Investment Analyst Jobs
Investment analysts typically work for investment firms and brokerages, but many large banks also offer this service to its customers. Investment analysts look at an investor’s portfolio of investments to determine whether they are receiving the return the investor desires. Analysts research the companies, bonds, or mutual funds the investor has invested in, along with their histories, and makes recommendations for changes. Analysts look at all company financial performance information and news releases as well as the executive team and their performance. This allows the analyst to decide whether the company is still a solid investment for the investor and will perform well in the future. For new investors, investment analysts will recommend investments that are appropriate for the investor’s short- and long-term goals and risk tolerance.
Investment analysts may also research the short- and long-term tax implications of an investor’s portfolio and make necessary recommendations to reduce negative tax consequences.
Investment analysts at banks are typically considered sell-side analysts. They are primarily concerned with selling investment products rather than buying them or reporting on them.
Analysts work normal business hours, although some may extend their hours in order to contact customers who are hard to reach during the day. Analysts work face to face and on the phone with clients. Analysts also prepare and send performance reports to all of their investors on a monthly or quarterly basis.
If you enjoy and understand the fluctuations in the stock market and working with clients to achieve growth in an investment portfolio, this may be the right career choice for you.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of investment analyst jobs at all institutions, not just banks, will grow at a much faster than average rate in the next several years, by 20 percent. However, the competition for these lucrative jobs is also expected to increase. Candidates should not apply for an investment analyst position unless he or she is well-qualified.
Most banks and financial institutions require investment analysts to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, economics, business, or a related field, as well as a master’s degree in business administration. Some banks will hire analysts that do not currently possess a master’s degree, but show evidence that the degree is in progress and will be obtained.
The US government, through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), may require investment analysts be licensed. Also, most banks and other financial institutions prefer analysts that have achieved their CFA designation. The CFA, or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, is sponsored by the CFA Institute. To qualify, the analyst must have a bachelor’s degree and four years of related work experience. Then he or she must pass three exams.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
Investment analysts must have extensive knowledge of basic business accounting, finance, and operating procedures. The analyst must be able to conduct appropriate research and analysis of all companies, funds, etc. in an investor’s portfolio, so he or she should possess excellent analytical and research skills. He or she also needs to have extensive knowledge of current financial markets, competitive products, and all bank and federal investment polices, procedures, and regulations. Investment analysts should also have good understanding of tax laws and policies as they relate to investments.
Additionally, analysts need to have excellent communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills. The analyst should have the ability to match and sell the right investment products to the right investors. Analysts need to be self-confident and work independently.
Banks also prefer investment analysts who are detail-oriented and able to produce timely, important investment information to investors.
Salaries can vary greatly from bank to bank and city to city. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, average annual salaries, excluding bonuses, of investment analysts were $73,150. This is more than double the national median wage. The middle 50 percent earned between $54,930 and $99,100. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,440, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $141,070. Annual performance bonuses are quite common and can be a significant part of investment analysts’ total earnings.
Potential Career Paths
Investment analysts can advance their careers by being promoted into positions where they are responsible for larger or more important investment products or customers. They may supervise teams of investment analysts. At large banks, successful investment analysts can become managers or eventually be promoted to executive positions. Investment analysts can also be promoted to investment product specialists, where they are responsible for developing sales strategies for the team of analysts.