Ruairi O'Donnellan

Five Fundamental Jobs of the Finance Industry

The world of finance is undoubtedly in a state of aggressive progression, and while jobs related to emerging areas of the industry such as crypto and sustainable finance are now commonplace, fundamental positions still remain.

This article lists 5 fundamental jobs within the industry and the key areas you need to understand if you are to take on one of these positions.

These positions are:

1. Asset Manager
2. Corporate Banker
3. Equity Trader
4. Investment Banker
5. Risk Manager

1 Asset Manager

Asset management – in its broadest sense – is the management of portfolios of assets by professional firms serving institutional, high net worth (HNW), and retail clients.

It is a highly-respected industry, employing millions of investment professionals worldwide who are responsible for handling trillions of dollars of client money and therefore require the knowledge and skills to assume the myriad responsibilities of an asset manager from analyzing securities and markets to transacting/trading in the market to managing client portfolios.

Key areas of asset management include:

• Risk and return
• Portfolio management
• Asset allocation
• Performance measurement
• Quantitative trading
• Economic analysis
Asset managers are integral to the fabric of finance

2 Corporate Banker

Corporate banking – the provision of products and services to corporate/business customers with a wide range of banking needs – lies at the heart of the business world.

A common misconception is that corporate banking is just about lending – this is not the case.

As a corporate banker, you’ll be expected to act as “the hub in the wheel” for clients who need the bank’s products and services.

A key part of your role is to get to the other areas of the bank – capital markets, treasury, trade, transaction banking, and so on – to assist with your client’s needs for credit, cash management, trade finance services, and day-to-day banking and payments, among other services.

Key areas of corporate banking include:

• Corporate banking products (credit and non-credit)
• Credit risk principles
• Non-credit risks
• Key issues facing the industry
• The competitive environment
Corporate banking is a fundamental job within the financial industry

3 Equity Trader

Equity sales and trading (S&T) is a challenging but exciting career.

It requires an in-depth knowledge of markets and what drives them, as well as a strong desire to sell/trade, the ability to think quickly, and the willingness to take risks while staying calm under pressure.

Key areas of equity trading include:

• Equity valuation and analysis
• Exchange-traded funds
• Equity derivatives
• Hybrid securities
• The lifecycles of a trade
Investment banking is a fundamental position in the finance industry

4 Investment Banker

A career in investment banking can be very rewarding, but the road to becoming a successful investment banker is a challenging one that requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

It also requires a significant amount of knowledge and skills, both technical and non-technical.

Key areas of investment banking include:

• Relationship management
• Negotiation skills
• Personal branding
• Financial statement analysis
• Corporate finance
• Corporate valuation
Investment banking is a fundamental job in the finance industry

5 Risk Manager

A healthy and stable banking sector is crucial to the health of a developed economy. However, the very business of banking involves taking on, and therefore managing, risk.

A number of events over the years – most notably the global financial crisis of the late 2000s – highlighted the damage that poor risk management can cause to both individual banks and the overall financial system.

As a risk management professional, you'll play a key role in managing the risks to the bank and its stakeholders, including identifying and assessing the key threats to the business and deciding how best to avoid or mitigate/manage these risks.

Key areas of risk management include:

• Credit risk
• General risk
• Financial regulation
• Risk frameworks
• Risk measurement
• Market risk
• Operations risk
• Counterparty credit risk
• Liquidity risk
• Interest rate risk
• Emerging climate risk problems
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