Investing in a rise to CIO: What does it take?

If investing leaves your heart aflutter, and putting together long-term financial for portfolios puts a spring in your step, then you may be well on your way to a future position as a Chief Investment Officer.

The CIO of a company deals with the organization's investment portfolios. Often, this individual heads up a team of professionals who control and keep an eye on investment activity, manage pensions, handling external analysts and maintaining solid relationships with investors. In addition to overseeing his or her own staff, the CIO is also responsible for determining both short- and long-term investment strategies. These types of positions turn up in all kinds of places – often combined with other top finance jobs and designated Chief Financial Officer – and though not as common as some other executive positions, such as CFO, they are extremely important to a firm's investment fortunes. 

Will a CFA charter help?
This position is crucial to the development of whatever organization you'll eventually hire by, and thus, it won't be taken lightly. That is why you have to show your experience, professionalism and ability to handle the pressure to hiring managers to get them to begin considering you for the job. One way to illustrate your dedication is by earning a CFA charter.

This won't guarantee you a job, but if you have the resources necessary to dedicate yourself to acquiring one, it won't hurt in the long run to have one on top of degrees in finance and business. A CFA charter isn't easy to obtain, and will show hiring managers your passion for finance. Again though, a CFA won't guarantee you anything, it will just help get you headed in the right direction.

"Without leadership, the C and O in CIO don't apply."

Being chief of investment isn't all about investment
One important reason why a CFA won't guarantee you a job as a CIO is that this position isn't all about finance and investing. The CIO is an executive role, which means that you'll be overseeing a team, and with that responsibility comes a necessity for more than just investment expertise. As someone who must manage a team, the CIO has to be a people-person who can mediate, manage and strategize just as effectively as he or she can invest. As the leader of the investment team, you're going to have to make sure each and every individual's actions are in line with the goals of the company and the investment strategies you have laid out. Without leadership, the C and O in CIO don't apply. 

Day-to-day, this will mean plenty of meetings with various people throughout the organization to make sure that the investment strategy is on track, and isn't at-odds with the developments in global markets. Constant monitoring of the markets and a slew of meetings each day are actually a big part of the CIO position. Often, you'll have to take on some pretty hefty investment roles before ascending to the peak, but once you get there it will surely be rewarding.