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5 Benefits of an Investment Operations Career

If you’re at the start or in the early stages of a career within financial or professional services, you should consider Scotland’s investment operations sector. A complex and fast-paced area, it presents a credible long-term career option.

Here we look at five reasons why you can have a successful and rewarding career in investment operations.

1. Less competition

Many candidates interested in joining the fund management industry desire a front office role, and dream of one day becoming a portfolio manager or investment analyst.

These roles are viewed as glamorous and prestigious but can be difficult to secure as the market is ever more selective and extremely competitive.

Graduates, in particular, now face intense competition for jobs in all sectors and this could not be truer for the asset management industry. Investment operations – or asset servicing, as it’s also known – can offer a more realistic and achievable option.

2. Expert in your field

Some roles in asset servicing - such as trade settlements - are often viewed merely as a stepping stone to achieving a bigger goal. However, they can be long-term career options in their own right.

Many are guilty of having one eye on the next available opportunity, rather than giving their full passion and focus to their current position.

With the right level of dedication, you can specialise and quickly progress to becoming an expert in your chosen field.

3. Structured career development

Make no mistake, asset servicing firms - and back and middle office operations of investment houses - are still looking for the same commitment and attitude of fund managers, but may require a slightly different skill set.

Many entry level roles, for example, are often very data and/or process driven. Some struggle with the initial monotonous tasks. But once past this stage you can begin to take on more responsibility and have various opportunities to progress.

The prospect of securing a senior role – such as Head of Settlements or Fund Accountant – is not uncommon for the right individual, but unfortunately many do not spot this long-term opportunity and fall by the wayside.

4. Earlier management opportunities

Asset management firms typically have a flatter structure than asset servicing companies. Larger in size, the latter have a more rigid and graded approach. This may seem unappealing to some, but in practice it can open more doors to earlier managerial responsibility.

A typical career path for the right candidate might be:

Ops admin → Senior Analyst → Team leader → Manager → Head of → Director

5. More fluid market

Due to the size of most asset servicing organisations, staff turnover tends to be higher than their asset management counterparts. But again, this raises opportunities for the right individual.

This fluid market can make it easier to move between firms when the right opportunity presents itself, as the roles and skills required are very similar.

International opportunities are also on offer as many of the asset servicing firms in Edinburgh and across Scotland are multinationals.

With functions in the US, London, Hungary and elsewhere, candidates have an excellent chance to gain international experience – whether that is moving to other departments internally or moving to competitors overseas.

Servicing success

Whether you are still a student, about to graduate or have a few years of relevant experience under your belt, don’t overlook investment operations - an important sector at the heart of Scotland’s financial services industry.

With determination and perseverance, you could be enjoying a long and successful career within this rewarding industry.

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Rachael O'Neill
Associate Director, Investment Operations – Financial Services
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