As an Investment Analyst, you will study companies and industries to help others decide whether or not to buy shares in those companies. Shares in a company are bought and sold at varying prices, depending on the economic situation of the time and how well the company is performing.
Also known as
- Financial Analyst
- Market Analyst
- Alternative Investment Analyst
As an Investment Analyst, you will build up a profile of the performance of companies and industries so that you can make recommendations about where profitable investments can be made.
You'll also analyse economic regions and countries, as well as investment types (for example, credit, cash markets and property).
There are Analysts who work for Stockbrokers and investment banks, and Analysts employed by investment management firms. These two main types are often known as the 'Sell-side' and the 'Buy-side' respectively. There are also a growing number of independent research houses.
As a Sell-side Analyst, you will do your research so that you can give advice to your firm's clients and generate more business for your company. Institutional Analysts, working on the buy side, give advice to fund managers in their own organisation.
You will closely examine a company's annual reports and financial statements to find information on numbers of employees, output, size of profits and turnover. These figures are compared with other companies to assess the outlook for that company's business.
You might visit companies to help decide whether they are worth investing in. You'll talk to members of senior management to find out how efficient the organisation is, to verify the company's structure and to find out its record in terms of corporate social responsibility. An appreciation of a company's risk profile is an essential element in producing the investment forecast.
Companies also present information through shareholders' meetings, analyst meetings, webcasts, podcasts and conference calls.
Having gathered and assessed your financial information, you will now produce an evaluation of the company's share price and compares this with the value determined by the market. Usually you will use financial modelling programs in your analysis.
Analysts write reports giving details of their findings and recommendations. You'll also compile forecasts of the economy as a whole, and of specific industries, to give background detail for their work.
As a Sell-side Analyst, you will write notes and reports that are not aimed at any one individual client, but are general enough to be used with a range of clients. Buy-side Analysts might give a verbal presentation of their results to fund managers, explaining the reasons for their recommendations.
You might become an expert in your field, for example, analysing the creditworthiness of companies, or conducting research into complex and interrelated markets such as telecommunications and IT.
Investment Analysts' work can involve travel, depending on your area of responsibility.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As an Investment Analyst, you'll need:
- Good numeracy and IT skills, including spreadsheets.
- Verbal communication and presentation skills.
- Analytical ability to pick out the relevant information from a large amount of detail.
- Good written communication skills for producing clear, concise reports.
- An enquiring mind and research skills.
- An interest in, and understanding of, how businesses operate.
- Teamwork skills.
- To be able to work under pressure and to prioritise tasks.
- Time-management and organisational skills.
Foreign language skills might also be useful.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £26,500 - £29,000
- With experience: £31,500 - £38,500
- Senior Investment Analysts earn £44,500 - £50,000
Salaries are generally increased by performance-related pay and bonuses.
Other benefits could include private health care, gym membership, medical insurance, and life and pension cover.
Hours of work
Analysts often work long hours, which could include early mornings and late evenings.
Where could I work?
Employers include investment consultants and firms in stockbroking, pension fund management, life assurance, unit and investment trusts, and retail and investment banking. There are also openings with large companies that manage their own investment portfolios.
Opportunities for Investment Analysts occur in some larger towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in national newspapers, on financial job boards, such as BankingjobsUK, and on employers' websites.
Entry Routes and Training
Most entrants are graduates with at least a 2:1 honours degree. Graduates in any subject can apply, although an economics, accountancy, finance, mathematics or statistics degree might give you an advantage. Some degrees include investment and financial analysis. There are also postgraduate courses in investment and in investment analysis.
Completion of a summer internship or work placement will give you a strong advantage. Take a look at our information article '
A Degree Apprenticeship is also a great place to start.
Trainees must pass an exam that is recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority, such as:
- The Investment Management Certificate from the CFA Society of the UK.
- The Investment Advice Diploma (level 4) from the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI).
Further on-the-job training is complemented by study for a professional qualification such as the CISI MSc in Wealth Management, or the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), supported in the UK by the CFA Society of the UK.
Investment Analysts could progress to team leader or manager. After further training, they might move into fund management or stockbroking, for example.
Previous experience in accountancy, economics, banking, actuarial work or insurance would be really useful for this career. Experience or knowledge of particular industrial and business sectors is also an advantage.
For entry to a relevant degree course such as economics, statistics, finance, maths or accountancy, the usual minimum requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels.
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects.
- English at either level.
- Maths at A level for degrees in maths or statistics.
- Maths at GCSE grade B/6 or above if not taken at A level, for degrees in economics. Some universities require/prefer A level Maths.
Alternatives to A levels include:
- BTEC Level 3 qualifications
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma.
However, course requirements vary, so please check college/university websites very carefully.
To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.
UCAS tariff points from the following qualifications might be accepted by some institutions for some courses, in combination with other qualifications:
- The ifs Certificate or Diploma in Financial Studies.
- The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) Certificate for Introduction to Securities and Investment.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A-level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Adult applicants usually need a relevant degree and professional experience in accountancy, economics, banking, actuarial work or insurance. Experience or knowledge of particular industrial and business sectors is an advantage.
Familiarity with the workings of City financial institutions is important.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree course, a college or university Access course (for example, Access to economics, statistics or accounting) could be the way in. No qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.
Postgraduate courses in investment can be taken, usually following a business-related or other numerate degree.
The University of Reading offers an MSc in International Securities, Investment and Banking and an MSc in Investment Management, both by distance learning.
Relevant professional qualifications are available by distance learning from the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) and the CFA Society of the UK.
Publisher: Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)
Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ
Tel: 0845 2573772
Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)
Skills for the financial, finance and accountancy sectors
Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ
Tel: 0845 2573772
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Getting into Business & Economics Courses
Author: Carly Roberts Publisher: Trotman
London Institute of Banking and Finance
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Jobs in Risk
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CFA Society of the UK
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Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI)
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