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Portfolio Manager

Portfolio Managers are employed throughout the financial services industry by banks, investment dealers, investment fund companies, investment management firms and insurance companies. This individual is responsible for managing the portfolio of an investor or institution, such as a mutual fund or pension fund. Some specialize in equities, others in bonds, while some handle both.

The Portfolio Manager's job is to develop the right combination of securities to maximize investor return for a given level of risk. Often, choices may be limited if the client's fund is limited towards certain types of investments, such as technology or gold sector stocks. The Portfolio Manager must have superior analytical and communication skills and excellent knowledge of markets and investment products. Portfolio management is a continuous and dynamic process.

  • Identify a client's investment objectives and constraints.
  • Develop investment policies and strategies, taking into consideration market and economic conditions.
  • Implement policies and strategies including security research, selection and portfolio construction.
  • Measure and evaluate portfolio performance
  • Rebalance the portfolio as it changes, to reflect the original plan.
  • Make presentations to current and prospective clients on behalf of the organization.

Portfolio Managers usually have a university degree or MBA, and typically start out as Investment Analysts.

Securities regulators have set specific proficiency and experiential requirements for Portfolio Managers. Completion of CSI's Canadian Securities Course, Investment Management Techniques and Portfolio Management Techniques leads to the Canadian Investment Manager designation -- one path toward those requirements. The CFA Institute's Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation also leads to portfolio management registration in Canada.

A prospective Portfolio Manager must also have extensive industry experience as an Associate Portfolio Manager, Investment Advisor or Research Analyst, with experience in managing a portfolio of $5 million or more on a discretionary basis.

Portfolio Managers are paid a fixed salary but may also earn substantial bonuses based on the performance of the assets under their management. An Associate Portfolio Manager can expect to earn in the $75,000 to $90,000 range with a bonus worth as much as half their salary. A full Portfolio Manager can expect to earn a salary in the $100,000 to $150,000 range and earn a bonus that may match it.