Many finance professionals go for financial modeling, investment banking and private equity profiles. But if you want to stand out and have solid understanding of equity market, you can stand out in the crowd and choose to pursue one of the most lucrative finance career options. Yes, you guessed it right. We’re talking about Mutual Fund Analyst.
The reason we urge you to try this (subject to you’re willing) is because there’s a market crunch for right talent. There’re more than 200 Asset Management Companies (AMC) who have thousands of mutual funds. But there’re not enough qualified individuals to fit the bill.
So what do you need to become a mutual fund analyst?
As a mutual fund analyst, you would be working under a mutual fund manager and would be responsible for research and market analysis so that the fund managers can make sound investment decisions for clients.
Now mutual fund analyst is the starting point, not the end. If you have ambition and aspiration for growth, you can become a mutual fund manager in the years to come.
Let’s investigate in detail what it needs to be a qualified mutual fund analyst.
- Education required for Mutual Fund Analyst
- Job Responsibility of Mutual Fund Analyst
- Skills Required
- Beyond Mutual Fund Analyst
You would agree that a qualified mutual fund analyst needs to have required educational qualification to get placed in big or small companies. So, here’s the list of education you can think of, if you would like to become a mutual fund analyst. But, remember, your focus would always be to know more about mutual funds.
- The first criterion to be an entry level mutual fund analyst is to have a bachelor’s degree in finance or similar discipline. That means if you have a graduate degree in economics, accounting, tax, investment analysis or finance & accounts, you’re good to go. But don’t stop there. Because to add more value to your organization, you need to add more value to yourself.
- So go for a master degree as well. If you do Masters in Finance or MBA in Finance (it’s a better option), you will be treated as more qualified for the mutual fund analyst position. Now you would find MBAs in every nook and corner. So try to do your MBA from a reputed B-School to stand out.
- You may be wondering what more you can do. Here’s the deal. If you can do CA along with MBA in Finance, it would become a lethal combination. You would be preferred much more than your peers.
- Suppose you have desire to not stuck in mutual fund analyst. What would you do? First of all, if you have MBA in Finance from a reputed institute and CA, you’re good to go as mutual fund analyst. Now if you want to become fund manager pretty soon with few years of experience, you need to go for CFA or CFP exam. These designations will help you stand out if you would like to be a mutual fund manager within few years.
We’ve given a list of what you can do. Your job is to plan ahead about your career so that when you need to take the plunge you become ready.
Education is a pre-requisite. But you need to know the detailed job responsibilities to have an idea about what you need to do. Here are the responsibilities you need to handle as mutual fund analyst.
First, let’s talk about the primary responsibilities and then we will discuss what else you need to do.
- First of all, you need to review the financial statements prepared by fund accountants for investment and other funds.
- You also need to take care of the review of daily swing pricing, which means you need to monitor the adjustments of Net Asset Value (NAV) for large funds.
- You need to do daily hedge review as well. This means you need to monitor the redemption and Foreign Exchange entries hedged by the fund accountants for investment funds.
- You also need to review daily or monthly trading activities for investment funds.
- A big part of your responsibilities would be to review the due diligence of market value reconciliations performed between organization’s data and fund accountants. You also need to do a detailed portfolio reconciliation of holdings and foreign exchange rates across all fund complexes.
- You need to do mutual fund qualitative and quantitative analysis like scheme ranking, research, performance attribution etc.
- You also need to write reports and draft columns to talk about the funds.
- You need to keep on pushing your horizon to learn more about mutual fund industry, various market sectors and fund families.
- Among all, you need to be able to see the big picture of the long term investment strategy so that all financial advisors, marketing executives and decision-making stuffs can work in unison to achieve a common goal.
- You also need to coordinate with the fund research team to be able to get the best investment options and the risk inherent within them. Because you need to have a solid research database that also has fund recommendation and conclusion.
- You’re also required to adhere to the company investment policies to be able to recommend mutual fund options to the prospective clients.
- Finally, you need to keep yourself updated about the latest trends of mutual fund market to be able to uplift your expertise and to be able to help your firm magnify profits.
There’re also some other responsibilities which you need to take care of. Here are they –
- You need to support the fund service providers.
- You also need to prepare various valuation reports and perform valuation checks.
- Often times, you may need to take responsibility as an individual instead of getting the supervision of fund managers. In that case, you need to sit with the fund manager or the person who can guide you and understand what they expect of this job position. And then adhere to whatever s/he says.
- You will also need to maintain a liaison with global service providers.
These are the job responsibilities you need to perform. Now let’s look at the skill-sets you need to have to be able to effectively perform these responsibilities.
There are total eight skill-sets you need to have to be able to perform the above job responsibilities like a rock star. Have a look at these eight skills and if you would like to become a mutual fund analyst, try to work on these –
- Solid knowledge of accounting fundamentals: Accounting is the first step toward any lucrative finance job position. Yes, accounting and finance are different in relevance, but accounting is part of finance. In this case also, you need to have solid accounting knowledge. You need to know how to look at balance sheets, how to do ratio analysis, how to draft income statement and cash flow statement. Without these fundamentals you won’t be able to perform responsibilities like review of financial statements prepared by funds accountants.
- Knowledge of Mutual Funds & Capital Markets: This is obvious. As you would like to be a mutual fund analyst, you need to know all about mutual funds, its markets, industry, which one is fetching good returns and why. You need to do in depth and understand each key-indicator so that you can help your fund manager create the same.
- Sound analytical skill, reasoning and detail-orientation: As you can see in the job responsibilities, a major chunk of your activities would be reviewing different statements and charts. If you’re not good with numbers and don’t have detail-orientation, you may miss out on important details which later may cost your company a lot more. So you need to develop pixel view (detail orientation) as well as the ability to analyze the reports, statements and charts.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills: Many finance guys ignore this part. But if you would like to be a mutual fund analyst, you need to develop strong verbal and written communication skills to be able to write reports, author columns and create special reports for particular requirement of the clients. You may also need to deal with clients over phone or face-to-face. If you don’t have both verbal and written skills, it would be difficult for you to perform at your maximum level.
- Great knowledge of advanced excel: The importance of excel in the professional world can’t be over-emphasized. You know that already. But only excel will not do. You need to be master of advanced excel to be able to perform all your job responsibilities.
- Strong team-work ethic: You would be working in an environment where everybody would be interdependent on each other. Without reliance on one another, the common goal wouldn’t be achieved i.e. the satisfaction of clients. So you need to let go of individual ego and be focused on the common objective so that you can take a significant role in achieving the desired goal.
- Taking adequate measures to mitigate risks: The clients who would be depending on you and your team for maximum benefits should be served in a way that their risks are minimized. Thus you need to mitigate risks at all levels and scrutinize every document diligently to reduce errors. You also need to be updated with investment suggestions, portfolio and possible conclusions.
- Precision and accuracy: This is the secret of this trade. You can’t be perfect in everything, but your goal should be to tend toward as much accuracy and precision you can achieve.
If you would like to be a qualified mutual fund analyst, the above eight are mandatory. You need to work hard to develop them.
Now this is the most lucrative part. Let’s talk about the compensation of mutual fund analyst.
The compensation you would get as a mutual fund analyst would depend on what sort of experience you have. Are you a fresh graduate? Or do you have few years of experience in the other domain of finance? Or have you worked as mutual fund analyst for few years? For every case, the salary would be different.
If you’re in USA, then the salary would be drastically different. The average annual salary of mutual fund analyst in USA is around US $65,000 to $75,000 per annum
If you have experience of 1-2 years as an analyst in finance, you would be able to get around INR 5-6 lakhs per annum in India. If you have more experience (5+ years), then you may get around INR 10-15 lakhs per annum depending on the organization you’re with..
Beyond Mutual Fund Analyst
Many of you would like to aspire to be more than mutual fund analyst. Yes, you can be. There’re certain things you need to adhere to –
- You need to have at least 10-12 years of experience as mutual fund analyst.
- You need to have a storehouse of knowledge in investments, mutual funds, capital market and accounting.
- You’re ready to handle more responsibilities and serve high-net worth clients directly.
- This is optional, but if you have it then nothing would be like it. You should go for a CFA or CFP qualification so that you have enough tools to deal with the added responsibilities as mutual fund managers.
As a mutual fund manager your main responsibility would be to invest investors’ money in worthy investments like stocks, bonds and in other financial instruments. You need to work as an individual and also within a periphery of other analysts and fund accountants who will feed you the data you need to take the final call.
The job of mutual fund manager is hectic, but you would be respected by everyone in the team and you will have a lot of autonomy for your experience in mutual fund.
In the final analysis
Now you know what you need to know to become a qualified mutual fund analyst. All you need to do now is to take the first steps. If you’re finance students, you should learn more about mutual funds and can enroll yourself in master degree of finance or MBA in Finance. If you aspire, plan and take action, the goal is not far ahead from your reach.