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Adolfo Levano BUS 1010

E-Portfolio Term Project Paper


Portfolio Management Careers
Since coming to the United States I have been very interested in the stock market and
aspired to work in this industry. I know it is a challenging field and that I will have to do a lot of
preparation and hard work to get there, but if I could eventually work on Wall Street trading
stocks it would be a dream come true. I have enjoyed this opportunity to research more about this
industry and what steps I will need to take to eventually get there.

For this paper I have researched the position of a portfolio manager. A portfolio manager
generally works at an investment firm and is the person responsible for making the decision of
where to invest fund assets. These assets normally come from people who have invested with the
company so a portfolio managers goal is to get investors the best return on their money. A
portfolio manager meets with a team of financial analysts and researchers to gather ideas or
opportunities that the market can offer. However, the portfolio manager has the pressure of
making sure that the strategy that was chosen will bring profits to the company and to the
investors (Granville, 2014).

There are several characteristics that tend to be important for a portfolio manager; one of
them that I found interesting is tenacity. A portfolio manager is normally the first one at the
office and the last one to leave. He has to follow the market, financial news, and virtually all
current events that could affect markets. When the market opens early in the morning he needs to
be in the office and ready to go. Throughout the day, he follows the markets looking for

Adolfo Levano BUS 1010


opportunities to invest and meets with his team of financial analysts to get their data and ideas as
well. A portfolio manager may also have additional responsibilities such as meeting with
potential investors either in person or over the phone or to do interviews with news stations or
newspapers. There are several types of portfolio managers because there are different types of
funds and investment vehicles that they can manage (Granville, 2014).

Just like there are several types of portfolio managers, there are also several paths that
lead to being a portfolio manager, but most paths start by getting an entry-level position as a
financial analyst at either a portfolio management firm or an investment bank (Portal, 2014).
After getting to the entry-level position it is important to get additional training and pass
licensing examinations such as Series 7, 63 or 66 (Jenny, 2014). Networking is also an important
part of the job path that cant be ignored in the business world. It will probably take several years
as a financial analyst to gain the experience and connections needed to become a portfolio
manager. Another important step that can give an aspiring portfolio manager an advantage is
passing the three examinations needed for a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification
(Jenny, 2014).

Along with a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification, certain education is


needed to get on the path to becoming a portfolio manager. For starters, a bachelors degree is
needed either in finance or economics. Also experience and training about different financial
subjects such as bond valuations, capital markets and interest rates, financial statement analysis,
equity strategies, portfolio management, international economics and trade, and computer
research (Moynihan, 2014). In addition, my research shows that a masters degree in business
with emphasis in finance or economics is common among portfolio managers (Moynihan, 2014).

Adolfo Levano BUS 1010


Although a lot of education and experience is required to become a portfolio manager,
the salary can make all the effort worth it. The median salary for an entry-level portfolio
manager is $59,849 which can be increased with experience and specialization in certain markets
or investments. A mid-level portfolio manager, on average, can make $83,200 and in the state of
New York the median pay is actually $101,349. By the time a portfolio manager is experienced
in his career, median pay is $102,803 and $136,609 in New York. By the time a portfolio
manager is looking towards retirement the median pay is $128,680. Another advantage of being
a portfolio manager is the opportunity to make a bonus above and beyond the annual salary. The
average bonus for an experience portfolio manager is between $3,078 and $53,455 annually and
if that doesnt get you excited there is also the opportunity of adding profit sharing to the
portfolio managers compensation of anywhere from $1,981 to $27,404. Finally, many portfolio
managers also receive a commission based on their performance of anywhere from $1,968 to
$37,191 (PayScale, 2014). These numbers were reported by PayScale and are based on national
salary data and specifically information from 655 portfolio managers. Clearly, there is a lot of
money to be made if you can break into the world of portfolio management and perform well. It
also helps to live in New York, which is where Wall Street is located.

The position of a portfolio manager is closely linked to the economy and how the markets
are doing; meaning if the markets and the economy are doing well, then there will be a lot more
positions open for this type of job. On the other hand, if the economy goes through another
Great Depression then portfolio management jobs will be harder to find. However, just like
with any career, when the economy is down people are going to lose their jobs, but the ones who
perform best will be most likely to keep their jobs. In an interview with a high profile portfolio
manager he talks about getting laid off during the recent recession due to the fact that the

Adolfo Levano BUS 1010


company was struggling. In his case he got a good severance package and was able to find a new
job in the financial industry (Lee, 2014). Though the availability of jobs will ebb and flow with
the stock market, as long as there is a stock market in the United States or in the world there will
always be portfolio management jobs.

To gain further insight into portfolio management, I interviewed one of my neighbors


who works for a major financial institution. He got started by getting a bachelors degree in
business and eventually got a masters degree in finance while he was working at a bank. He
worked his way up in the banking industry to his current position as a portfolio manager. In an
average day, he talks to his clients, goes to meetings, and he mentioned how important it is to be
informed of the current financial news at all times. He said that he likes solving problems and
figuring out the best ways to keep his clients happy and to increase his clients assets. His least
favorite part of his job is the required paperwork and documentation, but overall he really enjoys
his job and hopes to continue working in this industry for a long time (Carlson, 2014).

My research agrees with the opinion of my neighbor about the pros and cons of being a
portfolio manager. The most common pros are that a portfolio manager enjoys the challenges
that the job offers and, since it is based on the markets, it is very stimulating. It is exciting to
work with the amount of money that a portfolio manager is in charge of managing and to get
well compensated for performing well. There is always the paperwork and the administrative
stuff that it is not as much fun and the schedule can be a con for some people. Portfolio
management is a competitive and intense career so it means a lot of hours at the office, arriving
at the office before the market opens and not leaving until after it closes. Individuals that cant

Adolfo Levano BUS 1010


handle intense pressure may struggle in this industry. It is not an ideal job for everyone (Lee,
2014).
As far as my fit in this career, I now have a clearer picture of what it will actually take
to become a portfolio manager and the hard work and responsibility that is needed to hold this
position. I feel that with the experience I have from working in sales for eight years and now
managing mortgage-backed security loans, I have proven to myself that I can handle a high
pressure environment. I would describe myself as tenacious and willing to work harder and
longer than the next guy. My old boss used to tell me that in order to succeed, you have to be the
first one in the office and the last one to leave. I have always remembered that saying and
followed it in whatever job I have worked. I also have good interpersonal skills and sales
experience, which can increase pay for a portfolio manager. In the last couple years, I have done
some trading in currency markets and I have learned that it takes discipline and self-control to
stick to a trading strategy. These are also skills that I have and am developing that would help me
as a portfolio manager. I am currently close to finishing an associates degree in business and I
have plans to get a bachelors degree in finance or accounting and after that I would also like to
get a masters degree in business. The portfolio management industry is heavily focused in New
York and I would love to live there and even work on Wall Street.

In conclusion, after researching and increasing my understanding of the portfolio


management industry, I am more excited than ever to pursue a career in portfolio management. I
was surprised to learn how important staying up on current events is for a portfolio manager. I
plan to pay more attention to national and world news from now on. I recognize that it will be a
long road to become a portfolio manager, but Im taking the first steps now by completing my

Adolfo Levano BUS 1010


associates degree in business, working in my current job, and trading on the side. Its only a
matter of time, but I will accomplish my goals.

Adolfo Levano BUS 1010


Sources

Carlson, R. (2014, December 7). What it is like to be a portfolio manager. (A. Levano,
Interviewer)
Granville, C. (2014, December 6). Preparing for a Career as a Portfolio Manager. Retrieved
from investopedia:
http://www.investopedia.com/articles/financialcareers/07/portfolio_manager.asp
Jenny, L. M. (2014, December 6). How to Become a Portfolio Manager. Retrieved from Wiki
How: http://www.wikihow.com/Become-a-Portfolio-Manager
Lee, S. H. (2014, December 12). Breaking Back Into Finance: How to Resurrect a Career in
Fund Management When Youre Stuck in a Dead-End Job. Retrieved from Mergers &
Inquisitions: http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/breaking-into-fund-management/
Moynihan, B. (2014, December 11). Become a Portfolio Manager. Retrieved from Monster:
http://career-advice.monster.com/job-search/company-industry-research/portfoliomanagement-career/article.aspx
PayScale. (2014, December 11). Experienced Portfolio Manager Salary. Retrieved from
PayScale:
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Portfolio_Manager/Salary/4db5f988/Experie
nced
Portal, E. (2014, December 6). Portfolio Manager: Education Requirements and Career Info.
Retrieved from Education Portal: http://educationportal.com/articles/Portfolio_Manager_Education_Requirements_and_Career_Info.html