How to become a fund accountant for a buy side firm

Anna Miah 14.03.2018

Advice from a finance recruiter on what employers are looking for in fund accountants and how you can become one.

For many finance professionals looking for an opportunity within the buy side, working for a fund administrator is an excellent option. With many firms offering study support it’s a great way to gain a qualification and build up knowledge and experience of the sector. 

While there is nothing wrong with pursuing a career with a fund administrator, the day may come when your client asks you to move in-house into their team or you may feel ready to make the move across yourself.

I’m often asked on how best to prepare for this, here a few key points to help you with the transition. 

As with any job, there are certain elements of the role we prefer and see as areas of strengths. With some asset classes consistently performing over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of new funds set up to focus on niche offerings. If you have an area that you feel really passionate about, develop your knowledge around this. If you’re lucky enough to obtain an interview within a firm in your chosen sector, this “passion” will positively support the additional preparation that you will have done.

Many employers will actively seek individuals looking to make the move from third party to in-house. Administration firms are generally seen to be well-structured and deadline-driven environments, where you are working to client demands. This training prepares you well for some of the challenges of working in-house where you would face similar situations or deadlines from your colleagues or deals teams. You may, in some instances, find yourself up against individuals who are first movers out of practice when interviewing, your experience dealing with client demands is something that you should be highlighting as an advantage. 

While there is potentially a lot of client interaction working within fund admin, one of the appeals of working for the fund directly is the face-to-face interaction and exposure levels. This is a great way to gain a better understanding of the transactions or deal process with some firms. With technical skills sometimes not enough to differentiate between candidates, employers are keen to find how you deal with difficult situations and challenges and how those skills will translate to the client side.

While the move is not for everybody, it remains a very popular career path for many. Whether the drivers are professionally, personally or financially motivated it’s a very competitive market throughout.

Contact me to discuss your own career options ahead.

Anna Miah's picture
Senior Consultant | Accounting and Finance Recruitment
amiah@morganmckinley.co.uk