Occupational Outlook: Financial Analyst

What Do Financial Analysts Do?

Financial analysts help businesses (and individuals) to make sound investment decisions. In order to do so, they assess the performance of stocks, bonds and other investments. Typical day-to-day tasks including evaluating current and historical data, studying industry trends,  recommending a course of action for investment portfolios and studying financial statements to determine a company’s value.

Financial analysts often work in banks, pensions funds, securities firms, mutual funds and insurance companies. There are two categories for analysts – buy side and sell side. Buy side analysts often develop investment strategies for larger companies that have a lot of money to invest, while sell side analysts typically advise financial services sales agents.

Financial Analyst Career Information

What Are They Known For?

  • Excellent analytical and decision-making skills
  • Enjoys investigating data and trends
  • Good with numbers and financial reporting

What Is the Job Outlook for Financial Analysts?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of financial analysts is expected to grow by16% between 2012 and 2022 (which is faster than the average for all occupations). The annual median pay for financial analysts was $76,950 in 2012. Candidates for these positions should see another 39,300  jobs added to the U.S. economy during this time period.[i]

How Might I Prepare for this Career ?

According to O*Net’s 2011 survey, 84 percent of responding financial analysts hold a bachelor’s degree.[ii] Many positions require a bachelor’s in a related field such as business administration, accounting, economics, finance or statistics – and some employers require a master’s in business administration or finance.

The primary licensing organization for the securities industry is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which requires licenses for many financial positions. Certification is also available through organizations like the CFA Institute (and may improve your chances for career advancement).

Which Online Degrees Might Support this Career Goal?

<[i] bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm [ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/13-2051.00

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