Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.
Sample of Reported Job Titles
Financial Analyst, Securities Analyst, Investment Analyst, Equity Research Analyst, Credit Products Officer, Operational Risk Analyst, Planning Analyst, Research Analyst, Real Estate Analyst
Financial analysts gather information, assemble spreadsheets, write reports, and review all non-legal pertinent information about prospective deals. They examine the feasibility of a deal and prepare a plan of action based on financial analysis. Being an analyst requires a vigilant awareness of financial trends. Analysts have a heavy reading load, keeping abreast of news stories, market movements, and industry profiles in financial newspapers, magazines, and books. Most analyst jobs are in banking houses or for financial-advising firms, which means following corporate culture and wearing corporate dress. If a deal demands it, they must be prepared to travel anywhere for indeterminate lengths of time.
The following are examples of types of financial analysts:
Portfolio managers supervise a team of analysts and select the mix of products, industries, and regions for their company’s investment portfolio. These managers not only are responsible for the overall portfolio but also are expected to explain investment decisions and strategies in meetings with investors.
Fund managers work exclusively with hedge funds or mutual funds. Both fund and portfolio managers frequently make split-second buy or sell decisions in reaction to quickly changing market conditions.
Ratings analysts evaluate the ability of companies or governments to pay their debts, including bonds. On the basis of their evaluation, a management team rates the risk of a company or government not being able to repay its bonds.
Risk analysts evaluate the risk in investment decisions and determine how to manage unpredictability and limit potential losses. This job is carried out by making investment decisions such as selecting dissimilar stocks or having a combination of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in a portfolio.
A bachelor’s degree in any discipline is acceptable, so long as the potential analyst’s course of study demonstrates an ability to understand and work with numbers. Those with computer science, physical science, or statistics backgrounds may find the field more welcoming than do liberal arts majors. Business majors don’t necessarily have an advantage; each company trains the incoming class of financial analysts before they begin the job. To become a financial analyst you need to have a strong sense of purpose-it is not a job for those who are uncertain that their future lies in the financial world.
Median Salary 2018
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a Financial Analyst in 2018 was $85,660.
Want to know more?
- Princeton Review-Financial Analyst
- Bureau of Labor Statistics-Financial Analyst
- O*NET-Financial Analyst
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