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Mutual Fund Portfolio Managers

The Job

The famous stock investor Phillip Fisher once said, “The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” Luckily, portfolio managers exist to help average investors grow their money to meet financial goals such as saving for college or retirement. Portfolio managers oversee both actively and passively managed funds (both of which contain stocks, bonds, and other securities). The manager for an actively managed fund takes a very hands-on approach. He or she chooses the types of stocks, bonds, and other assets that comprise the fund and then manages the fund based on the goals (growth, income, value, etc.) outlined in its investor prospectus. For a passively managed fund, the portfolio manager sets up a fund that attempts to replicate the performance of a particular stock market index (e.g., Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor's 500 Stock Index, Nasdaq Composite Index) by investing in the stocks that are part of this index. Job duties for portfolio managers vary by the size of the firm, its investment strategies and financial products, and other factors but typically include:

  • working closely with clients to help them find an investment fund that matches their financial goals
  • meeting regularly with investment analysts, researchers, and product designers to assess market conditions, discuss portfolio allocations, and the creation of new funds
  • meeting with representatives of companies to collect information about its products/services, management structure, finances, and other areas
  • assisting with trading and rebalancing of client investment accounts
  • working with risk management professionals to identify issues that may negatively affect fund performance
  • analyzing current economic and stock market trends and applying this information to the management of their clients’ portfolios
  • preparing daily reports on fund performance for upper management
  • identifying group or individual target investors for a specific fund and educating them about the merits of the fund
  • performing or evaluating research, such as company or industry analyses, to inform financial forecasting, decision making, and valuation
  • managing investment funds to maximize return on client investments
  • selecting or directing the execution of trades
  • evaluating the potential of new product developments or market opportunities, according to factors such as business plans, technologies, or market potential