Find your feet in finance
Finance is an exciting and varied sector with a wide range of industries and career options to explore.
The finance sector includes a variety of specialised industries:
- Asset management
- Family offices
- Hedge funds
- Private equity
- Private wealth management
- Sovereign wealth funds
- Venture capital.
Asset management is the art and science of making investment decisions while managing clients' capital, to achieve an agreed investment goal. Displaying a depth of knowledge is crucial if you are to make a good impression on potential recruiters. Having your own opinions, backed up with information from various sources, logical thought processes and an ability to see things differently from other people, will demonstrate the ability and passion for investing that recruiters are looking for.
Banks act as intermediaries, facilitating the transfer of capital from providers to users. Investment banking is usually broken down into three main areas: investment banking division (IBD), markets division and retail/commercial banking. Understanding the industry you are seeking a role in is essential to the success of your job search. After you do your research, your next stage involves a series of networking sessions and informational interviews with relevant people, including alumni. This will deepen your knowledge and provide you with invaluable inside information direct from people working in your target role.
Family offices are private investment firms that serve ultra-high-net-worth investors. They are different from traditional wealth management shops in that they offer a total outsourced solution to managing the financial and investment side of an affluent individual or family. There are two types of family offices: single family offices (SFOs) and multi-family offices (MFOs). To provide the scale of planning, advice and resources needed for ultra-wealthy families requires well-coordinated expertise in legal, insurance, investment, estate, business and tax disciplines.
Hedge funds have become some of the most sought-after places to work within the financial markets, especially as they are taking a growing share of trading in equity, bond and derivative markets. Although very different from each other, they are broadly defined as lightly regulated, private, investment limited partnerships that use a range of strategies to generate higher returns for a given level of risk.
The insurance industry offers a wide range of services and products designed to benefit both businesses and individuals. Insurance is one of the UK's largest economic sectors, after banking, manufacturing and the public sector. Many key players in this sector assess a potential hire based on their knowledge, skills and previous work experience; finance, M&A and strategy experience are often perceived as an advantage.
The private equity industry provides active capital to buy, manage and sell private companies. Private equity firms generally want to see deal experience on your CV. This may have been gained with an investment bank, an advisor or a consultant. You will need excellent modelling skills and an understanding of investment analysis and corporate finance.
Private wealth management
Private wealth management comprises the personalised financial and banking services traditionally offered to a bank's high-net-worth or ultra-high-net-worth individuals (HNWI/UHNWI) who can access a larger variety of conventional and alternative investments than average-wealth customers. Typically, this goes beyond simply banking services and managing investments to addressing a client's entire financial situation. This could therefore include: protecting and growing assets in the present, providing specialised financing solutions, planning retirement and passing wealth on to future generations. There are two key roles: relationship manager and investment analyst.
Sovereign wealth funds
A sovereign wealth fund (SWF) consists of pools of money derived from a country's reserves, set aside for investment purposes to benefit the country's economy and citizens. The funding for a SWF comes from central bank reserves that accumulate as a result of budget and trade surpluses, and from revenue generated from the exports of natural resources. SWFs are increasingly important international investors offering attractive jobs to seasoned professionals. Sovereign investors tend to target three main objectives: capital maximisation, stabilisation and economic development.
Venture capital (VC) is a type of equity financing that addresses the funding needs of entrepreneurial companies that, for reasons of size and stage of development, cannot seek capital from more traditional sources, such as public markets and banks. VC investments are generally made as cash in exchange for shares and an active role in the invested company. VC for new and emerging businesses typically comes from high-net-worth individuals (angel investors) and VC firms. These investors usually provide capital unsecured by assets to young, private companies with the potential for rapid growth. VCs will be interested in your views on the market and startup companies in the market (not just what you have read about in the media). Make sure you are engaged with the local startup scene.
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