The official definition of a financial analyst, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is someone who provides help with making investment decisions to businesses and individuals. It's a financial analyst's job to review and interpret the performance of securities and other investment assets. Specific job titles include insurance underwriters, financial advisers, budget analysts and financial managers.

Financial analysts are commonly separated into the buy side and the sell side. Buy-side analysts work for those with money to invest (institutional investors) and are busy managing very large portfolio returns. Analysts on the sell side are responsible for helping companies and issuers price their securities or other financial instruments.

Not all jobs fall into these neat categories, however. Financial analysts are often market-level thinking budget managers or production cost analysts. The key aspect is studying, interpreting and/or predicting financial performance.

Pursuing a Career in Financial Analysis

Financial analysis, as a service, can take place through portfolio management, market research, as a complimentary service to the selling of securitized investments or many other forms. Hedge funds and pension funds certainly need financial analysts, but so do any companies that purchase, sell or hold investments.

There are various careers in financial analysis. Many of them require a master's degree in a related field and/or professional licenses, and all of them require at least a bachelor's degree. Degrees in finance, business management, economics or statistics are the most common.

Most financial analysts begin as junior analysts or perform some other entry-level duties for a few years before accepting analyst roles. Working on the buy side of the market is more common for large financial institutions, although there are sell-side positions there as well. Sell-side analysts tend to work for clients or companies that are smaller.

  1. How do I get started with a career in asset management?

    Find out how to get started with a career in asset management whether you are still a student or wanting to making a career ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    Career advice: Financial analyst versus data analyst

    Learn the distinctions between financial analysts and data analysts, and determine which career is right for you based on your skill set and interests.
  2. Personal Finance

    Career advice: Financial analyst or financial adviser?

    Review the differences between a career as a financial adviser and a career as a financial analyst, including how to decide which is best for you.
  3. Personal Finance

    Portfolio Manager: Career Path and Qualifications

    Learn about the basic requirements for getting hired as a portfolio manager and discover how most professionals in the field rise into the position.
  4. Personal Finance

    Careers In Buy-Side And Sell-Side Research

    The primary professions on Wall Street are made up of sell side and buy side analysts. This article is an overview of the two primary avenues for individuals interested in both fields.
  5. Personal Finance

    Financial analyst versus financial consultant careers

    Compare the differences between working as a financial analyst and a financial consultant, and determine which career may be the best for you.
  6. Personal Finance

    Revenue Analyst: Career Path & Qualifications

    Learn more about the duties of a revenue analyst and the qualifications needed for the position, along with the career path for these professionals.
  7. Personal Finance

    What Is A Business Analyst And How Much Do They Make?

    Business Analysis has been a buzzword as a career option. Here is what business analysts do and how much they earn in salary and compensation.
  8. Investing

    Testing 3 Types of Analysts

    Which type of analyst fits your needs? Different clients require different research reports. Find out here which analyst best fits your needs.
  9. Financial Advisor

    Career advice: Financial analyst versus investment banker

    Discover an in-depth comparison between working as a financial analyst versus working as an investment banker. Find out what advice you can get from these two highly prestigious business careers. ...
  10. Investing

    A Day in the Life of an Equity Research Analyst

    What does an equity research analyst do on an everyday basis?
  1. Investment Analyst

    An investment analyst is a financial professional with expertise ...
  2. Research Report

    Research reports provide a detailed analysis of a security or ...
  3. Stock Analysis

    Stock analysis is the evaluation of a particular trading instrument, ...
  4. Financial Analysis

    Financial analysis is the process of assessing specific entities ...
  5. Corporate Reimbursement Coverage

    Corporate reimbursement coverage protects a company against losses ...
  6. Market Perform

    Market perform is an investment rating used by analysts when ...
Trading Center