Asset Management Interview Preparation

Rank: Senior Chimp | 17

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.

    Fantastic - Equity Research Associate:

    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 (47)

 
Mar 31,2012

this can range from very technical to mostly fit based... hard to say...

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Mar 31,2012

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.

 
Aug 31,2017

Thank you! This is very useful :)

 
Mar 31,2012

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 31,2012

I was able to do bit more digging and found out that they are growth fund with focus on small/mid cap market.

Any specific advice regarding this?

 
 
Mar 31,2012

I don't know how much help this will be since you're age indicates you're probably interviewing for a much more advanced position than I did. I interviewed as a Sophomore for a credit research internship in a large West Coast FI Asset Mgmt. firm. I basically got a lot of questions about the sub-prime mortgage crisis, especially since when I interviewed it was basically at the height of it. And also a few general questions about they did. Again I was only a Sophomore so I am sure they just wanted to see that I had done a little hw.

 
Mar 31,2012

"m_dot"...which city? If you PM me with more details, I might know which firm you are talking about.

 
Mar 31,2012

AT&T has some great interview tips listed on their site that will help you with the interview part.
http://att.jobs/interview.aspx

 
 
Mar 31,2012

Can you provide more details on the position or post the job description?

 
Mar 31,2012

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Mar 31,2012

when i interviewed I always stressed while market knowledge is crucial, networking and relationship building and maintaining is essential to be a succesful AM; no different from any other area i suppose though

 
 
Mar 31,2012

The first four are probably the most useful. This is obvious.

 
Mar 31,2012
Take_It_To_The_Bank:

The first four are probably the most useful. This is obvious.

I'd agree, show a strong understanding of these first

 
Mar 31,2012

what kind of firm and what's the title? that would help answer your question

 
Mar 31,2012

Asset Management 1st year analyst at a BB

 
Mar 31,2012

PWM, FOF, Equities, Fixed Income or what?

 
Mar 31,2012

I haven't decided yet, but probably not PWM. I am more interested in FOF and equities. When I apply I don't need to specify, right?

 
Mar 31,2012

Never interviewed for BB AM positions so not the right person to ask but my understanding is most are PWM or FOF. In my opinion if you can get one that is direct investing (bonds or equities) then that would be your best route.

 
 
Mar 31,2012

The WSO Guides for behavioral and technical, though geared toward IB, definitely have sections that are highly relevant to AM. Some of the questions/answers might only need a little tweaking to answer them. If you don't have these already, I would definitely recommend them. Regarding coursework like BIWS that is strictly relevant to AM, I'm not aware of anything, but would be interested as well if others do know of something.

 
Mar 31,2012

For technicals, read on bond pricing, structured products, rating agencies, and definitely follow the market.

 
 
Mar 31,2012

Interested to know as well.

 
Mar 31,2012

How did it go? It'd be great if you share some of the questions you were asked.

 
Mar 31,2012

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!

 
Mar 31,2012

That's unfortunate, I wish it had turned out better for you man. But, thanks for taking the time to share with us your experience; I'll be sure to consider what you said.

 
Mar 31,2012

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.
 
Mar 31,2012
 
 
Aug 31,2017

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 31,2017

There are guides on this site that help you with that

 
Aug 31,2017

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 31,2017

Will valuation questions come up in AM interviews?

 
 
Aug 31,2017

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 31,2017

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 31,2017

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Aug 31,2017

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