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Top 7 Specialisations in Investments

Fund Manager or Chief Investment Officer?  Unfortunately, few end up being there.  But if you have an interest in investments, where should you go in your career?

We look at the top specialisation in investments:

No. 1 Portfolio Management

Banker in Deep Thought

Perhaps the most scientific way to manage investments or the most studied field in investments, many graduates and investment professionals aspire to manage portfolio one day. Few make it to this holy grail.

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Almost every financial institution only have ONE Chief Investment Officer.  While a Fund Management firm only have a handful of Fund Managers, provided it is managing at least billions in assets (Most large Fund Management  firms manage in excess of $100 billion assets).

Popular Job Titles: Chief Investment Officer, Fund Manager, Portfolio Manager, Discretionary Portfolio Manager,

Job Responsibilities: Investment Strategy, Fund Strategy, Portfolio Allocation, Asset Allocation

Career Probability: Less than 1%


No. 2 Strategy 

Head of Wealth Management

Who sets the level of risks to take on for this year or the next 5 years?  Who decides where capital and investments should flow into?  Which sector and countries are the markets to be in?

The one or two person that makes the biggest call and set the pace of investments in any financial institutions or investment management firm – think about the influence of Central Bankers and their monetary policies.

Popular Job Titles: Chief Economist, Head of Global Strategy, Chief Strategist, Chief Investment Officer, Fund Manager

Job Responsibilities: Global Economic Strategy, Macro Analysis

Probability: Less than 1%


No. 3 Trading

Financial Market

One of the most sought after positions, and for many to quickly discover it isn’t easy to be a “real” trader. The pressure of having their own P&L book, and with the chase for bigger market positions and profits increases week on weeks, months on months and year after years.  Opportunities come twice, but never for the faint-hearted.

Being able to trade complex financial instruments globally and across different exchanges in equities, fixed income, money market, foreign exchange, commodities, options, derivatives and more.  Do you want to be a million dollar trader or billion dollar trader?  Sounds too cool?  Many Hedge Fund Managers and Traders focused on managing risks rather than on managing profits, which now sounds boring.  Is this true?

Popular Job Titles: Hedge Fund Manager, Trader

Job Responsibilities: Research, Analysis, Trading, Back-testing, Forecasting, Simulation, Risk Management

Probability: Less than 1%


No. 4 Dealing

Hong Kong Stock Market

One of the most important function that keeps the global financial market operating 24/7.  The dealing room / floor allows every single financial trade to be placed, matched and executed.

Although many of the market trading functions had been automated, many financial product prices such as OTC or Over-the-Counter Transactions are still quoted directly or privately for apparent business reasons.

Securities and investments pricing can be complex as they are quoted around the world such as New York, Brazil, Dubai, London, Amsterdam, Moscow, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and Jakarta.  This means the underlying securities terms are also structured differently, meeting different international, regional or local standards.  An error could cost thousands if not millions of dollars.

Popular Job Titles: Dealer, Stock Broker

Job Responsibilities: Trade Execution, Price Quotation, Reconciliation

Probability: 5% for Dealer, 10 – 20% for Stock Broker


No. 5 Sales

Successful Private Banker

Perhaps the toughest job of all, requiring both investment knowledge and wits.  If you are thinking about millions, professionals in financial sales usually generate a few billions dollars of product sales annually.

Pitching a money market, equity or fixed income structure to clients?  Their clients include Sovereign Wealth Funds, Institutional Investors, Family Offices, Private Banks, Retail Banks, Insurance or Pension Funds.  If you think it is easier dealing with wealthier individuals, think twice.

Job Titles: Investment Banker, Institutional Sales, Product Structurer, Derivatives Structurer & Treasury Sales Manager

Job Responsibilities: Product Structuring, Pricing Simulation, Returns Simulation, Risks Simulation, Sales

Probability: Less than 1%, Less than 5% (Treasury Sales Manager)


No. 6 Advisory

Head of Wealth

Advisory is the fastest growing profession in Asia with the tremendous wealth growth rate of corporates, the rich, affluent and the middle-income.

Although Asset Management and Wealth Management is not just about investments, it is a major focus of both clients and the advisor.  After all, who wants the $10 Million or $100 Million to remain the same after 10 years.  Or the $100,000 to grow at 3% with additional savings from monthly salary.  Providing the most relevant investment insights, constructing portfolio and investment decisions, managing clients’ expectations, all in a day’s work for the advisor.

Job Titles: Relationship Managers, Personal Bankers, Priority Bankers, Private Bankers, Investment Advisors, Treasury Advisors, Portfolio Advisors, Fund Advisors, Wealth Advisors, Estate Advisors, Private Equity Advisor, Principal Consultants, Boutique Advisors, Asset Managers

Job Responsibilities: Client Acquisition, Relationship Management, Client Management, Wealth Management, Investment Management, Sales, Advisory

Probability: 10%


No. 7 Research

Research Analyst

Perhaps where many Chief Economists, Chief Investment Officers or Fund Managers commenced their career.  Research forms the fundamental basis of any well-thought out investment decisions.

Analysts plough through global financial data, economic data, countries and companies statistics and information every single day.  What numbers and information make sense, and what doesn’t?  Specialising in equity, fixed income, foreign exchange, treasury, commodities, gold & metals, real estate, alternative investments or private equity.  Being able to get into research provides an avenue to learn deeply about any single investment area.

Job Titles: Analysts (Economic, Equity, Fixed income, Foreign Exchange, Treasury, Commodities, Gold & Metals, Real Estate, Alternative Investments or Private Equity)

Job Functions: Research, Analysis, Writing, Reporting

Probability: Less than 1%


These are the top 7 specialisation in investments.  Anymore?


2021 Data Release
2020 List of Private Banks in Hong Kong
2020 List of Private Banks in Singapore
2020 Top 10 Largest Family Office
2020 Top 10 Largest Multi-Family Offices
2020 Report: Hong Kong Private Banks & Asset Mgmt - $4.49 Trillion
2020 Report: Singapore Asset Mgmt - $3.48 Trillion AUM

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