auditors queries.
- Custody Custody provides cash management, cash reconciliation and cash distribution services in addition to monitoring the trading of funds. The role involves the accurate completion of various reconciliations, monitoring and ensuring outstanding items are documented and that rigorous follow up takes place to ensure timely resolution. In addition, other routine tasks within Custody may include trade processing and answering queries.
As in many other areas of finance, risk management is important to the funds industry – especially within hedge fund management.
The entry route into investment management is usually through a graduate scheme, preferably after completing an internship. Investment management teams usually specialise in particular types of investments. In larger companies, it isn't uncommon to be working with a team of four to ten people and you may have the opportunity to travel.
Many different graduates work in the funds industry, ranging from those with business-related degrees to those with arts degrees. Depending on the area you work in, you may be offered the opportunity to gain a professional qualification. Language skills may be advantageous.
Specific skills you need to work in investment management and fund management vary slightly depending on the area in which you work. However, interpersonal skills and the ability to thrive in pressured environments and an affinity for the markets are always valuable.
Your first step should be the employers advertising on this website. Careers services also advertise vacancies and hold careers fairs and events, at which you can meet recruiters and talk to their graduate employees.
Choosing where to apply
It is important to choose an employer you will be happy working for. You can gain a feel for organisations through their recruitment literature, their corporate websites and through meeting their representatives at careers fairs and interviews. Remember that you are selecting the employer as much as they are selecting you and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Applying for fund management jobs
Generally graduate recruitment in this sector is considered a three-step process:
An online application form
These cover all the information you would expect to include in a CV and are sometimes accompanied by a numerical reasoning test or personality type questionnaire. Check the relevant company’s graduate recruitment guidelines on its website or brochure.
These are normally held on the company’s premises or sometimes in local hotels or colleges. They are attended by representatives from the business area to which you have applied.
These last from a few hours up to two days. Assessment centres include group exercises, case studies, in-tray exercises and psychometric tests. These are designed to identify whether or not you have the technical and/or personal skills to succeed in the job.
If you’re lucky enough to be offered more than one place – or if you’ve got a job offer and another interview coming up – and want to wait before accepting or rejecting an organisation, pick up the phone and explain the situation to the HR department. It’s in their interests that you find a workplace that suits you best and they’ll appreciate your honesty.
Gaining work experience
It will greatly enhance your recruitment chances if you complete related work experience. It may lead to a job offer, as many finance recruiters use it as part of their graduate recruitment process. It is vital that you prepare your work experience application as scrupulously as you would for a permanent position. Many employers run formal internships. These are typically available in the summer (usually lasting ten weeks) and are mostly designed for penultimate-year students. They give you a taster of the different types of work the organisation does, as well as networking opportunities.
Fund management and investment banking is such a competitive area for graduates that those who haven’t researched the sector and employers they are applying to will get left behind. It will help your application and interview experience to know the services that the employer offers; the typical graduate entry positions and career paths; some recent developments within the firm; and who the recruiter’s main competitors are.