If you’re interested in a career in finance, an investment analyst may be the perfect role for you. Investment analysts are responsible for researching and analyzing potential investments to provide advice to clients on where to put their money. This is a highly specialized field, and there are several steps you’ll need to take to become an investment analyst. Here’s what you need to know about the career path of an investment analyst.
1. What Is an Investment Analyst?
Investment analysts research and analyze investments for institutional investors like pension funds, mutual funds, and endowments. They look at companies’ financial performance to see if they’re growing and sustainable; one of the critical tools they use is the discounted cash flow (DCF) model, which helps them understand how a company will perform in future years. Investment analysts need to be up-to-date with current events and economic indicators and how those factors might influence a company’s performance.
Investment analysts work closely with the company’s management teams, industry experts, and broker/dealers. Once they’ve finished their research, they recommend clients on where to invest their money. They also keep track of their clients’ portfolios, measuring each investment against others in the client’s portfolio. Investment analysts can expect to work hard, but they also have the opportunity to earn six-figure salaries.
2. What Does an Investment Analyst Do?
An investment analyst typically answers to a senior officer and spends much of their time researching and analyzing investments. Once the investment analyst has completed this research, they will recommend certain investments to clients. They may also communicate recommendations to clients with phone calls, emails, or in-person meetings.
Most hours are spent in front of a computer working in an office environment. Investment analysts need to be proficient with spreadsheet and financial modeling software, and they should know how to conduct in-depth financial analysis.
3. What Educational Qualifications Do I Need to Become an Investment Analyst?
In addition to a bachelor’s degree, many employers look for candidates with a master’s or Ph.D. in finance or economics. Some companies require a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation. However, this isn’t as common as it used to be – if you’re interested in pursuing this designation, you will want to start by completing a bachelor’s degree and taking some basic accounting and finance courses. You’ll need to pass three exams before you can become a CFA charter holder.
Although many investment analysts have a degree in finance, other degrees can prepare you for this type of work. Bachelor’s degrees in mathematics, statistics, and accounting are helpful. Some investment firms hire junior investment analysts with just an undergraduate degree, but they typically need experience in the field before advancing to more senior positions.
4. What Experience Do I Need to Become an Investment Analyst?
Investment analysts typically have at least one year of industry experience before they begin their career as investment analysts. Internships are an excellent way to get started, and you can also gain relevant work experience through part-time jobs or volunteer positions. Many investment analysts were either maths or economics majors in college – having a degree is a plus, but it isn’t always necessary.
5. What Skills and Qualities Do I Need to Become an Investment Analyst?
Some of the skills and qualities needed to become an investment analyst include:
you must understand how businesses operate and be able to think critically about where the market is heading
Good Presentation Skills
if you are recommending certain investments, you will need to make a compelling argument for why they should purchase those investments
An Understanding of Financial Statements
many investment firms expect their analysts to have some training in accounting, so you should have an understanding of the three primary financial statements
investment analysts need to be able to work with numbers and conduct in-depth research
Strong Communication Skills
it is essential that your recommendations are well thought out, unambiguous and concise. You will be communicating with clients regularly, so you should be able to explain complex ideas in an easy-to-understand way
if you are recommending investments, the market is either increasing or decreasing. You may spend extended periods researching and tracking individual companies. It can be draining work
Detail-oriented – you should be able to focus on individual tasks and not get too distracted by the day-to-day office politics
client service is a big part of this job, so you need to have a positive attitude when communicating with clients
6. How Much Does an Investment Analyst Make?
Investment analysts can expect to earn a wide range of salaries depending on their specific industry and how much experience they have. Entry-level investment analysts can expect a salary in the mid-to-low 20,000s, and a more experienced analyst will typically take between 35,000 and 45,000 per year. Some companies also pay for analysts to attend conferences and seminars, which is an excellent way to earn extra money.
Investment Analysts can expect their salary to increase with time. An entry-level analyst may start at $62,000/year, while the Director of Investments could make as much as $272,500. The median pay for an investment advisor was $90,590 as of May 2011.
7. What Is the Job Outlook for an Investment Analyst?
Investment analysts should expect a strong job market. In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 1,936 jobs would be created in this field by 2020. This rate represents a 26% increase between 2010 and 2020, about average compared to other jobs.
8. What Are Some Daily Tasks I Could Expect as an Investment Analyst?
Daily tasks for investment analysts vary depending on the level of an analyst. Entry-level work may consist of a spread of different responsibilities, such as
Reviewing Financial Statements
You will have to review all of the financial statements for a company and provide your analysis
you will need to conduct in-depth analysis regarding each investment
this may include buying or selling certain investments, depending on the direction that you believe the market is heading
An experienced investment analyst will likely be expected to fulfill the same responsibilities as an entry-level analyst, who will also have more responsibility. This may include tasks such as:
Obtaining Financial Forecasts
you may be responsible for creating these forecasts yourself
you may be expected to present your ideas and recommendations in front of the management team
Creating complex models
you may use these to predict what direction an investment will move in, based on certain factors
9. Where Does an Investment Analyst Work?
Most investment analysts work in an office environment. However, many companies also employ analysts who work in the field, monitoring the stock market and making recommendations to clients or managers when necessary.
As an entry-level analyst, you could expect to be in charge of research in your company’s library or one of their cubicles. As your career progresses, you will likely have your own office.
Finally, you could also expect to work at an institutional research firm. This typically consists of working in a cubicle and using the library for reference purposes.
10. What Companies Should I Consider Looking into If I Want to Be an Investment Analyst?
Some companies that are known for hiring entry-level investment analysts include:
Bank of America (BoA)
You will need at least a bachelor’s degree in finance or economics.
You must be enrolled in an accredited college program majoring in business or finance.
This company prefers two years of experience; however, you can get your foot in the door with a bachelor’s degree.
This company prefers analysts to have two years of experience and an MBA; however, you can get your foot in the door with a bachelor’s degree.
11. Best Colleges to Study Investment Analysis
Some of the best colleges for studying business or finance are:
- Harvard University – This Ivy League college consistently ranks as one of the best schools in the country.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology Better known as MIT, this school has a prestigious business program ranked among the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report.
- Stanford University is known for its excellence in business programs, specifically entrepreneurship.
- Columbia University – Students at this Ivy League college can expect to learn how to be effective managers and will graduate with the knowledge needed to become good leaders within their chosen field.
- University of Pennsylvania – You can expect outstanding faculty and expert instruction at this Ivy League college.
- University of California – Berkeley – Ranked as the number one public university in the U.S., students studying business will learn to create relationships with faculty who are specialists in their fields.
- New York University – This school offers many concentrations in business and finance for undergraduate students.
- University of Chicago – Again, this school ranks among the top 10 U.S. News & World Report.
12. Online Courses to Study Investment Analysis
If you are not near one of the schools on this list or cannot attend college, you can still obtain an education. Many websites offer courses completed online, allowing students to study from home.
Investment Analysis & Portfolio Management – Core Finance by Udemy- This course will teach you the basics of financial analysis and portfolio management. You will learn how to create a solid foundation to use these skills in your future career. You will also have the opportunity to complete projects throughout each chapter, which will help you master the skills being taught.
Investment and Portfolio Management Specialization by Coursera- This specialization is designed to prepare you for a career in investment management. You will learn the essentials of financial markets, portfolio theory, and asset allocation, as well as how to manage investments.
Investment Management Specialization by Coursera- This specialization is also designed to prepare you for a career in investment management. You will learn how capital markets work, and various derivative securities and techniques used when managing investments.
The investment analyst career path is an interesting and lucrative one. With the proper education and experience, you can work your way up to become a top executive in this field. We hope this article has given you a good overview of what it takes to pursue a career as an investment analyst, and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!