The increase in personal investors will improve businesses for both analysts and advisors, particularly for advisors. 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 can be divided into two categories: buy side analysts and sell side analysts.
Financial analysts generally focus on trends impacting a specific industry, region, or type of product. They must understand how new regulations, policies, and political and economic trends may impact the investments they are watching. Risk analysts evaluate the risk in portfolio decisions, project potential losses, and determine how to limit potential losses and volatility using diversification, currency futures, derivatives, short selling, and other investment decisions. Other financial analysts perform budget, cost, and credit analysis as part of their responsibilities.
Analysts also use the data they find to measure the financial risks associated with making a particular investment decision. An understanding of statistics, economics, and business is essential, and knowledge of accounting policies and procedures, corporate budgeting, and financial analysis methods is recommended. You don’t need to be a financial analyst to see that the money is seriously good.
Depending on an individual’s work, different licenses may be required, although buy side analysts are less likely to need licenses. Experienced workers who change jobs will need to have their licenses renewed with the new company. Strong math, analytical, and problem-solving skills are essential qualifications for financial analysts. Good communication skills are necessary because these workers must present complex financial concepts and strategies. Financial analysts must be detail-oriented, motivated to seek out obscure information, and familiar with the workings of the economy, tax laws, and money markets.
Although much of the software they use is proprietary, financial analysts must be comfortable working with spreadsheets and statistical packages. With the increasing global diversification of investments, companies are assigning more financial analysts to cover foreign markets. These analysts normally specialize in one country, such as Brazil, or one region, such as Latin America. Companies prefer financial analysts to have the international experience necessary to understand the language, culture, business environment, and political conditions in the country or region that they cover. The BLS data from May 2009, indicates even higher potential salary levels for financial analysts.