Technical Investment Management Questions

by Cindy Quarters

When interviewing for a position in investment management, it is not unusual for a candidate to be asked a series of technical questions designed to assess her knowledge on the subject. These questions may vary from detailed inquiries about the investment process to puzzles that require some thought to put together. The main purpose for all of these questions is typically twofold. The employer wants to explore the candidate’s understanding of investment management and see if she can handle pressure and think on her feet.

Investment Management Basics

Investment management involves managing money, securities and assets for others on a professional basis. This includes handling such things as stocks, bonds and real estate in such a way as to help clients make money on their investments. Clients may include individual investors, businesses or entities such as pension funds or charities. An investment manager generally helps investors locate and secure investments, and tracks those investments on a continual basis. He typically works for an investment company that handles many different clients.

Calculations

One type of technical investment question often asked involves calculating the value of something specific. For example, the candidate might be asked to determine the annual demand for a given item, such as bicycles, in a given country, based on parameters provided by the interviewer. A commonly asked question requires that the candidate explain how to calculate the delta of an option. Such questions help the interviewer to determine how well the candidate understands some of the basic functions of investment management.

Valuations

A candidate for a job in investment management might be asked questions about how to determine valuations, which are different methods for determining value. Specific questions commonly relate to equity valuation and might bring in variables to be considered such as cash flow, discount rates and various types of adjustments that may be made. These questions are designed to test a candidate’s technical knowledge as well as her ability to think quickly even when stressed.

Industry Knowledge (REF 2, 3)

A position in investment management is usually very competitive, and an interviewer may ask specific questions related to the technical details of the industry and the hiring company to identify people who demonstrate a willingness to go beyond the basics. Questions about the company’s recent closing stock prices are common. A candidate may also be asked about very specific topics, including commonly used forms and filings. There may also be one or two inquiries related to the company’s competition within the industry, including competitors' stock prices and company ranking details. It is possible that this knowledge of industry details is all that is needed to set one applicant apart from the others.

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