Fund managers provide financial advice and services to private and corporate clients about a range of investment matters, including buying and selling investment trusts and shares or bonds. Fund managers work in the financial sector managing equity funds, currency or property on behalf of clients looking for the best return on their investment. Fund managers work very closely with investment analysts. Fund managers take decisions about investments, while analysts provide them with financial information and recommendations that enable such decisions to be made.
A fund manager’s tasks include:
- regularly meeting with investment analysts and company managers to discuss financial matters
- researching companies
- using statistical methods to obtain, interpret and present information
- reading financial briefings (often written by investment analysts)
- making informed financial recommendations and decisions
- keeping knowledge up-to-date about the economy, current financial news and financial market
- liaising with clients
- assessing the financial value of goods, buildings or services.
PLAYING THE MARKETS
What exactly do you do? In short, I allocate capital. People who save via unit trusts and pensions entrust us to grow their savings faster than the rate of inflation. To this end, we perform an enormous amount of research directed at investing this money in shares, bonds and property to achieve this objective.
What training did you undergo? My formal qualifications are Bachelor of Business Science degree, Qualified Chartered Account (SA) and Qualified Chartered Financial Analyst. Thereafter I did extensive reading and on-the-job training.
Describe a typical day The day starts with a morning meeting, during which the investment team reviews overnight events in global markets and feedback on interaction with company management teams or financial results. Thereafter it’s pretty varied – building financial models, compiling research reports, attending company results presentations, meeting company management teams, presenting to clients, general reading…
What do you enjoy most? It is impossible to get bored – things change all the time, and there is always something new to look at or to learn about. The job entails lots of reading and requires you to keep up with current affairs around the globe. You get to interact with the CEOs of the top businesses in the country and learn how they think. And you are accountable; the results of your efforts are very measurable – either your stock pick ideas/portfolios perform as they should, or they don’t.
Which aspects aren’t you keen on? Very little, although the job can be stressful, and there will be times when things go against you. You need to be able to see these times through as sometimes they present the best opportunities. Because markets are fluid, you never really get to rest on your laurels.
What makes a successful fund manager? One needs to be analytical, level-headed and patient. A strong aptitude for numbers is essential, as is the ability to distil a large amount of information into a few key points. The job requires a strong sense of curiosity and good interpersonal skills to perform research well and communicate ideas to colleagues. You need a thick skin and the confidence to go against the herd when you have a strong conviction on an idea.
Your career highlights thus far? Getting stock calls right or having portfolios perform well is very rewarding; you know that you are helping the people who have entrusted you with their savings to grow their assets meaningfully.
What advice would you like to share with those interested in the field? You need to be interested in investing, and should do some of your own, no matter how small. Be patient – it takes a long time and hard work to build a base of knowledge. Be prepared for things not always going your way – you need to get more calls right than you do wrong, but you won’t always be right.
Describe your job in three words Stimulating • Challenging • Fulfilling
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO I NEED TO BECOME A FUND MANAGER?
A diploma or degree is usually necessary for entry into the profession of fund management. Qualifications in business studies, management, statistics, finance, mathematics, accounting or economics can be helpful, as can an MBA or similar professional qualification. Relevant paid or voluntary experience gained via job shadowing, part-time work and internships is particularly beneficial. Graduates normally enter the industry in investment analyst roles and move over to fund manager roles with experience.
WHERE CAN I STUDY TO BECOME A FUND MANAGER?
University of Pretoria
Bachelor of Commerce
University of Stellenbosch
Bachelor of Accounting
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Bachelor of Commerce
South African College of Business
Programme: CIMA Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting
College of South Africa
CIMA Management Accounting Studies
University of Witwatersrand
Bachelor of Commerce
Cape Peninsula University of Technology
National Diploma: Cost and Management Accounting
South African Institute of Management
1, 2 and 3-year Diploma Courses
Institute of Life and Pension Advisors
Advanced Course in Investment Management
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFO TO BECOME A FUND MANAGER?
WHAT SUBJECTS DO I NEED TO BECOME A FUND MANAGER?
Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended:
• Business Science