Career Story: Product Manager For A Fund Management Company

Product Manager For A Fund Management Company

Job Title: Product Manager - Fixed Income Mutual Funds

Type of Company: I work for one of the largest asset managers in the country. We offer retail, institutional and separately managed accounts.

Education: BS, Finance, Boston University •• MBS, Finance, University of Connecticut

Previous Experience: I have been with the same mutual fund company for 15+ years: a financial analyst for seven, sales analyst for two, business writer for four, and I have been in my current job for the past two.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for implementing any changes made to our mutual funds. Prior to making any material changes to a mutual fund, any number of approvals are required and I am responsible for preparing and presenting the proposed changes to the requisite committees or boards.

If the mutual fund manager (or another person at the firm) would like to make a change -- in a fund's investment objective, for example, or the benchmark the fund is compared to -- it's my duty, first, to make sure I understanding what's being proposed and then to conduct some research to determine what the impact will be on the mutual fund shareholders (who actually own the fund; the management company I work for is essentially only a servant).

After I've prepared my analysis, I manage the preparation of the documents which will be used to discuss the proposed changes to the various company committees and mutual fund board trustees. All of these groups will have to analyze the changes and determine whether they're in the best interests of the shareholders. The fund board trustees, especially, are required to look out for the shareholders; if they approve the changes the changes will be filed with the SEC and shareholders will be notified. If not, though, nothing can be altered.

The groups we work with include the legal department, portfolio managers, the sales and marketing departments, the performance team, the shareholder services team and others.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job, the thing about it I like is the people: the friendships I've made. No matter where you go, it's the people who make or break the job. You can make a ton of money, but hate the job because you do not like anyone (or no one likes you). You spend more time with your co-workers than with your family, so get into a mix of good people and you will likely be happy.

The worst part? Asset management is a very difficult business to be in right now -- lots of uncertainty and layoffs. The absence of prosperity and, more than that, of market optimism have made my job very trying.

Job Tips:
1. Be certain that you have a real passion for business or industry. 2. Educate yourself. 3. Maintain a database of contacts and references throughout your career. 4. Do not burn bridges, no matter how badly you would like to. You never know who will know whom when you are interviewing for the next job, whether within your firm or outside it.

Additional Thoughts: Important qualities or traits: -- You need to be extremely flexible. Priorities can change very quickly at times, and you have to be able to juggle tasks and adapt to a changing environment.

-- You need to be well versed in technology. Computer systems and software programs are the name of the game.

--You need to continue to study and educate yourself to remain relevant especially when it comes to technology, terminology, business experience and understanding of the industry

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