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The Wealth Management Career Ladder

How does the winding road of the wealth management career ladder look? Here’s a little taster!

Wealth management internships…

You have to start somewhere, and it’s likely to be an internship. These usually take place over the summer holidays.

Some of the things you may get to try your hand at during your glorious interning days could be updating client portfolios; carrying out research (on IPOs for example); sitting in on meetings with clients such as mutual fund representatives; attending team discussions on industry and analysis from research on potential new investments etc., and writing up summaries on meeting points.

You’re likely to get a taste of risk management and could also get the chance to work within business development (ways of helping the company to grow, such as sourcing and winning over new clients). Remember: the more proactive you are and willing to help and learn, the more exposure you’ll get to different tasks and areas of work in the department.

As an intern you can also take part in seminars and workshops organised and run by representatives of the bank to give you more insight into the industry and tips on how to develop certain skills, such as client management techniques.

Sometimes you’ll even be given a project to work on during the internship. At Barclays, for example, you could get involved in a business development project, aiming to win over a real prospect client.

Wealth management graduate schemes…

You are likely to be involved with either advisory services or discretionary services on a wealth management graduate scheme. You may well following a rotational programme, during which you’ll get to spend time with different teams in the private banking/wealth management department.

You’ll get the opportunity to provide clients with updates on the state of the market, any current trends and discuss how their asset portfolio can best be adapted to mitigate risk and make the most money. Also present new product ideas to clients. Commercial awareness is really important, so as you progress you’ll get into good habits checking up on the latest news and industry developments that could affect your clients’ portfolios.

Alongside work, you will possibly also study for a professional qualification, such as the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). A recognised industry qualification will boost your employability and reputation with clients once you’ve completed the graduate programme, and will be an injection for your career progression and salary prospects.

You may also get the opportunity to undertake an international secondment during your graduate scheme if you’re working for a large global bank!

The real deal: private wealth managers…

Once you’re fully trained up and qualified, it’s decision time. It’s quite common for experienced wealth managers to specialise in one key area of wealth management; whether it’s client relationship management or investment. 

Relationship management focused professionals will spend a lot of face-to-face time with clients and keeping in touch via telephone and email. They work on the business development side of things, winning over new clients and developing and maintaining close working relationships with the clients. It’s up to them to know a number of clients’ individual needs inside-out and feed down this information to researchers and investment-focused wealth managers in the team.

Wealth managers on the investment side of things may trade the client’s investments on behalf of the client (discretionary services) or else provide them with tailored advice for where they should buy and sell (advisory services).

They will also spend a lot of time meeting with the bank’s research analysts to find out about new opportunities which could be suitable for their clients.