Financial Analyst Job Description
Financial analysts help individuals and businesses make sound decisions on the investments they buy and sell. They are often employed by banks, insurance companies, securities firms, and other organizations who rely on the buying or selling of investments as a major part of their business.
Many financial analysts are specialized, focusing entirely on one industry, product type, or geographic region. This type of specialization is often desirable, because some regulations, products, and industries can be extremely complex and require someone who has dedicated a lot of time to learn about the intricacies of the market.
There are two general types of financial analysts: buyers and sellers. Buyers help companies decide what to buy and when to buy it. Sellers help businesses decide when or how to sell their investments.
Responsibilities for financial analysts include:
- Using historical data to identify trends and forecast future market behavior.
- Projecting a company’s future value by analyzing their business in great detail.
- Recommending investments to their employers or clients based on past behavior and future potential.
Work Environment and Schedule
Most financial analysts work in an office environment, and the majority are employed by businesses in the finance and insurance industries.
Frequent travel is often required for people in this occupation, as analysts need to meet in person with clients and potential investors.
Since financial markets and investment opportunities change so quickly, the window of opportunity can be very small. Thus, financial analysts often operate under very tight deadlines that can require working early in the morning and late at night to meet.
It is not uncommon for financial analysts to work between fifty and seventy hours a week.
How to Become a Financial Analyst
For entry level financial analyst positions, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, statistics, math, or other related major is required. For more advanced positions, a master’s in businesses is often needed.
Licenses are required for some financial analyst positions, but they are not required for entry-level positions. Many licenses require your employer to sponsor you, so they’re not available until you have some work experience.
To learn about the available licenses, visit the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s website.
There are currently 250,630 financial analysts in the United States, with 9,520 new financial analyst job openings created each year.
Financial Analyst jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Financial Analyst Salaries
Financial Analyst salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most financial analysts make between $56,300 – $99,200 per year, or $27.07 – $47.71 per hour.