Asset Management Interview Preparation

Hi all,

I recently got a 1st round interview for an analyst role at a mid-size Asset Management firm (deals with both institutional and high wet work individuals).

I was wondering what would be the interview process will be like. Any technical should I brush up on? and what kind of person do they usually look for. I believe the role will revolve more about research (stock recommendations, ideal generating etc) than portfolio management.

Thanks for your help :)

Asset Management Interview Preparation

The following list is not all-inclusive however it will provide you with a rough framework for your asset management interview.

  1. Walk me through your resume
  2. Make an effort to narrate your story. Lead the narrative to the interview. In other words, why are you there? Know your story and tell it in 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Why buy side
  4. This answer should highlight your interest in the industry and should tie into your story if possible. Two reasons to consider are as follows. One, idea generation that requires you to form a unique perspective on an investment. Two, the independent nature of the research process that requires the agent to synthesize information from multiple sources. Also, keep in mind that you may receive a variation on this such as "Why asset management?"

  5. Why their firm
  6. Avoid answers that make the firm or job position a means as opposed to an end. Ex. I want this job so I can make good money. Instead, highlight unique qualities of the firm.

    Some firms maintain distinctive work structures for new associates, e.g. equity research associates at Fidelity, T. Rowe, and Putnam (I believe) all initiate coverage on their own stocks from the moment they start the job. In contrast, other firms follow more of an apprenticeship model. So if you're interviewing for any of the former firms, you could talk about how you like being given substantial responsibility from the get-go.
    If the firm you're interviewing for doesn't do anything particularly special, just claim that you spoke to so-and-so at the firm and you had a really good impression of the firm's culture

  7. Why their investment strategy
  8. This ties in closely to the stock pitch that follows. In order to properly execute that pitch, you will need an understanding of the firm's strategy (growth, value, long-only etc)

  9. Pitch a stock
  10. Aim for 2-3 minutes - know it extremely well and tailor it to their strategy. i.e. focus on the tangible book, ROIC, FCF if value fund, EPS/margin upside if growth fund. Be ready to pitch another stock. have It's best to know one name like the back of your hand, and have another name or two that you can pitch - long or short - from a high-level. See the stock pitch template for a more detailed look at this.

    There are some nuances to this process and the best way to prepare is to practice. So know your resume, story and stock pitch's cold. In fact, know all five points for your firm. This should provide a solid foundation for initial interviews.

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Comments (46)

Mar 8, 2012 - 5:00pm
GetOnTop, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Definitely could use some more info on the position, but you should at least be able to talk about a few investment ideas. One long and one short idea is probably enough. Know your macro stuff.

Mar 8, 2012 - 8:39pm
NexusS, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well this position is an entry level as I am just graduating from college.

I believe the position is a research side where I will be doing financial modelling to provide recommendation for in-house portfolio managers. Doing various research and analytical work for the sector that I will end up with. In a way I guess its a mini equity research role?

Thank you Bowser :) I'll definitely prepare for those!

Mar 9, 2012 - 9:56pm
Mon22, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Asset Management firm interview (Originally Posted: 04/19/2010)

Hey!

I have an interview within an asset management team that manages funds that invest only in fixed income products. They want someone to do some credit anaylsis of companies and investment opportunities

can anyone give me any interview tips on what to prepare??? anything would help!!!!

Thanks :)

Mar 9, 2012 - 10:00pm
albatrosia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

interview with Asset Management firm (Originally Posted: 01/26/2013)

hey Guys! I need your help. I am a finance major, and I will be graduading on September 2013. I have an intership interview with an Asset Management Company next week, and I really liked their corporate culture (i did some research). since I do not have much experience, and interviews are usually not the most pleasant thing to do, could you please please help me with it. I reaLLY LIKE TO HAVE AN INTERNSHIP WITH THEM, SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY! the position is in asset management

Thank you so much!!!!

Mar 9, 2012 - 10:05pm
Tximu, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Asset Management final interview (Originally Posted: 03/04/2013)

I'm having a final interview for an AM position and I would like to know what kind of questions to expect. I've read some posts talking about technicals, but I am worried about questions such as "Which kind of skills should a good portfolio manager have?" (which I was questioned in the Human Resources interview…). Or is it just an interview to see if I fit in the department? I know they are interviewing more candidates so I don't think this is the case…

Thanks a lot in advance!

Mar 9, 2012 - 10:07pm
crazi4ib, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What to study to prepare for asset management interview? (Originally Posted: 07/31/2013)

I have a good general knowledge of all finance-related aspects, but was wondering which areas out of the following should I study in-depth to prepare for an AM interview?

  • Accounting
  • Valuation
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Currencies
  • Options
  • M&A

Thanks a lot!

Mar 9, 2012 - 10:17pm
olivia91, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Interview Guide for Asset Management Interviews? (Originally Posted: 03/22/2015)

For investment banking there are quite a lot of interview guides and courses, such as the Wall Street Prep, Breaking into Wall Street, and the Vault Guide. I am wondering if there is something similar for Asset Management? I have taken several finance classes related to asset management, but want to go over and prepare questions that may be asked in an interview in a more systematic way. Thanks.

Mar 9, 2012 - 10:20pm
Simbi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

asset management interview prep (Originally Posted: 07/10/2015)

Background of myself: In Canada, CA background (4 years at one of the Big 4) + most recently two years in sell side ER as an associate, done great work with analyst and my analyst will give me a good recommendation if needed

Interviewing with a fundamental equities fund and I passed the first round of phone interview with HR. The next round is a phone interview with a Portfolio Manager that is 40-60min long. Never done an AM interview so wondering what I should prepare. Aside from the usual fit, personality questions, I am planning to place an emphasis on:

  • Macro events
  • 3-4 stocks on my coverage list that I can talk about and recommend
  • 3-4 stocks outside of my sector and coverage list (the fund is more general and is not specific to the sector I am in)

Am I in the right direction and is there anything else I should be preparing? My interview is on Tuesday and I have been reading up a lot on macro stuff as a start. I got the whole weekend to prep.

Your input is appreciated!

Mar 9, 2012 - 10:23pm
Simbi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Did not go very well - I got nervous and attempted to show that I know stuff outside of my sector. If I can do it again I would focus on pitching stocks in my sector until i get asked for one outside. My takeaway is, people look at your resume and they know your background so don't pretend to be someone else. Also make sure you prepare some short ideas!

Best Response
Mar 9, 2012 - 10:25pm
models_and_bottles, what's your opinion? Comment below:
he next round is a phone interview with a Portfolio Manager that is 40-60min long. Never done an AM interview so wondering what I should prepare. Aside from the usual fit, personality questions, I am planning to place an emphasis on:
  • Macro events
  • 3-4 stocks on my coverage list that I can talk about and recommend
  • 3-4 stocks outside of my sector and coverage list (the fund is more general and is not specific to the sector I am in)

Am I in the right direction and is there anything else I should be preparing?

This is an old thread, but these are good questions. In my experience (5+ years on the buy side now), the best way to prep for an AM interview is:

  • know the fund's investment philosophy. Is it growth, value, macro, etc.? If they're value, are they "deep value," or more Buffett style? What are their portfolio holdings? What do they say in interviews? Does the company have a firm-wide philosophy, or does it vary by product / team? Are their holdings consistent with their stated philosophy? How important is meeting with management and visiting companies?

  • know YOUR investment philosophy. If you have any experience on either the sell or especially buy side, expect to get a lot of questions here. They want to see if you have a philosophy that you apply consistently that also meshes with theirs. Be prepared to point to examples of companies you've recommended that are consistent with this philosophy. Also be prepared to talk about examples where your recs didn't work. If those bad recs were inconsistent with your stated philosophy, prepared to get hammered.

  • you should always have an idea of the macro for your coverage sector, but if the fund isn't a macro fund you better not be pitching macro-oriented ideas (i.e. "the China growth story has legs" or whatever).

  • if the firm is located in a different city than where you currently live, be prepared to have legitimate reasons why you want to relocate long term. Most AM firms view their people as investments. If there is any risk you will leave in the next 5 years because you don't like the city you will get a lot of questions. I actually got this is every single interview.

Aug 12, 2017 - 8:39am
superconnard, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Interview - Possible ques in asset mgt (Originally Posted: 11/07/2009)

Hi i was wondering where i can get info relative to possible ques in asset mgt. im not an econs student but i want to break into this industry anyhow

could anyone give me some info about possible ques in AM they might ask me? or some websites where i can find these info?

thanks

"What we can, we must; and because we can, we must"
Aug 12, 2017 - 8:40am
superconnard, what's your opinion? Comment below:

ive just got the news that im through to the interviews of a big boutique

"What we can, we must; and because we can, we must"
Aug 12, 2017 - 8:41am
NewIBHire27, what's your opinion? Comment below:

There are guides on this site that help you with that

Aug 12, 2017 - 8:42am
stros88, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A ton of questions on portfolio management of all asset classes, risk management, client services etc. Depending on the firm can be technical value investing based, or more general.

Aug 12, 2017 - 8:44am
econ, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Technical Questions for AM Interview (Originally Posted: 11/03/2009)

What technical questions could come up during an asset management interview for entry-level positions? Put differently, what topics, concepts, and modeling skills do I need to learn in order to prepare for entry-level jobs in asset management?

P.S. Would the WSO technical guide be helpful in preparing for interviews in asset management? Or is that guide mainly for those interviewing with i-banks?

  • 2
Aug 12, 2017 - 8:45am
NewIBHire27, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Never been through any AM interviews, but while the tech guide is probably more focused on IB/S&T, it definitely will provide you with some overall color in prepping for any finance interview.

Aug 12, 2017 - 8:46am
indian-banker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The WSO guide will be helpful. Questions in AM are very similar to questions in sales and trading. A lot of questions will be on products; i.e. fixed income, stocks, commodities etc. You can also expect some questions on portfolio theory; performance evaluation methods, portfolio optimization (efficient frontier etc.) and hedging methods. Also learn about the different types of funds; liability driven, benchmark driven etc. Make sure you know the markets well. My suggestion is you try and get a copy of "handbook of portfolio management" by Fabozzi. It's a good book but does have a lot of redundant information. I also suggest going through some of the stuff on PIMCO's website if you're looking at fixed income.

Aug 12, 2017 - 8:47am
econ, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Any other book recommendations? I will definitely read through the WSO guide, but I'm hoping for a few more reading recommendations.

Aug 12, 2017 - 8:48am
fmashatan09, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Aug 12, 2017 - 8:49am
Gekko21, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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