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Portfolio Manager:

Portfolio managers will usually work for a money management firm or pension fund to select and manage investments which meet the goals of a group of investors. Many managers now work in specialized commodity funds or hedge funds. Portfolio managers have different styles ranging from a bargain-hunting approach (value investing) to a growth stock selection approach. This work requires patience, discipline and a strong understanding of financial markets and companies.

Portfolio Management Sales:

If you are outgoing and knowledgeable, then you might consider a sales position in portfolio management. This means that you will spend a lot of time putting together presentations for clients (working with the portfolio manager). Each presentation needs to be put together very well and calls for hours of work and strong knowledge of the firm. Firms often are looking for seasoned professionals in this position. People who command respect and trust when making recommendations about ways to invest large sums of money. Expect heavy travel and good pay.

Investment Advisory:

There is a large industry of firms which provide investment advice, performance evaluation and quantitative analysis to the money management sector. This business consists of firms such as Wilshire Associates in Los Angeles, CA which provide customized reports to pension funds and the like. This work requires strong quantitative skills and deep appreciation of finance. 

Mutual Fund Analyst:

Many mutual funds and large pension funds require analysts to do the analytical work required before an investment is made. Is a particular municipal bond safe? What is its interest rate risk as measured by duration and convexity? What other features of the security are important to understand before purchase? This work is analytical and requires a working knowledge of computers, perhaps in the programming dimension. Most mutual fund analysts truly enjoy their jobs because of the sleuthing involved and the fact that the work is different every day.


Don Benson
Fund Manager
Cadence Investments


Hedge Fund Trader:

Hedge funds are opportunistic, private funds which invest in stocks, bonds, currencies and derivatives often using significant amounts of leverage. These funds hire analysts and traders and have exhibited rapid growth in recent years.

Financial Planner:

Financial planners help individuals plan their financial futures. How are you going to cover your retirement needs? What do you have to do today to put your children through college? Financial planners need to have good listening skills, knowledge of different types of investments, knowledge of tax law and the ability to develop their own business. This work can be done within a company such as IDS Financial services or by yourself, as a sole proprietorship. The work pays well and is rewarding if you like to help people. Increasingly, it pays to be reputable and obtain the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.