What is investment management and what does an investment manager do?

Investment management is the professional management of financial assets and other investments belonging to an investor. An investment manager will use their knowledge, skills and experience to invest money on behalf of their client, within a scope that the client has defined and in-line with the client’s appetite for risk. Other areas of involvement can include banking, budgeting and tax services. Clients range from individuals investing their personal wealth to large institutional investors.

Before making investment decisions, investment managers will ascertain the client’s investment objectives. They will work with them to develop short and long-term investment strategies that reflects their client’s appetite for risk. Investment managers must possess extensive knowledge about available investment vehicles and will conduct extensive research, analyse securities and bonds, review financial data and sometimes liaise directly with investment analysts, to determine the best strategy for investments.

The management of client portfolios may also include day-to-day buying and selling of securities, portfolio monitoring, performance measurement, transaction settlement and regulatory & client reporting. 

Investment management is largely a client-facing role and investment managers spend the majority of their time liaising with clients and attending meetings. 

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include: 

  • Maintaining current knowledge of a wide range of investments and financial products available to corporate and individual clients, including bonds, stocks, shares and trusts.
  • Liaising with investment analysts to assess financial information and investment opportunities.
  • Presenting investment advice and opportunities, along with related analysis to clients.
  • Using complex financial models to predict future earning and profit potential.
  • Reviewing relevant data to make informed decisions about investment opportunities on behalf of clients.
  • Overseeing investment purchases or trades.
  • Monitoring the performance of client investments on an ongoing basis to ensure that they are meeting expectations.
  • Engaging in team meetings, research and reading to stay up-to-date on global economic trends.
  • Developing strong client relationships; expanding client network in professional and social settings.

Why are they important? 

Investment managers play a vital part in long-term financial planning. The key objective of these qualified professionals is to maximise their client’s return on investment and allow them to achieve their financial goals or grow their company.

Skills needed for this role

Investment managers require excellent research and analytical skills, along with the ability to multi-task and work under pressure. Superb interpersonal skills are essential for this client-facing role and individuals must also have excellent verbal and written communication skills to relay complex information to investors.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Financial Management

Advanced Taxation

Career opportunities presented by this role

Opportunities in the investment management field are varied. Whilst investment managers are typically employed by large investment management and asset management companies, they can also be employed by a number of other organisations such as banks, credit unions and insurance companies. Highly experienced investment managers can also set up independently.


High level competencies required include:

  • Advisory and consultancy

    A. Gathers and understands financial and non-financial information to develop complete knowledge of the client business and the environment in which it operates.

    B. Provides expert advice that will add value to the business and gain advantage.

    C. Identify and advise on business partnering to develop strategic relationships to create opportunities, improve performance and solve business problems.

    D. Prepare and present business plans and advise on the actions to implement these plans.

  • Data, digital and technology

    A. Identifies strategic options to add value, using data and technology.

    B. Analyses and evaluates data using appropriate technologies and tools.

    C. Applies technologies to visualise data clearly and effectively.

    D. Applies scepticism and ethical judgement to the use of data and data technology.

  • Financial management

    A. Links developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the economic environment to required improvements in the financial and risk management of an organisation.

    B. Advises on business asset valuations, capital projects and investments using appropriate analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques.

    C. Identifies, evaluates and advises on alternative sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance.

    D. Communicates and advises on the impact on financial decision making on current developments in regulation, governance and ethics.

    E. Assesses and advises on appropriate strategies to manage business and organisational performance regarding business and finance risk and effectively communicates the impact.

  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A. Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.

  • Taxation

    A. Communicates knowledge of the operation and scope of the tax system, obligations of taxpayers, and the implications of non-compliance and advises on tax planning.

    B. Advises ethically on strategic tax plans and computes the tax liabilities of individuals.

    C. Advises ethically on strategic tax plans and computes the corporation tax liabilities of individual companies and groups of companies.

    D. Explains and computes the effects of value added tax (VAT) / goods and services tax (GST) and indirect tax on incorporated and unincorporated businesses and advises appropriately.