Types of Roles in Asset Management - Financial Edge (2024)

What Are the Different Types of Roles in Asset Management?

Although it may not have quite the cachet of investment banking, asset management is still one of the most prestigious and desirable areas in finance. Many graduates and experienced professionals are eager to work in the field, and it’s a preferred exit route for investment bankers who want a better work/life balance without sacrificing compensation. A variety of different skill sets can be applicable in an asset management setting. For example, front office roles demand strong knowledge of the markets and investments, while middle and back office jobs require strong operational and administrative skills. Typically, entry requirements are high as competition is intense. In some areas, specialized knowledge beyond finance can be a valuable asset. For example, candidates with math or physics degrees are often in demand for quantitative strategy roles.

Key Learning Points

  • Asset management is a prestigious field that demands top talent. There are fewer positions available than in areas such as investment banking, and the relatively lower number of jobs coupled with the high level of qualifications can make landing an opportunity in this field a challenge.
  • Asset management offers an attractive work/life balance, along with excellent remuneration packages that vary across firms and
  • There are various types of roles that fall into two or sometimes three categories – front office, middle office, and back office.
  • Although hierarchical structures are relatively flat compared to investment banking, asset management jobs still offer excellent prospects for career advancement.

Actual Role and Responsibilities

As already mentioned, job responsibilities vary widely depending on the segment of the business.

Front Office

Managing money and all client-facing activities fall within the front office. Positions include portfolio manager, research analyst, product specialist, and relationship managers. This is regarded as the most interesting segment of the asset management business, but landing a job requires a strong academic record, significant market and investment knowledge, and soft skills like presentation and communication skills. Below are some positions:

Research Analyst

Research analysts typically do the heavy lifting on researching different markets, sectors, industries and companies in order to make investment recommendations for portfolio managers. Depending on the level of experience, education, and other qualifications, research roles can be junior or senior. Asset management firms usually offer a range of products in different asset classes such as equity, fixed income, alternatives, or multi-asset. Analysts tend to specialize not just in a specific asset class, but also by sector. For example, credit analysts may focus on investment grade or high yield bonds, while equity analysts focus on an industrial sector such as financials, consumer discretionary, utilities, etc.

Portfolio Manager

Also known as a fund manager, the PM is in charge of the overall management of an investment strategy. Their activities include portfolio construction, asset allocation, security selection, ongoing monitoring, and rebalancing portfolios. They are usually very experienced investors who have spent time in an analyst role before moving into money management. They typically report to the Chief Investment Officer and are accountable to a number of internal bodies such as the risk committee.

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Middle and Back Office

The objective of middle and back office roles is to provide support and facilitate the smooth operation of investment teams. Middle office roles include compliance officer, risk manager, and trader, while accounting and administration are considered as back office.


Also known as a dealer or broker, this role is responsible for executing orders from fund managers. They trade in various instruments such as equity and debt, provide bid and ask quotes, and are involved in market making activities. Depending on the jurisdiction in which the entity is registered, dealer activities are regulated and rigorously monitored by regulators in order to prevent insider trading or front running.

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Fund Accountant

Fund accountants engage in reporting activities and calculate the net asset value (NAV) of the fund, which is typically done daily for liquid funds. For less liquid strategies, NAV may be calculated on a monthly or quarterly basis. NAV is estimated on a per share basis and depends on inflows and redemptions in the fund since the previous calculation.

How to Break in and Top Companies

To break into the asset management industry, candidates use a few approaches. Many firms offer structured programs for graduates that include rotations across various departments in the business, which could be followed by an offer after completion (typically a program lasts for two years). Another route is to apply for junior roles that do not require experience and offer learning opportunities. The third approach is to secure a position in the middle or back office and work toward moving into the front office over time.

For more experienced candidates, an analyst position is the main target. Candidates with a background in investment banking, private equity, or accounting typically offer relevant skills.

BlackRock is the largest asset manager in the industry, as measured by assets under management. Other large companies include names such as Vanguard, JP Morgan, T Rowe Price, and Columbia Threadneedle.

Education and Qualifications

When it comes to education, asset managers are looking for talented individuals who can demonstrate a high level of numeracy, intellectual curiosity, and strong soft skills. Our online portfolio manager course will help you to master the skills needed to build successful investment portfolios, and upgrade your resume with a Wall Street recognised certificate.

While a bachelor’s degree is considered a prerequisite, many decide to pursue graduate degrees such as a Master’s in Finance or Master of Business Administration (MBA) after a few years of experience in order to advance their careers.

Another way to demonstrate a high level of competence is by obtaining professional qualifications that may include the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) or Chartered Wealth Manager. These credentials are highly valued.

Compensation, Advantages and Exit Opportunities

Compensation in asset management can be quite attractive. Junior base salaries start around $70,000 and compensation also includes a performance-related bonus. After a few years of experience, base salaries typically exceed $150,000.

Typically, turnover in the asset management industry is much lower than in investment banking given the more attractive balance of personal life and compensation. However, those who want to move to private markets or hedge funds should be well positioned to do so. In addition, it is not unusual for analysts to take senior financial positions in portfolio companies since they offer significant industry expertise coupled with strong knowledge of the companies they cover.

In the free download you will find typical activities and responsibilities across the front, middle, and back office.

Types of Roles in Asset Management - Financial Edge (2024)


What are asset management roles? ›

Thus, an asset manager's role is to determine what investments to make or avoid and to realize the client's financial goals within the client's risk tolerance limits. The investments may include stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, alternative investments, and mutual funds, among the better-known choices.

What are the 3 main asset management types? ›

Historically, the three main asset classes have been equities (stocks), fixed income (bonds), and cash equivalent or money market instruments. Currently, most investment professionals include real estate, commodities, futures, other financial derivatives, and even cryptocurrencies in the asset class mix.

What are the different roles in fund management? ›

A typical fund management team includes three core roles: senior deal team leader, associate, and analyst.

What are the 5 core components of asset management? ›

  • Asset Inventory. ● ...
  • Level of Service. Level of Service (LOS) defines the way in which the City stakeholders want the City to perform over the long term. ...
  • Critical Assets.
  • Revenue Structure. ...
  • Capital Improvement Project Plan.

What are the three areas of asset management? ›

While the definition of asset management may differ from one organization to another, they can be vastly classified into three types: physical, financial, and contractual.

What are the roles and responsibilities of an asset management officer? ›

Asset Manager duties and responsibilities

Manage and oversee the acquisition, disposal, and transfer of assets. Monitor and analyze asset performance, including utilization, maintenance costs, and downtime. Ensure compliance with all relevant regulations, standards, and policies related to asset management.

What are the 5 P's of asset management? ›

What is the 5P's? The 5P's represent - People, Philosophy, Product, Process, Performance. In finance, the 5P's served as a rule-of-thumb guide for our evaluation of whether to invest in a particular fund - hedge funds or private equity funds in my context.

What is asset management in finance? ›

Asset management is the day-to-day running of a wealth portfolio. It is usually headed by an investment manager. The management of assets involves building a portfolio of investments. This includes assessing risks, finding opportunities, and developing an overarching strategy for reaching a set of financial objectives.

Who are the big three asset managers? ›

Within the world of corporate governance, there has hardly been a more important recent development than the rise of the 'Big Three' asset managers—Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors, and BlackRock.

What are the three roles of financial management? ›

The financial manager's responsibilities include financial planning, investing (spending money), and financing (raising money). Maximizing the value of the firm is the main goal of the financial manager, whose decisions often have long-term effects.

What are the divisions of asset management? ›

Broadly speaking, there are 4 main areas: stocks, bonds, commodities, and alternative investments. These are all different types of investments in the financial markets, each with their own risk and return profiles.

What is the middle office in asset management? ›

What Is the Middle Office? The middle office is the department in a financial services company, investment bank, or hedge fund that sits in between the front and back office. It typically manages risk and calculates profits and losses.

What is an asset management framework? ›

The asset management accountability framework is a policy that aims to ensure an agency's asset base addresses its service delivery objectives.

What are the four general phases of asset management? ›

The four general phases of asset management strategies are planning, acquisition, utilization, and disposal. The planning phase requires organizations to set targets, come up with policies, and design strategies so that assets are managed well.

Which 3 are principles of asset management? ›

These Asset Management Principles are briefly characterized:

“Failure Modes” – not all assets fail in the same way. “Probability” – not all assets of the same age fail at the same time. “Consequence” – not all failures have the same consequences.

What is an example of asset management? ›

Managing the estate of someone with wealth is an example of asset management. Having a certain number of investments and property is a full-time job to oversee, so an asset manager is hired to do so.

What are the roles and responsibilities of IT asset management? ›

Works with IT vendors to purchase hardware, software, and devices. Coordinates computer lifecycle replacement and management. Oversees computer and device inventory for online classes. Handles Enterprise Software license and software maintenance renewals.

What does it asset management do? ›

IT asset management (also known as ITAM) is the process of ensuring an organization's assets are accounted for, deployed, maintained, upgraded, and disposed of when the time comes. Put simply, it's making sure that the valuable items, tangible and intangible, in your organization are tracked and being used.

What is the primary duty of an asset manager? ›

An asset manager plays a pivotal role in selecting, maintaining, inspecting and disposing of assets in a company. They are responsible for formulating strategies that will increase the value of an asset over time.

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