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Soft Skills Vs Technical Skills - Equal Importance?

17 May 2023

Tom Guilfoyle

Having the technical skills to do the job is no longer enough for funds professionals, soft skills matter too!

Hiring the right fund professional is an essential task for asset management firms. However, finding the ideal candidate can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to assessing their skills. Employers need to balance between technical and soft skills when hiring fund professionals. So how do employers strike a balance between the two when hiring and how important is each skill in fund management? 

 Soft Skills Vs. Technical Skills

Soft skills refer to personal attributes that enable individuals to interact effectively with others. They include communication, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, time management, adaptability, and emotional intelligence. These skills are mostly innate but can be developed over time through training and practice.

On the other hand, technical skills are job-specific and relate to knowledge of software or hardware systems or proficiency in a particular subject matter such as data analysis, financial modelling or portfolio management. Technical skills require formal education or training to master.

 Why Soft Skills Matter in Fund Management

Fund management is not just about numbers; it's also about people. Soft skills play a vital role in fund management as they help build relationships with clients and colleagues while fostering teamwork in the workplace. They also help fund professionals navigate complex situations and solve problems creatively.

For example, effective communication is crucial when explaining complex financial concepts to clients who may not have an investment background. A portfolio manager must communicate investment decisions clearly to clients who may be emotionally attached to their investments.

The ability to influence clients and tackle client queries in an efficient and personalised manner will make candidates stand out from the crowd, as the ability to have tough conversations at times and roll with the punches as well as deliver bad news in a constructive and meaningful way, will show a tough skin nature to aspiring funds professionals.

Leadership is another important soft skill for fund professionals as it enables them to inspire and motivate team members towards achieving common goals. In addition, Emotional Intelligence helps them understand their client's needs better while building trust with them.

 Why Technical Skills Are Important

Technical skills are essential for fund managers because they enable them to analyse data effectively and make informed decisions on behalf of clients. Quantitative analysis is critical in managing funds as it helps identify trends that could impact investment decisions.

Technical skills are also vital in compliance and risk management. Fund managers must comply with regulatory requirements that govern their investments. This requires a deep understanding of the relevant laws and regulations. Moreover, technical skills are needed to evaluate risks associated with investment opportunities.

 Finding the Right Balance

When it comes to hiring fund professionals, employers should balance between soft and technical skills. While technical skills may be more important for some roles such as quantitative analyst or portfolio manager, soft skills are equally important when it comes to client-facing roles such as sales, marketing or client services.

Employers should also consider upskilling their employees by providing training in both soft and technical skills. Such training can help employees adapt to changing industry trends and improve their job performance.

 In conclusion, hiring the right fund professionals requires a balance between soft and technical skills. Soft skills play a crucial role in building relationships with clients, fostering teamwork in the workplace, and navigating complex situations. Technical skills enable fund professionals to analyse data effectively, make informed investment decisions while complying with regulatory requirements. Employers should strike a balance between these two sets of skills when recruiting fund professionals while ensuring that they provide training opportunities that continually upskill employees.