Investment analysts are skilled at examining and interpreting data from different sources and understanding the impact this will have for investment decision making. You'll need to research a set of companies in depth to make informed recommendations to fund managers. These are usually companies in a specific industrial sector, such as retail, pharmaceuticals, or utilities, or in a specific geographical area, such as Europe or East Asia.
Salaries vary significantly according to the nature and size of the company and the geographical location. Salaries and certainly bonuses are likely to be higher in investment banks, which are predominantly located in London. Starting packages with the bigger companies may include annual bonuses, gym membership, life assurance, a pension scheme and private health care.
Most organisations provide study support and many now offer flexible benefits packages. Working hours can be long, sometimes 10 or 11 hour days - typically with early starts, as analysts have to update other departments before the day begins. Some weekend working may be necessary from time to time. Although this area of work is open to all graduates, for some organisations a degree in one of the following subjects is preferable:.
Knowledge of other degree subjects may also be relevant, depending on your area of research. For example, life sciences will be relevant to work in pharmaceuticals. Most employers seek a or a first, as well as strong A-levels, but investment banks may actually be more flexible about degree discipline than some investment management companies.
Some employers are specifying that applicants should have a grade A or B in A-level mathematics. Postgraduate qualifications aren't essential, although a relevant Masters can help. Humanities students in particular may well find that a relevant Masters degree is helpful for some roles. Search postgraduate courses in finance and banking. At graduate level, employers often make their selection based on a candidate's competencies rather than their specific experience.
Computer literacy is essential although some IT skills can be acquired during training. Excel is particularly important as roles often involve financial modelling and projection work. Pre-entry experience, such as work experience or an internship in a financial institution or a finance-specific industry, is highly beneficial.
Most financial companies use summer internships to pre-select graduate recruits. Competition for these is often more intense than for graduate vacancies, as there are fewer placements. London-based companies recruit across Europe and competition is high. Any financial work experience will be extremely useful for the application process. Closing dates for entry to graduate schemes at investment banks, stockbrokers and investment management companies may be as early as the October of your final year and rarely later than the following January.
Applicants should check with each employer individually. Entry on to graduate schemes is highly competitive. Some companies, particularly the big investment banks, run structured graduate training programmes and recruit annually. Others may offer trainee positions as and when they're required. The nature of the employer will determine the range of activities you undertake.
In larger firms, investment analysts may work as part of a team producing a summary of research. In smaller firms, you may produce reports on your own. Investment roles may offer graduates the opportunity to spend some time abroad, whether through secondments, rotations or assignments.
These opportunities are more likely with larger, global firms, such as the big investment banks. Emerging markets are becoming of particular importance and smaller offices are opening in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Speculative applications may also be worth a try. A list of member companies can be found on the following websites:. Training varies according to the nature and the size of the company. Larger companies are likely to offer a structured-training programme for graduate trainees.
On-the-job training will be a significant feature. A trainee will usually be assigned to a specific team or to an individual within the team, e. Often larger investment organisations may commence a graduate programme with two to three weeks of induction training.
This often involves basic finance knowledge, along with softer skills such as presentation and conflict management techniques. Graduates joining investment management companies are, therefore, likely to take the certificate during their training. Completing the programme generally takes four years, and it's administered by the CFA Institute. Employers in investment management often assist employees with their studies, offering financial support and time off for study and examinations.
Within the investment banking sector new graduates tend to spend their first three years as analysts, after which the bank considers you for promotion to associate level. Progression within a company will depend upon its size. In small investment firms, sometimes known as boutiques, opportunities to develop may not always arise. An analyst may choose to apply to other firms to progress or develop new skills.
Relocation to another country, or to another major UK city, may be required to progress within a company or to secure a different role with a new employer. Within the investment banking sector, it's often not possible to transfer between departments, so graduates would be likely to progress within their current or similar roles rather than transfer. Often, if an individual has become an expert in their particular investment area or sector, they may be headhunted by competitor organisations and choose to continue their career elsewhere.
Jobs and work experience Search graduate jobs Job profiles Work experience and internships Employer profiles What job would suit me? Be prepared for interviews by anticipating questions and having answers ready. Potential interview questions might include:. These careers can be viable options for people who have skills similar to those needed for financial analysts:. They also have a deep and active understanding of current business trends, allowing them to better predict the future of the market.
Portfolio managers use this knowledge to guide businesses and individuals in their investment decisions. Fund managers work primarily with hedge funds or mutual funds. They stay informed on the overall goals of the fund as well as market trends to help make sound decisions.
Risk analysts use a combination of both business and financial knowledge to assist companies in determining the amount of risk in possible investment decisions. Risk analysts are often responsible for assessing and reporting asset losses, staying current on investment trends, and collecting and analyzing data. Finance managers are responsible for the financial health of a business. They develop plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.
Significant experience in finance and management is usually necessary for people to advance to executive-level positions like a director or chief financial officer. A finance director uses the experience they have gained in their financial analysis career to help oversee all financial activities of a company. Take the next step toward a career in finance with a course like Financial Accounting Fundamentals from the University of Virginia or the multi-course Fundamentals of Accounting Specialization from the University of Illinois.
Get unlimited access to these and more than 7, other courses, Guided Projects, and Professional Certificates with a subscription to Coursera Plus. What Does a Financial Advisor Do? What Is Bookkeeping? Getting Started in Accounting. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
What Does a Financial Analyst Do? What does a financial analyst do? Types of financial analysts Financial analysts are sometimes classified into two categories: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts. Financial analyst skills Financial analysts generally have the following skills to perform well in their tasks: Technical skills Accounting knowledge Analytical ability Financial literacy Data analysis Corporate finance knowledge Financial software knowledge Budget management training Financial reporting skills Research skills Workplace skills Communication Negotiation Influencing Critical thinking Flexibility Resilience Collaboration Problem-solving Dedication Relationship-management Tips for becoming a financial analyst Becoming a financial analyst starts with the right education, certification, and experience.
Consider these tips to start toward your first job as a financial analyst: 1. Look for the following titles in your job search that generally indicate an entry-level position: Junior financial analyst Associate financial analyst 4. Potential interview questions might include: What is your experience with data analysis?
What do you do to stay informed about this industry? How would you create a quarterly sales report? What would you do if you found an inconsistency in a financial report? Describe a time you accomplished something as a team. Executive-level positions Significant experience in finance and management is usually necessary for people to advance to executive-level positions like a director or chief financial officer.
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