Jobs in the financial sector can be very lucrative, which helps explain why they are in such great demand. Of course, entry qualifications can be as high as salary, so entering the financial world is not easy. At the very least, most jobs require a four-year degree, and many professionals have advanced degrees in business, math, economics, or statistics.
Still, the financial industry has a variety of employment opportunities to meet different skill sets and interests, both inside and outside Wall Street. If you’re wondering where to start or what you’re aiming for, here’s an overview of today’s major financial career options. Includes US average base salary information and “total salary” figures, including bonuses and commissions.
- The financial sector is made up of consumers, businesses and companies that provide financial services to governments.
- Most financial jobs require a degree of at least four years, especially in business, mathematics, economics and statistics.
- The most expensive financial operations include investment bankers, actuaries, portfolio managers, quantitative analysts and securities traders.
Types of careers in finance
Average investment banker base salary: $ 101,187 (total wages range from $ 51,000 to $ 301,000)
Investment Banker Education Requirements: A four-year degree in finance, economics, or a field focused on quantitative or business, plus an MBA or Master of Finance degree (ideally from a top school).
Some of the most attractive (and intense) financial careers are investment banking. Investment banks help businesses and governments raise funds through bonds, stocks, public offerings, venture capital and M & A.
Investment banking companies typically have a large number of departments and groups with different purposes and responsibilities. Working at a traditional investment bank allows you to interact with securities issuers and M & A professionals. You can also trade trading desks, stocks, bonds and other securities in the secondary market.
The profession has become more democratic, but it still has an elitist hue. An MBA from a top-level program is almost always mandatory. Still, it is less common today for investment bankers to look for professional qualifications like Series 7 or CFA, compared to some other financial jobs.
Types of investment banking
Mergers and acquisitions (M & A): Bankers focused on mergers and acquisitions provide strategic advice to companies looking to merge with competitors or acquire small businesses. M & A bankers use financial modeling to assess these potential large transactions. These jobs usually require interaction with prominent executives, and M & A specialists need to convince these executives of their ideas.
underwriting: Financing is part of the bank’s underwriting department. Underwriting specialists usually focus on debt or equities, and often have an industry-based focus as well. These bankers typically play a customer-facing role, working with external contacts to determine capital needs, while working internally with traders and security sales representatives to find the best option. Underwriting is not entirely limited to investment banks, but has expanded significantly in recent years to larger universal banks.
Private equity: Many investment banks have private equity (PE) departments, but jobs are usually found in smaller professional companies. Bankers in this area raise funds for non-public businesses and businesses and retain some of the profits they make through transactions. Private-equity funds typically have investment banking experience and excellent academic qualifications.
venture capital: Venture capital (VC) companies often specialize in providing cash to start-ups in rapidly developing industries such as technology, biotechnology and green technology. While many target companies will eventually fail, VCs thrive by depositing and withdrawing funds early in development, generating enormous returns on investment. Venture capital firm employees are usually good at calculating numbers and closing deals, with clues to new technologies and ideas. They are excited about the possibility of discovering the “next new thing”.
Actuary average base salary: $ 96,843 (total wage is $ 57k- $ 166k)
Actuary Education Requirements: In addition to a four-year degree in actuarial science, mathematics, statistics, or business-related areas such as finance, economics, and business, coursework and a series of professional exams from the Actuarial Science Association (CAS) or Actuary Association (SOA) ..
Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to analyze the monetary impact of risk. These experts collect, collect, and analyze data to estimate the probability and expected cost of events such as injury, illness, disability, death, and property loss. As the Actuary Association states on its website, “Actuaries are experts in assessing the potential of future events using numbers rather than crystal balls.”
Actuaries work for insurance companies (the most common employers), pension schemes, banks, investment companies, accounting firms, consulting firms, governments, hospitals and other entities that need to manage risk. Their opinions and expertise are essential to helping these entities manage their assets, minimize risk and maximize profits.
Working as an actuary requires a strong background in mathematics and a four-year degree in actuarial science, mathematics, statistics, finance, or economics. To earn full professional status, you must be an Associate or Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) or Society of Actuaries (SOA). The certification process takes 4-7 years at the Associate level and an additional 2-3 years to earn Fellowship status.
Average base salary for portfolio managers: $ 88,035 (total wages $ 55,000- $ 173k)
Portfolio Manager Education Requirements: A four-year degree in business, economics, or finance, plus an applicable Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) license.
Portfolio management is one of the most prestigious roles in the financial industry as a whole. Portfolio managers (also known as money managers) oversee the investments of institutional investors and individual clients. They recommend personalized investment strategies and specific investment decisions to clients and usually have the discretion to implement those strategies in order to achieve their goals.
Portfolio managers typically specialize in specific asset classes such as stocks and fixed income. Alternatively, the manager may be a specialist in certain types of equities, blockchain-related startups, or high yield bonds. Centralized funds that employ these professional managers may look for individuals with a background in analytical research. Others include broader mandates such as multi-asset class strategies, and these companies often look for managers with similarly broad investment knowledge and background.
There are a variety of employers in this sector, each focusing on a particular segment.
- Investment companies and financial services companies fund individual investors.
- Investment banks provide strategic advice to businesses, large institutions and even governments.
- Commercial banks offer a variety of investments to their clients.
- Fund management companies, portfolio management companies, and hedge funds serve high net worth individuals.
After four years of college and graduate degrees, many potential money managers also earn Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designations. In many cases, the portfolio manager’s position is a “destination” role that is not accessible anywhere else. Therefore, portfolio managers usually manage increasing amounts of money, rather than continuing to climb the career ladder. Or they may leave to start their own company or hedging …