What is an Asset Manager?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2019
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Asset managers are individuals who are responsible for overseeing the performance of the financial assets of their clients. This often includes the management of any stock holdings, bond issues, real estate, or other assets that the client possesses. An asset manager will seek to find the ideal balance between incurring risk and earning returns from investments, thus increasing the value of the client’s portfolio. Managers of this type may work for brokerage firms or function as independent managers who work for private clients.

The typical asset manager focuses on the process of investment management. This involves monitoring the performance of any stocks, bonds, or other securities that a client has in his or her financial portfolio. As part of the management process, the asset manager will make recommendations regarding which investments to hold on to over the long term, which ones should be sold within a given period of time, and which new stock or bond offerings should be acquired for the portfolio. The goal is to maximize the return on all assets contained in the portfolio, while keeping the level of risk associated with the investment process within the limits determined by the client.


Along with managing investments like stocks and bonds, an asset manager may be called upon to manage real estate holdings that are owned by the client. This can involve making sure the properties remain profitable and advising the client when to sell those assets and convert the proceeds into other forms of investments. The manager will often counsel the client when to make improvements to the properties, as a means of positioning the client to ultimately earn more benefit from those real estate holdings.

Depending on the relationship between the asset manager and the client, the manager may be granted limited authorization to engage in buying and selling on behalf of the client. This is often the case when the business relationship has been established for some time, and the client has come to trust both the expertise and the integrity of the manager. However, it is important to understand that the client always has the ability to override the suggestions of the manager, and take an alternate course of action, if he or she desires.

In order to function as an asset manager, it is necessary to have an eye for detail, since the tasks associated with the work focus on keeping an ongoing accounting of the assets of the client. The manager must also be well-versed in understanding how various investment markets work, and be able to identify upcoming trends that will have an impact on the value of the client’s investment portfolio. It is also important that the asset manager understand all laws and regulations currently in place that relate to investing and trading options. This helps to ensure that the client always complies with those standards when executing any type of financial transaction that involves the assets placed in the care of the manager.


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