Financial Research Analyst: Employment Info & Requirements

Apr 11, 2019

Career Definition for Financial Research Analysts

Financial research analysts investigate company financial statements and other public documents in order to estimate companies' financial worth. They manage portfolios and funds and estimate risks of investment. Financial research analysts work for investment banks, mutual funds, security firms, and other businesses with money to invest or for brokerage firms who are offering financial products. Financial research analysts use software to track financial data and make forecasts about their industries of specialty.

Education Bachelor's or graduate degree in accounting or related field
Job Duties Investigate financial statements, estimate company worth, manage portfolios
Median Salary (2018)* $85,660 (for all financial analysts)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 11% (for all financial analysts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Financial research analysts must have at least bachelor's degrees with coursework in accounting, business administration, economics, finance or statistics, but many financial research analysts also have graduate degrees. For many types of work financial research analysis, a specific license is required by the U.S. Financial Industry Regulating Authority.

Skills Required

Because they interact with clients daily, financial research analysts must have strong interpersonal skills in addition to their quantitative and analytical skills. The field of finance carries a strong ethical responsibility and requires dedication to upholding professional standards of practice.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects that jobs for financial analysts will grow by 11% between 2016 and 2026. A greater volume of investment, at least partially driven by a large number of retirees, will increase demand for knowledgeable analysts. In 2018, the BLS reported that financial analysts earned a median yearly income of $85,660. Income may vary from year to year because financial research analysts receive bonus pay tied to the accuracy of their forecasts in addition to a base salary. Successful financial research analysts receive bonuses that are significant portions of their total income.

Alternative Careers

Similar career options in this field include:

Personal Financial Advisor

If a career assisting people with financial investment decisions sounds appealing, consider becoming a personal financial advisor. These advisors meet with clients and determine what their short and long term monetary goals are. They then design a plan, research economic conditions and investment products, recommend fund and stock options, answer client questions, and watch over account performance.

Many who work in this field have a bachelor's degree in an area of business, but master's degrees are often beneficial for career advancement and client acquisition. Depending on what financial products are sold, licenses may be required and this involves passing a series of exams. The BLS projected over 40,000 new positions will be created in this profession during the 2016-2026 decade, an employment growth rate of 15%. These advisors can expect to earn a median salary of $88,890, based on BLS estimates from May of 2018.

Financial Manager

For those with an interest in helping companies maintain a healthy financial structure, becoming a financial manager could be a good career fit. Financial managers examine company policies and activities in an effort to find ways to reduce costs and increase productivity. They also research economic patterns and trends, compile business reports and financial statements, advise executives in decision making, and make sure legal requirements are met.

To work in this occupation, a bachelor's degree in a business field such as economics, finance, or accounting is usually required, and most financial managers have five or more years of experience in other industry jobs. A master's degree may be necessary for many positions and professional certification could provide a competitive advantage. According to 2018 figures from the BLS, the median salary for financial managers was $127,990. This field is expected to increase by 19% between 2016 and 2026, as reported by the BLS.

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