Financial Analysts are the professionals who provide advice and guidance to individuals and businesses looking to make sound investment decisions. They study and evaluate economic and business trends for bonds, stocks and other types of investments and assist in creating investment portfolios. Financial analysts have opportunities in different work settings, including hedge funds, mutual funds, nonprofit organizations, banks, insurance companies and securities firms. Due to the global landscape of investing today, many financial analysts specialize in a country or region, and these professionals can take on the role of a fund manager, portfolio manager, risk analyst or ratings analyst.
Becoming a Financial Analyst
Financial analysts are required to have a bachelor's degree in one of the following fields of study: finance, accounting, engineering, economics or statistics. Additionally, most employers will require a master's degree in business administration or finance for advanced positions. Certifications, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst certification from the CFA Institute, may also improve the chances of advancement in the field.
Financial Analyst Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for financial analyst jobs is projected to grow 16 percent through 2022. The need for in-depth knowledge of global regions, the increase of financial products available and the complexity of investment portfolios are several factors that lead to the strong employment growth in this area. In addition, the growth of emerging markets on a global basis is expanding, and financial expertise is needed in specific geographic regions.
Financial Analyst Salaries
The BLS reports that the average annual wage for financial analyst jobs in May 2012 was $76,950. The upper 10 percent earned more than $148,430, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $47,130. Top five fields employing financial analysts are financial investment, financial management, science and technology, insurance and credit intermediation.