Financial analysts essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $75,650
- 2011, number of jobs: 226,340
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 23 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
Financial analysts; what they do:
When you’re young, you ask your parents important financial questions; when you grow up, you ask a financial analyst. Financial analysts know the ins and outs of the stock market. A financial analyst career often includes assessing stocks, bonds, and other investment performances in order to provide sound advice and individual or portfolio recommendations to businesses, investors, and individuals.
A financial analyst career often includes studying and evaluating economic and business trends, as well as current and historical data. Financial analysts determine a company’s value through studying the company’s financial statements, analyzing commodity prices, sales, costs, expenses, and tax rates, and projecting the company’s future earnings.
Two primary types of financial analysts exist: buy side analysts, who create investment plans for organizations with large sums of money for investment, and sell side analysts, who advise financial services sales agents. Financial analysts working for the business media do not qualify as either type of financial analyst; they are considered impartial.
Some specific types of financial analysts include: portfolio managers, fund managers, ratings analysts, and risk analysts.
Financial analysts job titles:
- Securities Analyst
- Equity Research Analyst
- Investment Analyst
- Credit Products Officer
- Operational Risk Analyst
- Research Analyst
- Planning Analyst
- Real Estate Analyst
Financial Analysts Education, Certification and License Requirements
Some financial analyst jobs may require a bachelor’s degree, such as a Bachelor of Accounting degree, Bachelor of Business Administrations degree, or a Bachelor of Finance degree. Related fields of study, such as economics and statistics, are also applicable to financial analysts. Some employers also require a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) or a Master in Finance degree.
Financial analysts need to have a solid grasp on options pricing, bond evaluation, and risk management.
Financial analysts programs cover subjects such as:
- Managerial finance
- Investment analysis
- International business
- Financial markets
- Business law and ethics
Financial analysts typically obtain their licenses after obtaining a financial analyst job, as many licenses require an employer sponsorship. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) acts as the main licensing organization for the securities industry.
Employers often recommend certification for financial analysts, which may also aid in advancement. Financial analysts can become certified in their specific field of study.
Career Advancement Opportunities
After selecting a specific investment field to specialize in, financial analysts must gain experience. A financial analyst may advance in their career to a portfolio manager position or supervise a team of analysts and select the various investments for a company’s portfolio. A financial analyst may also advance in their career to a fund manager job, managing large investment portfolios for individuals. In addition to experience, a Master’s degree substantially helps financial analysts advance in their career.
Financial Analysts Job Outlook
Forecast: 23 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for financial analyst jobs, faster than the average for all occupations.
Employment growth for financial analysts is expected primarily due to the growing variety of financial products, as well as the demand for individuals with in-depth knowledge of specific geographic regions and how that region’s economy affects investments.
Although demand for financial analysts is certainly expected to grow, hearty competition is expected, thus advanced degrees and certifications are recommended.
Financial Analysts Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $75,650
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $101,120
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $57,900
Financial Analysts Major Employers
- Pension funds
- Mutual funds
- Securities firms
- Insurance companies