How to Become an Investment Strategist
The investment industry employs professionals in a wide variety of strategist roles. Positions involved with strategy functions range from executive-level responsibility for defining broad investment strategy or providing tactical market analysis to more narrowly focused research roles in specific asset classes, investment styles, products, or local and regional markets as well as other applications.
Investment strategist roles vary so much because individual firms in different parts of the industry have particular business needs. For example, some wealth advisory firms employ strategists in client-facing roles to provide investor education and other types of client engagement and support. In general, strategists typically have responsibility for evaluating macro factors, such as economic fundamentals, and contributing their insights to the investment decision-making process. At the most senior level, a professional with a title such as “head of investment strategy” may have comprehensive responsibility for economic analysis, asset allocation, risk management, portfolio construction, and other investment functions.
To fill strategist positions, employers look for highly qualified investment professionals who can combine extensive knowledge of economics with a deep understanding of investing and markets. Because investment strategist roles can vary so much, the required skills differ across job listings.
- Understanding of the asset management industry (such as portfolio construction, risk management, equity investing, etc.)
- Analytical & problem-solving skills
- Project management
- Interpersonal skills
- Presentation skills
QualificationsBecause the investment strategist role can vary from firm to firm, the experience requirement varies as well, typically remaining within the 2-7 year range. Many investment firms give preference to CFA charterholders and candidates due to the rigor of the program.
Typical Investment Strategist SalaryA 2019 CFA Institute compensation study of charterholders and members found that investment strategists reported a typical, global total compensation of US$154,000 (US$116,000 base annual salary).
How Can the CFA Program Help Me?
The CFA designation is frequently cited as a very desirable credential for investment strategist roles because the CFA Program equips CFA charterholders with comprehensive investment knowledge, real-world skills, and current best practices. Moreover, the CFA Program curriculum includes the study of economics as a core topic, enabling CFA charterholders to connect a strategic view of macro factors with the specific needs of a firm’s investment decision-making process.