Some of the most lucrative jobs in India are from the financial sector and among them — investment management is the blue-eyed boy of most of the young professionals. A majority of students with degrees like MBA (finance), MFC, CA, or CFA wants to make a career in investment management.

This is a diversified field that revolves around the appropriate management of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, insurance, equities, real estate, securities, and a lot of other financial assets.

The foremost task of an investment manager is to multiply the assets of a client through right selection of instruments, tools, and plans, but his/her responsibilities don't end here. Continuous monitoring of the invested resources, market forecast, taking an instant decision in case of shocks/risks/opportunities, and proper communications with the client to update him about every small and big change, make the job of an investment manager challenging as well as exciting.

Apart from banks and financial institutions, every listed company, corporate and big multinational firm always appoints in-house investment managers to reap best returns from the invested resources.

In the corporate sector, an investment manager performs various additional duties too, like attaining the financial goals of a firm, analysing the organisation's current financial situation, suggesting the fundraising measures, and helping the top management in pitching the venture capitalists and angel investors.

The demand for investment/ fund managers is always high on the market, and many credit rating agencies like ICRA, CARE, CRISIL, Credit Suisse, and JP Morgan are the dream organisations of graduates with degrees in financial management. Though there are no strict criteria to make an entry in this sector, students from all streams are eligible to apply, but one must be good at mathematics, analytical skills, economics, and banking.

However, if one has an MBA degree in finance, MFC, CA, MIB, or MBE from a reputed college or university, then the chances of both selections and early promotions are high in comparison to others. Some of the most trusted institutions to acquire these degrees in India are the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi; Delhi University, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai; IXLRI, School of Business and Human Resources, Jharkhand; Institute of Management and Technology, Ghaziabad; AMU, Aligarh; and Chandigarh University.

A sound knowledge of financial products, financial institution, fiscal policies of the existing government, guidelines of SEBI, familiarity with stock market operations, knowledge of world economy and a sharp eye on the developments in the financial sector, are some of the most desirable traits that an employer seeks in a prospective employee. Furthermore, excellent communication skills, investment acumen, and smartness in taking right decisions at the right time are those differential qualities that provide an extra edge to the aspiring professional.

Compensation is not a constraint for qualified and talented people in the investment management. Mid-sized Indian companies offer an average salary of Rs 4 to 7 lakh to freshers and Rs 8 to 15 lakh to managers with at least three years of experience. Large financial institutions and banks offer an initial package between Rs 5 to 10 lakh to new recruits and Rs12 to 18 lakh to professionals with experience.

In contrast, foreign MNCs are more generous towards their employees, and usually, they offer 30 per cent to 80 per cent additional emoluments to employees working on similar positions. Moreover, there is a huge demand for Indian investment managers in the US, various parts of the Europe, Africa, Middle East, and UAE countries.

Investment management is an evergreen industry in the financial sector that is flourishing continuously despite many ups and downs in the market, in the recent past. If one has a degree in finance, commerce or economics than the career growth prospects are quite bright for another 8 to ten years. And, as the present government at the center is quite aggressive to bring adequate reforms in the Indian economy, demand for investment managers is ready to touch a new height in a year or two.

The writer is founder and chief consultant officer, esilverbucks consultants private limited