Investment Banking vs Investment Management

Difference Between Investment Banking and Management

In case of the Investment banking, investment bankers helps their clients in raising the capital from the market whereas in case of the investment management, the investment managers helps their clients in managing their money in most efficient way by performing financial analysis, equity research etc.

Investment bankingInvestment BankingInvestment banking is a specialized banking stream that facilitates the business entities, government and other organizations in generating capital through debts and equity, reorganization, mergers and acquisition, more and management are two of the most sought-after careers for business and finance undergraduates, promising a high-profile career with great perks and bonuses. However, it would not be possible to make an informed choice without understanding what each of them stands for and the nitty-gritty of what exactly do they have to offer as a career.


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What is Investment Banking?

Investment banks are financial institutions engaged in underwriting, helping corporations issue equity and debt securities through IPOs or FPOs, facilitate Mergers & Acquisitions (M&As) both on buy and sell-side of the deal and corporate restructuring along with a wide range of other functions. In short, when a corporation is in need of financing, it seeks the help of investment bankers to be able to efficiently execute these major transactions. It is an intensely competitive field and arguably with some of the best perks in the industry.

What is Investment Management?

Also known as asset management/ fund managementFund ManagementFund management is the process of a company taking a person's, company's, or another fund management company's financial assets (generally high net worth individuals) and investing them in companies that use those funds as an operational investment, financial investment, or any other investment in order to grow the more, or portfolio management, it involves assisting an individual or institutional investors find suitable investment avenues to help achieve their growth objectives. The individuals who seek assistance from investment managers or asset managers are usually High-Networth Individuals (HNIs). The role of an asset manager is to assist with making investments in equities, fixed income securities, real estate, and hedge fundsHedge FundsA hedge fund is an aggressively invested portfolio made through pooling of various investors and institutional investor’s fund. It supports various assets providing high returns in exchange for higher risk through multiple risk management and hedging more among other instruments. Some prefer to call it “buy-side” as the asset managers are basically required to buy investment products in keeping with the wealth creation needs of their clients.

Investment Banking vs Management – Education & Skills

#1 – Investment Banking

Ideally, an individual should not only have expert knowledge of finance but must also possess excellent business skills and exceptional networking abilities to make it a success in this field. As most of the finance-oriented certifications do not focus on networking, MBAs are naturally the best fit for an investment banking role, given the kind of networking opportunities they have at their disposal.

Undergraduates in finance and investment-related areas might have higher relevance to this domain but those from other disciples can also be considered, given they possess the desired skill set. Typically, investment banking internships are way more competitive than entry-level positions as compared to some entry-level positions in pure finance. Most of the investment bankers do start out as an analyst and investment banking associate before graduating to the positions of VP, Director, and Managing Director.

Some of the key skills needed are:  

#2 – Investment Management

Undergraduates in finance, economics, business, and investment analysis would be a better fit for the field. Today, there is a much higher preference for technically proficient candidates and relevant professional certifications can certainly help boost career prospects.

If you hold CFA (Chartered Financial AnalystChartered Financial AnalystThe Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Program offers a graduate-level curriculum and examination program designed to expand your working knowledge and practical skills related to investment decision-making. read more) designation, it can be a distinct advantage in terms of acquiring expert knowledge of accounting, portfolio management and security analysis Security AnalysisSecurity analysis is the process of interpreting the value of financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, debts, warrants, and other securities of a company to ensure that the investors are investing through publicly available information. The three related methods include fundamental, technical, and quantitative more which can be of immense use for an asset manager. CIMA (Certified Investment Management Analyst) Certification can be another highly relevant certification for those looking to make a career in asset management.

Skills essential to the job include:

  • Excellent mathematical skills and broad-based knowledge of investment instruments
  • Ability to take a macro view and make simplified investment decisions
  • Ability to plan and meet long-term financial objectives

Employment Outlook

Both of these fields offer some of the finest vocational prospects with a number of high-profile openings being made available every year, as the financial industry continues to grow at a more or less steady pace. In fact, as per an estimate by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the financial industry is set to experience 11% job growth between 2012 and 2022.

Till about a decade ago, investment banking was the undisputed choice of career in financeCareer In FinanceA appropriate degree, such as a B. Com, CPA, or MBA, is required to pursue a career in finance. Then one can choose from a variety of financial careers such as equity analyst, investment banking, asset management, risk management, corporate finance, and so more, offering rare growth opportunities and a near-glamorous appeal given the kind of high-end deals brokered by investment bankers. On the other hand, asset management was clearly not as competitive a field, but things have undergone a sea-change since, and today, asset management is considered on par with investment banking in every sense of the word.

As investment instruments become highly sophisticated and diversity of investment options continue to emerge, it has become increasingly difficult for HNIs and institutional investorsInstitutional InvestorsInstitutional investors are entities that pool money from a variety of investors and individuals to create a large sum that is then handed to investment managers who invest it in a variety of assets, shares, and securities. Banks, NBFCs, mutual funds, pension funds, and hedge funds are all more to identify suitable investment opportunities. As a result, there has been a steep rise in the demand for asset management professionals with the right kind of expertise and technical proficiency required to develop and implement effective investment strategies to meet the objectives of their clients.

Due to an increasingly competitive market, employers prefer to hire certified and accredited professionals in asset management roles for the benefit of added credibility and expertise in a given area. On the other hand, the demand for investment banking professionals has also steadily gone up in the last few years and Fortune 500 companies continually look to enhance their expertise in the field.


Nearly a decade ago, investment banking positions offered some of the industry-best compensation packages and asset management was nowhere near in terms of these figures. However, things have undergone change drastically and as per a study by New Financial, a think-tank, the average pay per employee for investment banks fell by about 25 percent from 2006 to2014 to an estimated $288,000 whereas, for the same period, it grew by about 22 percent for global asset managers to an estimated $263,000. This not only sums up the equation for these two fields but also shows a distinct pattern of an increasingly competitive pay package for asset managers as compared to investment bankers.

Everything said and done, despite a slight downturn in the post-credit crunch era, the job market for investment banking stays afloat and continues to offer some of the finest pay packages right from entry-level positions. To set things in perspective, even banking interns can easily earn between $70,000 to $80,000 and once they join as an analyst, it goes up to anywhere between $115,000 to $130,000 with nearly $30,000 as bonuses. Once they accumulate around 3 years of experience as a banking associate, their package goes up in the range of $200,000 plus.

Career Pros & Cons

We would attempt to study the pros and cons of both these careers to be able to arrive at a better comparison.

#1 – Investment Banking Professional

  • As goes without saying, it is an intensely competitive field with a higher risk-reward component than most other careers in finance. No doubt, the perks are great, but on the downside, brokering major corporate deals is no mean task and few might be up to it.
  • It comes as no wonder that it’s more of a workaholics’ job than an average person. With nearly 75 to 100 working hours a week, there is but little time left to manage personal affairs and relax. New entrants to the field might cope up with the pressure well, but a few years down the line, the extraordinary work strain could adversely affect the physical and mental well being of an individual.
  • In the post-credit crunch era, investment banking has witnessed kind of a downturn although major corporations continue to be on the lookout for competent professionals. However, a major market slump could make things worse for them.

#2 – Investment Management Professional

  • Although traditionally not considered as a very attractive career option, all of that has changed in the past few years as we have discussed in the course of this article. The demand for asset management professionals continue to grow and could very well outpace investment banking as a career of choice both in terms of pay perks and growth opportunities.
  • As opposed to investment banking, asset management is viewed as more of a secure option as they are required to manage wealth on behalf of individuals and institutions. Since their remuneration is based on the number of funds they manage, there is a greater level of security and a lesser amount of risk.
  • Work hours are definitely much better as compared with investment banking professionals. This is one of the advantages of working in an asset management role which makes it relatively easier to lead a balanced life.
  • Despite being a relatively secure career option, these days, professional certifications like CFA and CIMA can do a world of good in terms of career growth. However, most of these certifications are comprehensive in nature (especially CFA) and require a diligent study on your part. Not everyone might be able to earn these professional designations.
  • It has become an increasingly complex field in recent years and an asset management professional is supposed to have advanced mathematical skills and technical expertise instead of only an overall knowledge of financial instruments and methods of investment. Without being technically proficient, it could be difficult to grow as a professional.

Work-Life Balance

While making a choice of career, apart from other considerations including perks, bonuses and growth prospects, it is always important to find out whether a specific kind of role would offer you the ideal work-life balance or not.

Investment Banking

Investment banking roles have a rather poor reputation as far as being able to manage work against personal life is concerned. Work hours are long and intensive, with little time to relax for dedicated professionals. While you might consider being called workaholic as more of a compliment, it may not be easy to work nearly 75 to 100 hours a week for years on end.

It is sure to take a toll on your health and personal life could take a backseat, in a slightly unhealthy manner. To avoid this uneven kind of work-life existence, you should consider making necessary lifestyle changes to ensure a healthy existence along with a prosperous career.

Investment Management

Investment management is more of a blissful choice of career in this sense. Not only the prospects continue to improve, but work hours are also more or less balanced for most of the relevant job roles. This makes it a clearly better choice as compared to investment banking as far as work-life balance is concerned.

However, in the years to come, there is no guarantee that this delicate balance would not be under threat but even then it is unlikely it would be on par with investment banking. Therefore, it continues to remain more of a balanced career option.

Investment Banking vs Management Video

What should you choose?

Despite all of their professed advantages and disadvantages, it may not be that easy for you to make that all-important choice of career. Of course, an initial analysis of these areas seems to suggest that investment banking is meant for the dynamic and fast-paced individuals who can be exceptionally good at not only number-crunching but developing and managing valuable client relationships. It is more of a role that demands you to go out of your way to get the job done, and it certainly pays off if you end up on the right side.

For individuals with a keen interest and aptitude for finance but not so much of an outgoing approach, asset management could emerge as a better choice. Developing short and long-term investment strategies and implementing them to achieve the financial objectives of wealthy clients may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly doesn’t sound bad. Although some consider it to be a somewhat comfortable choice as compared to investment banking, it is more of a point of view than a fact. Of course, it offers a better work-life balance with on par career prospects and perks, but that’s not all to look for in a career.

You need to identify your calling while trying to measure it with more or less of an objective criterion to make sure it works for you in the long run. The most important thing is that you should be able to relate to the kind of job role you are aiming to be able to make it a success in the long term. As they say, the head is above the heart for a reason but what are we without a little emotion.

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