Legal, investment and financial firms rely on portfolio compliance specialists to assist in the ongoing oversight and administration of investment compliance programs. The path to a portfolio compliance specialist career can begin with enrolling in an MBA program with a specialization in Finance.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment growth for financial analysts, including portfolio compliance specialists, will be very strong in coming years. The increasing number of assets held by firms and individuals as well as the complexity and global diversification of investments will spur demand for compliance professionals. Competition for these well-paying jobs will be keen; candidates with master’s degrees in business or finance should have the best prospects.

Job Duties

Professionals working as portfolio compliance specialists use their in-depth knowledge of fixed income and other securities to monitor and review trading activity for regulatory and compliance issues, and to make appropriate trade decisions. They are typically responsible for the design, implementation and ongoing maintenance of portfolio management. In addition, they may develop policies and procedures, monitor investment compliance and oversee trading. Continuous pre- and post-trade compliance monitoring is another important aspect of this position.

Portfolio compliance specialists research potential issues and report them to clients or company management. These finance experts also analyze account transactions and portfolio holdings for risk, and work toward resolving any violations. Ensuring that an organization is in compliance with all accounts and funds is the overall goal of the portfolio compliance specialist.

Typically, the portfolio compliance specialist position is a challenging and multifaceted role. Additional responsibilities could include: conducting complete compliance verifications for all accounts and mutual funds; researching potential compliance issues; reporting to management; and leading process improvement, scenario analysis, and technology testing.

The typical work environment for portfolio compliance specialists is a comfortable office. While a 40-hour week is standard, longer hours could be necessary during certain activities, such as resolving compliance issues. Depending on the employer, travel may be required.

Potential Salary for Portfolio Compliance Specialists

BLS data for May 2009 indicate the average annual salary for the category that includes portfolio compliance specialists was $85,240, while the middle 50% earned between $55,640 and $98,920. The lowest 10% earned approximately $44,080, while those in the highest 10% bracket brought in about $139,350.

National data on PayScale.com in January 2011 revealed that finance managers, such as portfolio compliance specialists, can enhance potential salaries by earning a master’s degree. Based on 75th percentile salary figures, finance managers with an MBA earned approximately $107,531 per year, while those with a BS degree in finance earned $98,536 per year – a differential of over 9%.

The data shows that the top salaries generally go to those with solid experience and the advanced education employers need to remain competitive.

Education and Training Requirements

Portfolio compliance specialist jobs usually require a bachelor’s degree. Many employers prefer to hire candidates with an MBA or a master’s degree in finance. In addition, a broad understanding of finance, business, economics, accounting and statistics is usually required.

Finance and business professionals who wish to enter the field of portfolio compliance can boost their chances for success by enrolling in an MBA program with a specialization in Finance. Coursework typically includes strategic management, investment management, portfolio analysis, and financial markets and institutions.

Employers can be confident that professionals who have earned an MBA with a specialization in Finance are able to:

  • Understand how operations and business success are affected by finance best practices, including compliance.
  • Position a company for success through strong portfolio performance.
  • Develop effective solutions to real-world business problems.
  • Analyze interest rates and investment returns.
  • Leverage advanced knowledge and skills to succeed as a portfolio compliance specialist.

Essential Skills for Success in a Portfolio Compliance Specialist Career

Are you interested in working in a dynamic, fast-paced field? Do you flourish in challenging environments? Do you have the ability to shift priorities as needs dictate? With these attributes and skills such as analytical problem-solving, written and verbal communication, and attention to detail, you could achieve success as a portfolio compliance manager. Acquiring the business knowledge employers seek now, through an MBA program with a specialization in Finance, can help you stand out from the crowd and land an exciting portfolio compliance specialist position!

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