Last updated on August 26th, 2020 at 05:18 pm

Poor people want to be rich, and rich people want to see their wealth growing year after year. In this vicious cycle of modern society, Asset Managers play an indispensable role. They take care of the money of the rich, changing them for bonds, stocks, real estate and commodities, simply for things that grow in value instead of loosing it–which is the destiny of cash.

Speaking honestly, you do not need to be the next Warren Buffet to excel as an asset manager. Even Warren does not beat the S&P 500 most years with his investments, and the fund managers and investors who beat the major stock indexes have often more luck than skill.

The Asset Managers of 21st century must be first and foremost an excellent salesmen. On the top of that, they need a knowledge of different tools and opportunities on the investment market, and how to match them with the financial goals of a client, and with their attitude to risk. Let’s have a look at some interview questions you may face while interviewing for this job.


Why do you want to work as an Asset Manager?

Because you want to work with the rich, risking their capital instead of yours. You prefer a fixed commission from each deal you close, regardless of how it turns out. The client may win or lose, but you will always make profit. Well, maybe this the real motive behind your job application, but as you can certainly guess, you should not point it out in an interview :).

Speak about your excellent sales and management skills. You have a great understanding for the needs and emotions of people, you can work with a variety of clients, convincing each one to invest. What’s more, you understand that keeping cash in a bank means burning cash, because 0.1 interest rates on current accounts and 1-3% interest rates on saving accounts will hardly beat the 3% inflation… and we haven’t counted in the fees banks charge us each month, for playing with our money.

Summarized and underlined, you see the meaningful purpose in this job, and you have the skills and motivation to become an excellent Asset Manager.


Can you tell us more about your education and experience?

Speaking honestly, you do not need much education. Degree from Finance or Management is definitely a plus, or a CPA or CFA, but at the end of the day almost all big asset management firms and investment banks run excellent training programs for their new hires. As long as you understand what is a bond, stock, index, and fund, you are ready to learn the rest in their training…

Anyway, if you have any experience with sales, customer service, or finance, you should mention it. Try to connect the duties you had in your past jobs with the duties you’ll be responsible for as an Asset Manager. For example if you did some financial analysis, or reporting, if you were selling something to someone in your past job, you can benefit from such experience while working as an Asset Manager.

If you have no relevant experience, you can simply praise their excellent training program. Say that you are eager to learn and as motivated as ever, and with such an attitude you’ll easily overcome the lack of experience.

How important is the relationship with clients in your view?

Give relationships utmost importance. Unless you meet with the client often, unless they trust you, they won’t entrust you with their millions to invest. Especially when we speak about high-net-worth investors and institutional investors, there people do not want to talk to some third party sales person…

Ensure the interviewers that you want to maintain excellent relationship with your clients, because you understand the competition, and also that business is about relationships. If you neglected this aspect and focused only on working with the assets, you’d lose the clients quickly. And that’s certainly something you want to avoid at all costs.

You can even talk about acquiring new clients, because in many cases and models it will form an integral part of your job. If it does, they will typically ask a separate question about your client acquisition strategy.


What is your attitude to risk? How do you manage it?

You should be neither a gambler, nor a coward. Say the interviewers that you have a neutral attitude to risk. You look at it without emotions. What matters for you are the preference of your clients–whether they want to take risks, and perhaps earn more as a reward, or they opt for a conservative investment strategy.

You, as an excellent asset manager, have plans and suggestions ready for each scenario. Trying to understand the financial goals of the client, the worth of their assets, and their attitude to risk, you are ready to pick the most suitable investment opportunity. This can be real estate, gold, S&P 500, stocks of some emerging tech companies, or even drinking water–maybe soon the most precious asset of all… 🙂

* You can also download the full list of questions in a one page long PDF and practice your interview answers anytime later:

asset management interview questions, PDF

What role does reporting and forecasting play in your work?

You should again give it high importance. Trying to stay on the top of the game, and retain your clients, you do reports and forecasts on a monthly basis. This helps you to decide about the best investment strategies, but also helps you to stay in touch with your clients.

Sending them reports and forecasts regularly, and informing them about possible investment opportunities, you maintain a regular contact, and continue to demonstrate the value you bring to their life as an Asset Manager.

This will help you maintain their trust in difficult times, when the economy is struggling and the assets are losing value. And that’s obviously not only a goal of each Asset Management company, but also one of the conditions of their survival. If clients started to leave in masses, the company would bankrupt…


Behavioral questions in an asset management job interview

Bigger assert management companies and investment banks typically organize more rounds of interviews. Except of questions that relate directly to asset management (questions already analyzed in this article), they will ask you also some behavioral questions.

Inquiring about a way in which you addressed some problem before, they they try to understand how you’d address some situations in your job of an asset manager. Basically they want to learn more about your attitude to work, to your colleagues, and to challenges you may face in your new job. To such questions belong:

  • Describe a conflict you had with one of your colleagues in your last job. How did you solve the conflict?
  • Tell us about a time when you struggled to communicate something to one of your colleagues, or clients. How did you eventually manage to get your message over?
  • Describe a time when you had to meet a tight deadline in job. How did you prioritize your work to meet it?
  • Tell us about a situation when you were under pressure.
  • Describe an occasion when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important, either in your work or in your personal life.
  • Tell us about a time when you struggled with motivation (results weren’t good, job was repetitive, you faced some problems outside of work, etc). How did you manage to overcome your crisis?
  • Describe a time when you faced a conflict of your personal and professional interests.
  • Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.

Special Tip: If you are not sure how to answer these questions, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Great answers to all tricky behavioral interview questions will make your life much easier in an interview. Thank you for checking it out!


Conclusion, next steps

Asset manager is a well paid and prestigious job. You will typically compete with many other applicants for the position, and may face a variety of tricky questions, both behavioral and job-specific. We can certainly label this interview as difficult.

Try to prepare for each question from this article, read the job description carefully, and do not forget to do a quality research about your prospective employer–what sort of clients they have, what types of investments they specialize in, what corporate values they promote, etc.

This is a difficult interview, but someone will get the job at the end. If you prepare well, you can be the one who signs a coveted job contract. I wish you good luck!

May also help you prepare for your interview:

  • How to overcome interview nerves – You need to be your very best when interviewing for a job in an asset management company, and that’s tough to do when you experience anxiety. Learn how to get rid of it.
  • Salary negotiation tips – There aren’t any standard salaries for Asset Managers. You definitely have a power to negotiate more favorable deal at the end of the interview. Let us show you how you can make the most out of this opportunity.
  • Private Equity interview – There’s no way you can trick the interviewing panel in this case. Many case studies, tests, and practical and behavioral questions will help them to create a perfect picture about you.
Matthew Chulaw
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