Unlocking the Role of a Finance Product Manager and How to Become One

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BY: Product School

September 13, 2023 - 7 min read

Updated: September 13, 2023 - 7 min read

Want to become a finance product manager in the world of fintech? You're in the right place. In this post, we’ll dive deep into the intricacies of a finance product manager's universe, discover more about their core responsibilities, and lay out the roadmap for you to step into this pivotal role. 

Decoding the role of a Finance Product Manager

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Ever wondered about the driving force behind the innovative financial products and systems that are transforming the financial field? Well, that credit largely goes to finance product managers. You'll find that this role sits at the crossroads of technology, finance, and strategy.

Essentially, a finance product manager guides the creation, testing, and introduction of new financial systems and products. Beyond the launch, they continuously monitor the marketing and performance of financial products, making sure they meet user demands and adapt to changing market trends.

Just like the captain of a ship, the finance product manager charts out the course, drafts a comprehensive product roadmap, and navigates the entire journey of the product, from its inception to maturity. This all-encompassing approach ensures the alignment between the product vision and its tangible outcomes.

Why Finance Product Managers are key to product success

With the meteoric rise of financial technology, the need for skilled finance product managers has never been more critical. The power of solid project management shines particularly bright in fintech, setting apart the trailblazers from the rest.

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Why, you ask? Simply put, this skill is embedded in the DNA of a finance product manager's role. If the idea of spearheading innovative projects and leading dynamic teams in financial services gets your pulse racing, you're in for a treat. 

As a finance product manager, you are at the heart of a product's success. Your market insights ensure that the products you oversee are perfectly tailored to current demands. You're not just thinking about the present; your strategic vision allows you to anticipate market shifts and adapt product strategies for long-term relevance. 

It’s your responsibility to blend the technical with the business side, making sure that products are top-notch and align with the company's goals. One of your pivotal roles is in risk management: you're on the frontlines, identifying and maneuvering through potential challenges in the financial area. 

Your dedication to the customer ensures that the products you manage resonate deeply, ensuring their satisfaction and loyalty. Keep in mind that it’s your leadership in fostering teamwork and commitment to the product's evolution post-launch that makes you indispensable. 

A Finance Product Manager skillset

While the specific skill set might differ slightly depending on the organization you're aiming for, there's a foundational set of competencies that are universally sought-after in the role.

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First off, you'll need outstanding research skills. The financial market is vast, and understanding the potential of a product within this landscape requires in-depth analysis. You'll be the one leading the research, diving deep into data, and setting those all-important research-based targets.

Your communication skills are just as vital. Imagine the need to distill complex financial products into understandable nuggets for your team, or paint a compelling picture for early testers. Clear and concise communication ensures fewer meetings, better understanding, and an efficient product development cycle.

Speaking of efficiency, your skills in project management will be key. It's your role to ensure that the development process sails smoothly, hitting every milestone on time without unforeseen hiccups.

And of course, familiarity with product management software is non-negotiable. Big players like JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs, and even emerging fintech startups, leverage product management tools, be it proprietary ones or popular platforms like Jira, to keep their product development on track.

Lastly, never underestimate the power of staying updated. The financial field is constantly changing, and influenced by global events, policies, and innovations. Keeping your finger on the pulse ensures you're always a step ahead, ready to adapt and innovate.

Responsibilities of a Finance Product Manager

Here are ten core responsibilities of a financial product manager you should be familiar with:

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1. Crafting product strategy

Given the intricate nature of financial products, this strategy needs to be expansive yet focused on maximizing profitability.

2. Steering product development

After laying down the strategy, you'll be at the helm during the product's developmental phase. This involves identifying challenges and devising feasible solutions, drawing insights from market analysis and user feedback.

3. Teaming up with analysts & experts

Financial firms may not house engineers, but they do boast a powerhouse of analysts, legal professionals, and banking veterans. You'll collaborate closely with these experts throughout the product's life cycle.

4. Ensuring regulatory compliance

Staying compliant is paramount. As a finance product manager, you'll be ensuring that your products align with relevant laws, safeguarding customer interests, and maintaining ethical business practices.

5. Collaborating on product marketing

While there's a dedicated team for marketing, your deep knowledge of the product makes you an invaluable collaborator. You'll work closely with the marketing team, providing insights that only the finance product manager can offer.

6. Connecting with distributors & vendors

Financial products often find their way to customers through banks, credit unions, and other distributors. As the manager, you'll be the bridge between your firm and these external entities, ensuring seamless distribution and partnership.

7. Identifying risks & liabilities

Every product comes with its set of risks. Part of your role is to forecast these risks, consult with stakeholders, and devise strategies to mitigate potential challenges.

8. Engaging with clients

You’ll be expected to interact with both potential and existing clients, offering them a deep dive into the product's nuances.

9. Presenting to partner firms & vendors

Your in-depth knowledge of the product's long-term prospects and profitability will make you the go-to person for pitching product ideas to external partners and vendors.

10. Expanding product offerings

Building on the success of a product, you might lead the charge in developing spin-offs or advanced versions, catering to a broader or more niche audience.

How to become a Finance Product Manager 

If you’re dreaming of a role that marries finance with product management, here's your roadmap to achieve this sought-after role.

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Dive into a Product Management Certification

While you might have a sea of knowledge, getting a product management certification can act as your lighthouse. These programs don't just pile on theory; they equip you with industry-specific insights and practical skills. It's like getting the keys to the kingdom – a faster route to landing that job and a gleaming highlight on your resume.

Shadow a Finance Product Manager

Remember the age-old wisdom, "Experience is the best teacher"? Seek opportunities where you can work closely with or under a finance product manager. Roles like junior manager or product owner can serve as stepping stones, providing firsthand experience of the nitty-gritty of the job.

Make LinkedIn your best friend

Networking is more than just coffee meetups. Dive into platforms like LinkedIn. Start by following industry stalwarts and immerse yourself in their shared wisdom. This not only keeps you informed about the industry's trajectory but also positions you as a keen learner and potential candidate. Engage, share, comment, and let your passion shine through. Before you know it, you might be rubbing virtual shoulders with the who's who of the industry.

While these steps provide a blueprint, your journey will be uniquely yours. Blend these strategies with your passion, persistence, and personal touch, and you'll be on the path to becoming a finance product manager in no time!

Learn more with Product School

If you are considering beefing up your credentials to become a finance product manager, our Product Manager Certification (PMC)™  designed by successful Product Managers can help you build the specific skills of this role while offering the hands-on experience you need to lead product teams.

Discover the PMC today, and take the first step towards becoming a strategic, successful, and influential Product Manager. Schedule a call today to find out more.

Updated: September 13, 2023

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