In the minds of the public, particularly after the global banking crisis of 2008-2009, all bankers are equal and all equally unpleasant. Of course this is inaccurate. Most bankers consider themselves to be professionals, following a clear ethical code of conduct and delivering expert services to their clients. The financial services field encompasses a wide range of careers, of which investment banking and fund management are only two.
Investment banking is a graduate-only profession. Candidates can have a first degree in any discipline. Increasingly, however, people are applying to join investment banks with MBA and MSc degrees in finance-related subjects such as accounting, economics, and statistics. Most fund managers are also graduates. Some fund management firms offer training schemes to non-graduates to allow them to gain experience in administrative or research roles. From these roles, talented employees can be promoted to fund management positions. Investment banks and fund management firms offer summer internships to students. Many recruit almost entirely from students who have completed these internships.
Training for both investment bankers and fund managers is primarily managed by the company and consists of on-the-job coaching. Graduate training schemes, especially for investment banking, will usually allow trainees to experience working in a range of different department before specializing. There are a number of courses offered by professional bodies and specialist training houses that cover different types of fund, risk management and other aspects of fund management. It is also possible to follow a home study course.
Investment banking is a very broad field. In general, investment banks provide financial services for companies, institutions, government departments and wealthy individuals. They help clients to finance their business activities by raising funds in the capital markets and get the most out of their investments. An investment banker's responsibilities could cover anything from client relationship management to back office functions. A fund manager is a more defined role, and some fund managers work in investment banks. Fund managers make the trading decisions that are designed to grow the funds that they are managing. They analyze the risks involved in each investment and monitor the progress of the fund.
The most junior investment banking position is that of analyst, closely followed by associate. A graduate might expect to spend up to five years in these junior positions before being promoted to vice president, when they will start becoming more involved with client relationships. The most senior position they can aspire to is managing director. Fund management has a less structured career path. As with investment banking, the usual first role is analyst, followed by senior analyst. Promotion to portfolio manager may then follow. After that, everything depends on the performance of the manager's portfolio.
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