Financial analysts make investment recommendations to individuals and businesses. They follow economic trends, evaluate current and historical financial data, and assess the value of individual companies. They may specialise in a geographical region, type of product or one of 11 stock sectors like healthcare or energy.
Duties and responsibilities
- Follow the news, international trade and markets for relevant developments
- Analyse current and historical financial data to forecast future conditions
- Monitor economic, industrial and corporate changes using information from a variety of sources
- Study all regulations, policies, political situations, culture and languages specific to your specialty area
- Visit companies and conduct on-site interviews to better gauge the value and potential of each business
- Interpret data on price, yield, stability and other factors affecting investment programmes
- Prepare plans of action for investment after analysing all available information
- Recommend investments and best time to invest to clients, investment firm staff and the public
- Compile technical reports and create financial models
- Communicate all elements of investment decision-making to supervisors and clients
- Purchase investments for companies according to their needs and policies
- Network with industry contacts to gather information and seek out new clients for securities firms
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Frequent overtime work
Most financial analysts work full time, splitting time between the office and visiting clients or companies. Since the bulk of office hours consists of phone calls and client or staff meetings, analysts do a lot of their research after work or on weekends. Some devote as much as 50–70 hours total a week to their job.
Financial analysts work in a variety of financial institutions, including banks, pension funds, mutual funds, securities firms and insurance companies. Many jobs reside in New York City and other major financial cities. You will work in a fast-paced environment, frequently under stress from deadlines.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Bachelor’s degree in a finance-related subject
Most financial analyst jobs require a bachelor's degree in economics, finance, accounting or another related field. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification from the CFA Institute is recommended for advancement in the field. You’ll need four years of experience before you can qualify to take the three required certification exams.
Selling financial products requires a licence from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It typically requires sponsorship from the employer, so it won't be required until after you start your new job.
Financial analysts usually begin by specialising in a certain investment area. Once you've gained experience, you can advance to selecting a mix of investments as a company's portfolio manager. Earning a master's degree in finance increases your chances of attaining more challenging and lucrative positions, like fund manager.