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What it takes to become a portfolio manager in U.S. asset management

portfolio manager, portfolio managers, asset mgmt, asset management, mutual funds, long-only, credentials, degrees, majors, subjects, fund management

"Ma, I wanna be a portfolio manager."

You want to make it as a portfolio manager at an asset management firm in the U.S. What do you need to study? Which qualifications will set you apart from the competition?

It stands to reason that most asset managers have a Bachelor’s degree, but what’s more surprising is that nearly an equal proportion also have an MBA, while Masters degrees are a distant third, according to analysis of 1.4m resumes on the eFinancialCareers CV database.

While some say that asset management is a potential vocation for intellectually curious arts students, our figures suggest that most portfolio managers have studied more quantitative subjects. The most popular major is business, followed by finance, with accounting trailing far behind in third place, followed by engineering.

It stands to reason that the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification is by far the most prominent. CFAs are included as part of the training programmes at most asset management firms, with analysts undertaking the qualification before even being considered to manage money. Nearly 47% of candidates on our database had a CFA. The CPA was second, but just 3% possessed the qualification.

Photo credit: Mike Watson Images/moodboard/Thinkstock

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