Support Jobs in Investment Banking
Investment bankers and analysts require a great deal of support. There are many federal laws and regulations governing their work, and banks also require a hefty amount of documentation to verify that they are complying with all of them.
Investment support employees are primarily administrative assistants to investment analysts, brokers, and bankers, and they are involved in making sure that all documentation needed is bring produced and is accurate.
Investment support staff members provide much needed administrative services to the investment banking department. They may be required to make travel arrangements, call customers, and answer phones. They may also need to do word processing and provide data entry input on spreadsheets.
The goal of investment support staff members is to assist the department's bankers, analysts, and brokers, so they can focus on their primary tasks rather than be bogged down by the paperwork and details involved in their day to day activities. Support staff may be required to serve as liaison between the department and other departments, as well as service personnel such as cleaners, movers, etc.
Support staff members' work may be light one day, and very heavy the next. The pace of work can be hectic, and staff members should enjoy this kind of challenging environment.
If you are a detail-oriented person who enjoys the challenges of a job that can be quite different from day to day, assisting others, and have an interest in investment banking, this may be a good job for you.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of support positions in general (not specifically at banks) is expected to grow as fast as the average of all jobs over the next several years. If this is a career you are especially interested in, you may find it challenging to obtain a position or face a lot of competition.
Most employers require administrative assistants to have a high school diploma or GED for entry level positions. More advanced skills and education may be required for assistants working for executives or in departments which require more advanced knowledge. Some employers may look for candidates that have a combination of previous experience in the banking industry along with an associate's degree in business or a bachelor's degree in business or related field. Certifications are not required, but can also give candidates a competitive edge. Certifications can be obtained through the International Association of Administrative Professionals, National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS), Inc., Legal Secretaries International, Inc, and International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA).
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
One of the most important skills administrative personnel need to possess is excellent communication skills. The investment banking assistant will be interacting with a wide range of people, from sales people calling for appointments, customers, and service people, to very important customers and executives within the bank. The investment banking support staff members need to be able to communicate well with all of the people he or she encounters.
Administrative personnel also need to have very good written communication skills, a very good command of the English language, and have working knowledge of office computer programs, excellent keyboard skills, and very good organizational and time management skills. You will also need to be able to work independently with little supervision. Some investment banking departments look for support staff members with strong analytical skills as well. Assistants who work for higher level executives should also be able to demonstrate good judgment and the ability to take initiative to handle issues, problems, or questions as they arise.
The salaries for investment banking administrative assistants can be very different, depending on the bank and the bank's location. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says average annual wages of administrative personnel were $29,050 in May 2008. Keep in mind, however, this was for all administrative personnel regardless of where they were working. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,160 and $36,020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,440, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $43,240. Administrative assistants to executives can earn an average of around $50,000 per year.
Potential Career Paths
Most administrative assistants advance their careers by obtaining positions with more responsibilities and higher pay. In investment banking departments, support staff may be able to pursue other jobs, such as data entry or processing positions. Support staff could become office supervisors or managers, supervising other assistants. With additional education and training, administrative assistants could also become brokers or analysts in their departments or with other banks. The support person would need to have obtained a bachelor's degree and other on the job training, as well as licensure and certification.