Financial analysts typically do the following:
Financial analysts evaluate opportunities to commit money for the purpose of generating profit.
Financial analysts can be divided into two categories: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts.
Analysts may work for the business media or other research houses, which are independent from the buy and sell side.
Financial analysts generally focus on trends affecting a specific geographical region, industry, or type of product. For example, they may focus on a subject area or a foreign exchange market. They must understand how economic trends, new regulations, policies, and political situations may affect investments.
Investing has become more global, and some specialize in a particular country or world region. Companies want these specialists to understand the business environment, culture, language, and political conditions in the country or region that they cover.
The following are examples of types of financial analysts:
Financial risk specialists, also called financial risk analysts, evaluate threats to investment decisions and determine how to manage unpredictability and limit potential losses. They make investment decisions such as selecting dissimilar stocks or having a combination of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in a portfolio. They also make recommendations to limit risk.
Fund managers work exclusively with hedge funds or mutual funds. Both fund managers and portfolio managers frequently make buy or sell decisions in reaction to quickly changing market conditions.
Investment analysts assess information involving investment programs or financial data of institutions, such as business valuation. They also respond to queries from clients and client advisors regarding asset allocation and alternative investment topics including hedge funds, real property, and venture capital.
Portfolio managers select the mix of products, industries, and regions for their company’s investment portfolio. These managers are responsible for the overall performance of the portfolio. They are also expected to explain investment decisions and strategies in meetings with stakeholders.
Ratings analysts evaluate the ability of companies or governments to pay their debts, including bonds. Based on these evaluations, a management team rates the risk of a company or government not being able to repay its bonds.
Securities analysts evaluate securities markets and trends to identify high-yield assets for clients and companies. They may use resources such as bond performance reports, daily stock quotes, market and economic forecasts, and other financial statements and publications.
Most entry-level positions for financial analysts require a bachelor’s degree. Appropriate fields of study include accounting, business, economics, finance, mathematics, and statistics. Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have a master’s degree.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the main licensing organization for the securities industry. A license is generally required to sell financial products, which may apply to some positions. Because most of the licenses require sponsorship by an employer, companies do not expect individuals to have these licenses before starting a job.
Employers often recommend certification, which may improve the chances for advancement. An example is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification from the CFA Institute. Financial analysts can become CFA certified if they have a bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience and pass multiple exams. They also may choose to become certified in their field of specialty.