A mutual fund is a financial product. As with any product, you have a manufacturer -- that is, the mutual fund company -- and a sales distribution network. Mutual fund companies are divided into two main categories: those that are sold via brokers and sales agents, and those which market directly to the consumer. For those funds that are sold via brokers to consumers at the retail level, they need sales professionals to market the fund to investment advisors to create a compelling case for steering their clients' assets into the the fund.
To be competitive for a job as a mutual fund wholesaler, you should have at least a bachelor's degree, generally with an investment-related major, such as finance or economics. You should also have three or more years of securities industry experience, as well as a valid Series 6 or Series 7 securities license. The wholesaler should have the investment knowledge required to anticipate and answer questions from advisors about returns, risk, investment style, modern portfolio theory and many other subjects.
Role of the Wholesaler
Just as the retail level financial advisor must "sell" an investment to his clients, the mutual fund wholesaler must also sell financial advisors on the investment. To be successful, a mutual fund wholesaler must be able to differentiate his fund or fund family from among hundreds of similar funds. A fund wholesaler can represent her fund directly to the retail level advisors, or focus on obtaining so-called "shelf space" from online brokerages.
To be successful, the fund wholesaler should have impeccable presentation skills, and have a polished and professional demeanor. You should be comfortable speaking in large groups as well as one-on-one settings. Occasionally, you will be asked to accompany a sales agent or broker on an important sales call to close a large account.
Fund wholesalers typically earn a base salary, plus a bonus or commission structure based on the assets gathered within the agent's territory. The base salary can vary widely depending on the nature of the fund or funds represented and the assets available to the fund company, but is generally in the upper five figure range or higher.