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Financial Analyst


How to Become a Financial Analyst
Job Duties of a Financial Analyst
Skills and Qualities Needed to Become a Financial Analyst
Financial Analyst Salaries
Influential Professional Financial Analysts
Leading Financial Analyst Organizations
Top Cities for Financial Analyst Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Financial Analyst

At minimum, a bachelor's degree in some kind of business area is usually required. Many financial analysts also have advanced degrees in business or finance. Beyond university education, there are a variety of professional designations and licenses that various types of analysts can obtain, depending on how the analysts intend to apply their trade. For example, there are very detailed requirements to become an investment consultant, which is an area where financial analysis becomes important. Continuing education is required to maintain these licenses and designations, and due the market always changing and being a dynamic, large place, financial analysts are known to frequently attend seminars and trainings in their field.

What does a Financial Analyst do?

Financial analysts measure the performance and health of companies, which is research often used in the investment industry. In fact, they often work for investment houses and other companies that keep track of companies, risk, and success, like insurance companies, media companies, financial services companies and professional services firms. This data goes into helping investors make sound decisions. The data the analysts study are a number of significant financial numbers and figures, like company revenues, growth/shrink rates, expenses and costs, tax rates, future prospects, merger and acquisition activity, etc. All these in turn feed into an assessment of the company's overall value and the value of an investment in that company.

This information on the value of a company can be utilized in various ways. For example, financial analysis features heavily in the decisions of whether or not to acquire or liquidate companies themselves, if they are owned by another company or firm, which is another environment where financial analysis is important. It is also used by consultants who counsel people and companies on their investments.

Financial analysts tend to focus on a particular segment of the marketplace, not the whole marketplace. This can be done by focusing o a particular industry or geographic region.

The tools financial analysts use today are all software and internet based.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Financial Analyst?

An investigative curiosity is a good trait to have, as well as skill with math and quantitative analysis. A thorough knowledge and feel for business is also important, as are communication skills, as much of the day to day activity of analysis has to do with report and summary writing. People skills are important if the analyst intends to go into a consultative kind of role. Finally, comfort and skill with technology in general and new technology that is constantly developing is important.

How much do Financial Analysts make?

In 2007, the wage range for financial analysts was from $42,000 - $137,000+. The salary varies depending upon location, experience, and many other factors.


Who are some influential professionals in this field?

A good idea to track the leadership in this area is to look at who is leading the key professional organizations. For example, Mary Schapiro is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's Chief Executive Officer. The Authority is the largest non-government regulator of securities firms operating in the US.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is a non-governmental regulating agency for securities firms in the United States. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) works to benefit issuers and investors The American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM) offers voluntary credentialing for financial analysts. The CFA Institute also offers certifications; both the Chartered Financial Analyst certification and the Certificate in Investment Performance Managing.

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP) gives its own certification. Financial Planning Association (FPA) holds an annual conference and provides educational services for financial planners. The Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA) provides information for financial analysts on investment trends, wealth management, best practices, and institutional counseling.

What are the top cities for Financial Analyst jobs?

New York is, of course, the core investment services hub of the US and the top city for financial analyst jobs. There are other areas where financial services thrive. Boston is the second city for financial analyst jobs, and San Francisco comes in at third place in the United States.

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