Investment Research Analysts – A Brief Job Description and Introduction

Even if you’ve never come across the subject before, a quick search online for equity analyst jobs will immediately illustrate how fiercely competitive this particular career sector is. Not that this is in any way surprising as for those on the market for a financial career that’s fast-paced, uniquely rewarding and has the potential to lead to bigger and better positions quite extraordinarily quickly, there are very few other career paths that offer quite the same as this.

In a nutshell, a research investment analyst plays a hugely important role in the financial success or otherwise of anything and everything from the largest banks to solo private investors and really everything else in-between. The research carried out and the advice offered moulds the decisions made by these clients or businesses – the consequences of which can be extreme in both directions. From making billions overnight to crippling a company in a heartbeat, it’s the classic case of big risks bringing big rewards…or the biggest disasters imaginable.

In terms of pressure therefore, it’s a career area like no other.

Of course, if you’re the kind of person that thrives on pressure and isn’t afraid to take big risks for the prospect of big rewards, this could indeed be the career area for you. That being said, getting a foot in the door in the first place tends to be the trickiest step of all – especially given how competition for these hugely rewarding posts is quite heated to say the very least.

Prerequisite Qualifications

In terms of specific qualifications, it’s generally said that unless you have an MBA or at least a high-quality advanced-level education in a relevant area, you need not apply. More often than not, these are the kinds of prerequisites that will determine whether an application is even given the time of day – those not measuring up to the mark generally finding their way into the bin pretty quickly. However, in terms of determining who will actually get the job, this is a perfect illustration of the kind of career path where qualifications will only ever get you so far. In addition to your studies, things like personality traits, experience, reputation, ambition and even the way you present yourself will count for a great deal.

Skills and Talents

There’s technically only one skill you need to be able to master to be hugely successful in this industry – being able to see into the future with flawless accuracy. Now, as of course this is 100% impossible for 100% of people and always will be, it’s instead a case of being something of a high-end number-cruncher and data-processor. The main duty of the job is to take all of the information available on any given subject from hundreds, maybe even thousands of sources from all over the world and assemble the pieces of a hugely complicated puzzle. Once complete, the puzzle will tell you the decision you need to make on behalf of the business or client you’re working for, which is why things like attention to detail and total courage in your convictions count more than most other skills and talents.

Elements of the Job

Going a little deeper into the day to day workings of the analyst, specific elements of the job centre mainly on the investigation and analysis of relevant investment prospects. Along with keeping your eye on all current investments in order to ascertain their health and decide what to do with them, you’ll also be casting your net far and wide for new opportunities as and when they emerge. This means keeping a close eye on the relevant markets, staying on top of all financial and business news, keeping detailed records of important movement, creating reports and presentations for clients, offering constant advice to investors, staying abreast of changes in tax law and generally making sure you’re at least two steps ahead of your rivals in all ways at all times.

Long-Term Prospects

In terms of long-term prospects, any financial analyst with a strong track record for success has the ability to pretty much write their own ticket with regard to advancement and financial gain. Needless to say however this is a pretty big ‘if’ to work out as it’s not to say that even the hardest work and dedication in the world will guarantee success. This is one of those career areas where you’re either cut out for its demands or you aren’t – the former group often ending up with the world in the palms of their hands while the latter rarely progress beyond square one.

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