Financial Analyst Job Description
A financial analyst is person whose job is to gather, analyze, and interpret financial information to provide guidance to clients making investment decisions. Their job involves evaluating the performance of bonds, stocks and commodities, and making recommendations to clients to help them make profitable investment decisions. Financial analysts are also known as equity analysts, research analysts, securities analysts, rating analysts or investment analysts.
Financial analysts can be classified into two main categories: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts. Buy-side analysts work for management firms such as mutual funds, pension funds, trusts, and hedge funds, while sell-side analysts work for brokerage firms.
A financial analyst should be curious, empathetic, confident, inquiring, practical and dependable, and have the ability to analyze, evaluate, make inferences and predict trends. They should be good at communicating and with computer, able to use spreadsheets and databases to analyze information.
Pursue a career as a financial analyst if you are analytical and enjoy doing research, especially on financial affairs. You should be someone who finds publications such as the Wall Street Journal interesting.
What does a Financial Analyst do?
Financial analysts may do some or all of the following:
- conduct research to gather financial data
- analyze a company’s financial statement to determine its value
- measure financial risks associated with investments and give advice to clients
- use spreadsheets and statistical software packages to study financial information
- keep up to date with economic and business trends and analyze their effects on investments
- write and present reports
- coach, supervise and mentor junior analysts
Where does a Financial Analyst work?
Places of work for financial analysts include:
- Investment banks
- Mutual and pension funds
- Hedge funds
- Insurance companies
- Securities firms
Financial analysts usually work long hours, as they have to stay updated on economic trends. They usually work in offices, but may travel to companies to get firsthand knowledge of companies operations.
What is Required to Become a Financial Analyst?
To become a financial analyst, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in finance or a finance-related discipline such accountancy, economics, or business management.
Secondary school students interested in becoming financial analysts should take preparatory subjects such as math, business, economics, statistics and computer science.
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Financial Analysts need to have:
- creativity and innovation
- persistence and diligence
- confidence and assertiveness
- integrity and dependability
- good attention to detail
- good interpersonal skills
- good listening and communication skills
- good business judgment and decision making skills
- good analytical and problem solving skills
- time management and organizational skills
- math and computer skills
- leadership skills
- the ability to work well under pressure
- the ability to keep information confidential
- the ability to identify problems, predict outcomes and evaluate policies
- knowledge of quantitative methods
- knowledge of economics
- knowledge of security analysis
- knowledge of portfolio management
- knowledge of financial reporting and analysis
Should I be a Financial Analyst?
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