Job description for asset managers
Asset managers, as the name suggests, look after or manage the assets of a company. These assets can be of any type – physical, digital or financial. As one can imagine, the skill set needed to manage different types of assets can be quite varied. For example, managing financial assets requires an understanding of investment portfolios and theories. Whereas managing physical assets requires an understanding of how to manage real estate portfolios or other depreciating assets like a transport fleet of trucks, for example.
Therefore, the job description for asset managers would be based on the broad category of assets that they are expected to manage. Here are some activities that are common to most asset management jobs:
Analysis and valuations – Asset managers may be required to perform a lot of analysis on their existing assets or any potential assets that the company is interested in acquiring. When an asset is first being purchased, a thorough analysis needs to be performed to assess the lifetime value that such an asset can generate for the company. Based on such analyses, the decision to acquire an asset, over other competing investments, is made.
This analysis can be quite complicated based on the size of the acquisition. For example, acquiring a large real estate asset would require a thorough analysis of the various market forces, cost of capital, the cash flow generated by the asset including making predictions for several years and other factors.
Due diligence and negotiations – The due diligence process can also be quite cumbersome especially for certain high-value, real estate assets. Financial assets are generally standardised but there’s still a lot of contractual notes that have to be assessed. For physical assets, the due diligence can be quite a drawn-out process and asset managers would be expected to lead this process along with any third parties specifically assigned for this purpose.
Once the due diligence process is complete, the actual negotiation process begins. The role that the asset manager would play here would depend upon the size of the acquisition and the structure of the company.
Liaising and coordinating – Asset managers have to spend a great deal of time liaising with dozens of vendors and internal stakeholders. They are usually the main point of contact when anything is required from one of their vendors. While some vendor contracts are managed through detailed service level agreements, there are usually a lot of ad hoc requests that require tact and diplomacy to handle.
Coordination with internal departments, especially finance and operations, is also a daily task. Asset managers play a key role in ensuring that operations are not impacted because of any issues with any of the assets under their management.
Operating plans and budgets – Asset managers would also be expected to prepare a detailed plan for the operations of various assets. For example, if the asset is a fleet of trucks for transporting the company’s raw materials or finished products, then the asset manager would need to ensure that there are enough of them to meet the company needs and plan for any eventuality.
Preparing the budgets for the maintenance of any assets would also fall under the purview of the asset manager.
Monitoring and reporting on the health of the portfolio – Asset managers would also be required to continuously monitor the health and performance of their portfolios. This analysis would then need to be shared with management or other key stakeholders at a predetermined frequency
Training and leadership – Depending on the size of the company and the assets under management, the asset manager might be assisted by a team of professionals. In that case, the asset manager would be responsible for providing the relevant training to all the direct reports. These professionals might be maintenance staff or asset managers themselves who specialise in handling specific types of assets.
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