What Qualifications Are Needed To Be an Asset Manager?
No matter what the core business activity of a company is, it would have to use various assets to achieve its goals. These assets can be physical, like the building the business operates out of or the machinery, and digital assets, like intellectual property, patents, or even financial investments. In all cases, the company needs dedicated professionals to manage these assets.
Asset managers are highly experienced professionals who deeply understand their specific asset classes. Rather than being generalists, asset managers would likely be better off by specialising in a particular niche like infrastructure or digital asset management.
There are no strict educational qualification requirements for asset managers. A graduate degree is necessary, but the specialisation would depend upon the type of assets the manager handles. For example, if the assets include industrial machinery, then a degree in industrial engineering production would be of value. Similarly, understanding IP or patent law would be instrumental in performing one’s duties if the assets are primarily intellectual property or patents.
Therefore, asset management roles are open to professionals from a broad spectrum of specialisations. For example, a company can manage assets considered artworks; therefore, the asset manager must have experience handling those investments.
For infrastructure-related assets, it might make much sense to understand standards like ISO 55000 (The International Standard for Asset Management), explicitly designed for people and organisations involved in asset management.
The skills of professionals managing financial assets can be different. A business or finance degree followed by an advanced MBA course would be ideal. There exists the opportunity to enrol in one of the several dozen professional certifications like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA). Such asset managers can not only work in companies managing the company’s financial assets but also work for financial services firms and manage the assets of third parties like high net worth individuals or retail customers.
Asset managers would do well to keep themselves focused on a specific area of specialisation when it comes to internships or other opportunities to gain some work experience. This way, they add the most value to their CV when applying for an asset management position. To get more tips about building a CV for an asset management position, please follow the article on CV building.
Another thing to note is that infrastructure asset management roles increasingly require an environmentally friendly approach. Therefore, any experience with that might increase the candidate’s chances of securing an interview call. Experience or education in the tech field is necessary for IT assets management. The right kind of experience is thus dependent on the type of role that is on offer.
What Skills Does an Asset Manager Need?
Domain Experience in Their Specific Niche
As we have demonstrated above, the actual job of an asset manager can be quite different depending on the underlying asset they manage. For example, it would make little sense for an asset manager who handles real estate assets to immediately switch to something completely different, like intellectual property assets.
Therefore, asset managers need to double down on an area of specialisation and accumulate as much valuable work experience as possible. Many assets can be technically challenging or expensive. Therefore, asset managers need the right skills and domain expertise to manage those assets efficiently and derive the most productive use of them.
Performing a valuation of an asset can be as much of an art as a technical, formula-driven exercise. The reason for this is that the value of an investment from its future cash flows can be hard to predict and sensitive to hundreds of unknown variables. An asset manager would need to look at all this data, analyse historical trends and make sensible predictions about future events to gauge an asset’s viability.
A valuation can become increasingly difficult for assets that have relatively long lifetimes. As the time of the projection gets longer, the accuracy of those projections undoubtedly diminishes. Asset managers, thus, need not only technical analysis and modelling skills but also a sound instinct that can only come from years of on-the-job experience.
A sizeable company will invariably have many assets to manage – some in-house, whilst third-party vendors might also control many of these. An asset manager would have the ultimate responsibility to ensure the proper functioning of all these assets, and this requires the ability to handle multiple stakeholders and tasks concurrently.
When the number of requests an asset manager receives can increase exponentially in times of crisis, this can get especially tricky. The ability to gracefully manage the situation during such events is crucial for asset managers. Business continuity planning prepares for such eventualities, and asset managers are pivotal.
People Management Skills
Asset managers usually tend to work with a lot of third-party vendors and need to avail their services in a cost-efficient manner. Detailed service-level agreements cover most third-party vendors’ activities in managing assets; however, asset managers still need to step in occasionally to handle any exceptions. The ability to be diplomatic and tactful in such situations can be invaluable.
These diplomatic skills are also necessary during the negotiation of contracts. These contracts can be part of the asset purchase or negotiations with third-party vendors to manage and maintain the assets.
Regarding internal stakeholder management, asset managers coordinate with the general services manager, the maintenance manager, and other such teams.
Project Management Skills
The acquisition and maintenance of certain assets can be large projects in themselves. To manage these projects successfully, asset managers need to have the skills to manage large-scale projects.
Asset managers can add much value to the company through the cost-effective use of various assets under management. Today it is not entirely uncommon to see asset managers with exact budgets for cost savings that they must achieve yearly.
Managing your department or assets while keeping things within the budget is an important skill to have and plays a prominent role in benchmarking the actual performance of an asset manager. Therefore, This skill can be a major deciding factor during the year-end performance appraisal and when deciding the asset manager’s salary increments or cash bonuses.
Find out more about what being an asset manager is all about. The following articles cover the job description, salaries, CV-building tips and more.
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