Do you want to work in finance but don’t know where to start? Or are you already working in the field and looking to move up the career ladder? If so, becoming an investment strategist could be the perfect move for you.
This guide will take you through all of the steps necessary to make it happen. We’ll start by defining what an investment strategist is and what they do in an investment bank. Then we’ll look at the qualifications you need and how to get them. Finally, we’ll give you some tips on making the transition into this exciting career.
What is an investment strategist?
The high-level explanation of what an investment strategist does is that they provide an analysis of opportunities and potential investments for their firm or clients. This can be anything from stocks and bonds to real estate or even commodities like oil and gas.
They use this analysis to make recommendations on where to invest money to get the best return. This is a highly important role, as the decisions made by investment strategists can have a huge impact on the financial well-being of their firm or clients.
Rather than just looking at historical data, they also use their knowledge of the current market to make predictions about where prices are headed in the future. Macro-views are typically a strong suit for investment strategists.
They always have one eye on the big picture and how different investments will perform about each other. This is what sets them apart from the buy-side analysts who are focused on a single security.
For example, an investment strategist will present insights on economic indicators such as recessions, currency devaluations, interest rates, etc. They will then explain how they will impact various asset classes.
What do you need to become an investment strategist?
To do this job well, you need to have a mix of hard and soft skills. On the hard skills side, you need to have a strong understanding of financial concepts and be able to use various software programs.
You should also be able to think critically and solve problems quickly. Understanding complex financial concepts and accurately coming to a reasonable solution is a must in this role. But it’s not all about the numbers.
You also need to have strong soft skills, such as the ability to communicate clearly and work well in a team. This is because you will be working closely with other professionals, such as salespeople, traders, and portfolio managers.
Being able to build relationships and work together is essential in this role. Some investment strategists may work directly with clients, so excellent customer service skills are a plus. Being able to learn the wisdom of the markets as the economic conditions change and explain them simply is a skill that not everyone has.
If you can do this, it will put you ahead of the competition. Empathy for a client's risk tolerance is also an important quality for an investment strategist. This is because you need to be able to understand where they are coming from and what their goals are.
Only then can you give them the best advice possible. As an investment strategist, it may be stating the obvious to say that you need to know how to be an effective strategist. However, it still can't be ignored. Strategy is a critical part of the job, and you need to be able to think several steps ahead.
This includes being able to come up with an investment plan and execute it flawlessly. Having contingencies for the various "what-if" scenarios is also very important. In addition to the skills mentioned above, it is also helpful to have a network of contacts in the industry. This can give you an edge when it comes to finding new opportunities or getting your foot in the door.
Investment banking experience is not required, but it can be helpful. If you don’t have this experience, then you should try to get internships or entry-level jobs at banks or other financial institutions.
This will give you the chance to learn about the industry and develop the skills that you need to be successful. Connections and strong skills are helpful to getting into the industry and proving your competence in this career but formal education is still required.
This career requires professionals that have gone through the studying process and has the credentials to prove it. Firms understand that an investment strategist is responsible for managing a lot of money and making decisions that can impact the firm's returns.
As a result, they want to see that you have the proper education and training before entrusting you with this responsibility.
What qualifications do I need to be an investment strategist?
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for this job, but many investment strategists have a master’s degree or higher. The most important thing is to have a degree in a relevant field, such as finance, economics, or accounting.
This relevancy serves as a baseline for the investment strategist's understanding of financial concepts. An eagerness to learn even after getting the job is also essential because the investment landscape changes rapidly and you need to be able to adapt.
In addition to a degree, many firms will require special licensing. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the most common one and employers must sponsor you to take the test.
The test covers a range of topics, including ethics, investment strategies, and regulations. However, this is usually the step after a hopeful investment strategist has received employment. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation is also something employers look for.
Without a bachelor's degree and at least four years of professional work experience in the sector, you won't be eligible. So, the first step would be to get a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.
The additional licensing can be seen as required for promotion after an employee has worked in the industry and proven that they can be responsible for a higher level career as an investment strategist.
There are many different routes, however, having a foot-in-the-door sort of job at a bank or another financial institution is a great way to start. At the end of the day, it's your competence that qualifies you.
Having a strong foundation of base financial knowledge that is relevant and showing an eagerness to learn more will take you far in this industry.
What does a strategist do in an investment bank?
An investment strategist’s day-to-day job tasks can vary depending on the bank or financial institution they work for. However, there are some common duties that most investment strategists perform.
One of the most important duties of an investment strategist is to develop and maintain relationships with clients. This involves meeting with clients, understanding their needs, and recommending investment products that meet their goals.
Investment strategists also need to stay up-to-date on the latest economic developments and market trends so that they can provide insightful analysis to their clients. In addition to meeting with clients and conducting research, investment strategists also need to write reports and give presentations.
They may also be responsible for managing a team of analysts. Investment strategists typically work in an office setting, but they may travel to meet with clients or attend conferences. Each firm will require different tasks, but generally, these are the types of duties an investment strategist can expect to perform.
If you’re interested in becoming an investment strategist, be sure to research the specific requirements of the position at the firms you’re interested in. With the right education and experience, you can become an investment strategist and help clients make sound investment decisions.
How hard is it to become an investment strategist?
This highly depends on the individual. However, becoming an investment strategist and successfully creating high ROI (return on investment) portfolios, generally requires:
- A passion for finance and investments
- An analytical mind
- The ability to think long-term
- The ability to take calculated risks
- An understanding of both micro and macroeconomic forces
- A network of contacts in the industry
If you're a natural when it comes to money, can think abstractly and long-term, and aren't risk-averse, a career as an investment strategist may be perfect for you. However, it's important to note that even if you have all the required skills and aptitude, it can still be difficult to break into the industry without the right connections.
If formal education is difficult for you, this career path will be difficult. Someone that struggles with interpersonal relationships or gets stressed when learning about finances and employing complex economical probabilities will face difficulties.
Investment strategies aren't the most common job. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. However, with the right skill set, drive, and dedication, a career as an investment strategist is attainable for anyone.
If you’re interested in becoming an investment strategist, you will need to have a strong background in economics and finance. It is also important to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills since much of the job involves meeting with and advising clients.
If you have these qualifications and are looking for a challenging and exciting career in the financial industry, then becoming an investment strategist may be the right choice for you. Becoming an investment strategist isn't for everyone, but it can be rewarding to see clients succeed due to your expertise.
"Chief Investment Strategists" also has a status-worthy title and the average $200,000 salary isn't too shabby either. If you have your heart set on becoming an investment strategist, go for it. After all, someone has to do it and it might as well be you.
With the right qualifications and some experience, you can make a career out of helping people invest their money wisely. Who knows, you might even end up making a lot of money yourself. Just remember to always act in your client's best interests and you'll be sure to succeed.
So, there you have it – everything you need to know about becoming an investment strategist. Have you ever thought about a career in this field? What do you think are the most important qualities for success in this role? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.