Successful analysts are excellent critical thinkers; they can logically determine the best course of action regarding any potential investment. They should be lifelong and active learners in order to remain current regarding market conditions and new technologies, and to be able to predict the long-term results of their investment decisions.
An analyst identifies potential problems within his or her investment options and either seeks a solution to the problem or opts out of the opportunity. Excellent communication skills, combined with the ability to distill large quantities of complex data into clear, concise presentations, allow an analyst to convey his or her investment opportunities in a manner that encourages clients to sign on.
An analyst is willing to take risks in order to generate profit, but he or she is also an expert in risk management and is sensitive to the acceptable risk level for his or her clients. Integrity, dependability, attention to detail, and initiative are hallmarks of a successful analyst.
Financial analysis is a fast-paced, cutting-edge, and highly competitive career choice. A thorough knowledge of ones chosen field on both the macroeconomic and microeconomic level enhances an analysts opportunities for advancement within his or her area of specialty. Virtually all analysts rely on publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, and The Economist as well as various electronic media in order to remain at the top of their field.
Individuals choosing a career in financial analysis will need to successfully complete a bachelor’s degree to qualify for an entry-level position. Students with a strong background in higher mathematics and business will excel in achieving a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Coursework will include statistics, managerial finance, business laws, investment analysis, ethics, accounting, international business, and marketing.
Many positions require a Masters Degree of Business Administration. At this level of education, students typically study advanced theories in business and management and concentrate on one specific financial area, such as international investment or project management.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, most individuals pursuing a career in financial analysis need to maintain appropriate industry certification. The CFA Institute offers certification to those analysts who have a bachelor’s degree and four years of field experience. The CFA certification involves two to five years of study and the successful completion of three examinations.
Professional licensure is a requirement for those analysts choosing a career in stocks, bonds, or other legal issues. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority offers securities licensure for current employees, should their company sponsor them.