Financial analysts, also known as securities analysts or investment analysts, analyze and provide guidance to businesses regarding investment opportunities. They help companies and non-profit institutions, including universities with large endowments, develop investment strategies that will yield a profitable return. Sell-side analysts provide broad or "blanket" investment recommendations to clients of a brokerage firm. Buy-side analysts work for pension funds or mutual fund companies and make their investment recommendations to the money managers employed by the fund. Other types of financial analysts include portfolio managers, fund managers, ratings analysts, and risk analysts. Some general job responsibilities of financial analysts include:
- Evaluating and recommending different types of investment opportunities
- Researching industry, market, and business trends
- Analyzing a company's financial statements and projecting its future earnings
- Meeting with investors to describe investment opportunities and provide recommendations
The BLS reports that employment of financial analysts is expected to increase by 23% from 2010 to 2020. The growing range and complexity of financial products and the emergence of a truly global marketplace is stimulating this faster than average job growth.Read More
Job Growth for
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Becoming a Financial Analyst
Financial analysts typically hold at least a bachelor's degree in math, accounting, business administration, economics, or another related field. Most advanced job positions as financial analysts will require a master's degree in finance or an MBA. Potential employers will favor candidates with a strong math, communication, and decision-making skills.
Several schools offer bachelor's degrees in finance, and many are available entirely online. Prior to entry into a bachelor's program, students are typically required to complete a core curriculum of classes covering financial accounting and reporting, strategic cost analysis, and investment principles. A sampling of classes you may take in a bachelor's of finance degree program, drawn from course listings for Northeastern University's online finance and accounting management program, include the following:
- Investment Management
- Financial Strategy
- International Finance
Financial analysts may be required to obtain a license once they are with an employer. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the main licensing organization for the securities industry. Certification in a field of specialty may provide financial analysts with career opportunities and advancement. The CFA Institute offers chartered financial analyst certification to financial analysts with a bachelor's degree and four years of experience.