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Career Case Study: Fund Management

Christian-van-engelbrechten

Christian von Engelbrechten, Manager, Fidelity Germany Fund

Christian completed an international business degree programme, encompassing the International School of Management in Dortmund, European Business School in London and Columbia University in New York. He joined Fidelity in 2005.

“To be a successful fund manager you must obviously understand financial markets, but in order to really progress your career it’s important to have an analytical mindset, the passion to really find out about business models, and a lot of perseverance.

Any student thinking about a career in fund management really should secure an internship – during my studies I spent time at Deutsche Bank, Sal. Oppenheim and Hornblower Fischer. Not only does this enhance your knowledge of the financial industry, but it enables you to start networking early on.

My first job, back in 2002, was at WestLB Asset Management where I was responsible for our
European equity funds’ investments into the banking sector. After taking the CFA qualification, I joined Fidelity in 2005, taking the classic route of being an analyst for a few years, then assistant portfolio manager before eventually taking over the management of the German equity funds.

The main element of my job is making investment decisions for around €800m of assets under
management (June 2012), but this involves a variety of things. I meet often with the senior management of German companies as well as their peers, competitors and clients. I also liaise internally with our analysts who are experts in their respective sectors and companies.

We perform fundamental analysis – namely, looking into a company’s financial statements, its management and competitive advantages – and this feeds into detailed financial models for assessing earnings potential and valuation. Based on this, we take a decision on which firms are promising or attractive and should be included in our funds.

However, another important element of my job is meetings and presentations to clients to discuss the fund performance and investment decisions. I really enjoy my job, so it’s difficult for me to point to any downsides. There’s a lot of travel involved, as well as long hours, and this can occasionally take its toll on your energy levels. However, as long as you like what you’re doing, these are minor things.”

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