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What Is Asset Management, and What Do Asset Managers Do?

Photo: Asset Management Photo: Asset Management

How do you manage your assets?

Asset management is the process of gradually building up overall wealth through the purchase, upkeep, and sale of investments with the potential for appreciation. Professionals in asset management provide this service to clients. They may also be referred to as financial advisors or portfolio managers. While some work for investment banks or other financial institutions, many are self-employed.

Knowledge of Asset Management

The dual objectives of asset management are to increase value and reduce risk. In other words, the client’s risk tolerance is the first thing to be discussed. Risk-averse individuals include retirees who rely on portfolio income and pension fund administrators who manage retirement assets. Any adventurous person, especially a young one, would wish to experiment with high-risk ventures.

Most of us fall somewhere in the center, and asset managers work hard to pinpoint that position for each client. To accomplish the client’s financial goals within the confines of the client’s risk tolerance, the asset manager’s job is to decide which investments to make or avoid. Among the most well-known options for investing are stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, alternative investments, and mutual funds.

It is required of the asset manager to carry out thorough analysis utilizing both macro and microanalytical methods. This involves reviewing business financial records, conducting statistical research on current market patterns, and anything else that might help achieve the stated objective of client asset appreciation.

Asset Manager Types

Asset managers can be categorized according to the kind of asset they manage and the quality of service they offer. Before investing, it’s critical to comprehend a manager’s responsibilities since each asset manager has a varied amount of accountability to the customer.

Investors who are registered advisers

A company that offers customers advice on stock trading or even administers their portfolios is known as a registered investment adviser (RIA). If an RIA manages more than $100 million in assets, they must register with the SEC and are subject to strict regulation.

Trading Broker

A broker is a person or business that serves as a middleman for its clients by purchasing stocks and other securities and managing client assets. Since brokers typically do not have a fiduciary commitment to their customers, it is crucial to conduct extensive research before making a purchase.

Financial Consultant

A financial adviser is a specialist who may purchase and sell stocks on behalf of their customers or propose investments to them. Asking first is vital since financial advisors may or may not have a fiduciary commitment to their customers. Many financial consultants have areas of expertise, such as tax or estate planning.


The least expensive kind of investment manager isn’t even a person. A robo-advisor is a computer algorithm that automatically manages and rebalances an investor’s portfolio based on preset objectives and risk tolerances, selling and purchasing stocks as necessary. Robo-advisors are far less expensive than a personalized investing solution because no human is involved.

What Is the Price of Asset Management?

Different fee schemes are available for asset managers. The most typical fee structure is a percentage of the under-managed assets, with a lower industry average for bigger portfolios and a rate of roughly 1% for assets up to $1 million. Others can demand payment for each deal they make. Some people can even get paid to upsell securities to their customers.

Knowing if your management company has a fiduciary obligation to serve the client’s interests is crucial since these incentives may harm the client’s interests. They could suggest transactions or investments against the client’s best interests if not.

How Asset Management Firms Operate

Asset management firms compete to meet wealthy people’s and institutions’ investment demands. Financial institutions frequently maintain accounts that include check-writing privileges, credit and debit cards, margin loans, brokerage services, and check-writing rights.

Money that people put into their accounts is frequently invested in a money market fund, which provides a higher return than a standard savings account. Both non-FDIC funds and money backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) are available to account holders.

Account holders also benefit from having a single organization that can handle all of their banking and investment requirements.

This kind of account was made feasible only when the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. Separating banking and investing services was necessary under the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, implemented during the Great Depression. They need to keep the “Chinese wall” between divisions up at this point.

An illustration of an asset management organization

To meet the needs of clients who want to explore banking and investing choices through one vehicle under one roof, Merrill Lynch provides a Cash Management Account (CMA). Investors get access to a private financial counselor through the account. This adviser provides guidance and a variety of investment choices, including foreign exchange deals and initial public offerings (IPOs), in which Merrill Lynch may participate.

Tiered interest rates apply to cash deposits. Deposit accounts can be connected to apply the right rate when all eligible funds are combined. The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) protects the securities stored in the account. Instead of protecting investor assets from inherent risk, SIPC shields them from the brokerage firm’s financial collapse.

The account enables free worldwide access to Bank of America automated teller machines (ATMs) and customary check-writing capabilities. Wire transfers, fund transfers, and bill payment services are offered. Users may access their accounts and perform various tasks using a mobile device and the MyMerrill app.

Accounts with qualified assets totaling more than $250,000 are exempt from the yearly $125 fee and the $25 charge for each sub-account owned.

What distinguishes an asset management firm from a brokerage?

Institutions for asset management are fiduciary businesses that individuals with sizable holdings typically utilize. They often have trading discretion over client accounts and are required by law to work in the customer’s best interests. Brokers don’t manage their clients’ portfolios; they only execute and facilitate deals.

What does a manager of assets do?

When an asset manager first meets with a client, they discuss their long-term financial goals and the level of risk they are willing to take to achieve them. The manager will then suggest a combination of assets that aligns with the goals. The manager is responsible for developing the customer’s portfolio, managing it daily, making necessary modifications, and routinely updating the client on those changes.

Which organizations perform the best in asset management?

Based on total assets under management (AUM) as of July 2023, BlackRock ($9.09 trillion), Vanguard Group ($8.1 trillion), Fidelity Investments ($3.8 trillion), The Capital Group ($2.2 trillion), and Amundi ($2.01 trillion) were the top five asset management companies.

Digital Asset Management: What Is It?

Digital asset management, or DAM, keeps media assets in one place so all team members can access them as needed. This method is typically employed when several teams of workers must simultaneously work on huge audio or video files.

Asset management companies offer their clients the service of purchasing and selling assets on their behalf. Asset managers come in various forms; some work for family offices and affluent individuals, while others represent big banks and institutional investors.


  • Asset management is to increase an investment portfolio’s value over time while keeping risk manageable.
  • Financial organizations catering to high-net-worth people, governmental bodies, businesses, and institutional investors like universities and pension funds offer asset management.
  • Asset managers are subject to fiduciary obligations. They must act in good faith while making judgments on behalf of their customers.

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