Typically, investment analysts produce strategic game plans by following the markets closely, analysing stocks and predicting trends. To that end, many find themselves conducting research on oil rig providers, trends in organic food prices and acquisitions by large IT companies – all within the same day.
These plans, advice, information and data are then passed on to stockbrokers and other investment professionals, such as investment managers, in order for them to make good investments.
In this respect, analysts regularly meet with various professionals in the investment sector to dispense advice and present findings.
Usually found in the finance, accounting, economics and business sectors, at their core, investment analysts conduct research into the general economy, financial markets and individual companies.
Their research into companies generally pertain to performance in relation to the market, and investment analysts typically examine company accounts to determine their profits, losses and cash flow. They also analyse financial statements and other information to thoroughly understand internal financial functions. However, some employers may require analysts to focus on only one particular sector, country, or product.
The growth of big data has enabled investment analysts to access a wide array of data. In turn, this has greatly expanded their scope of analysis, while advancements in computers and analytical software have allowed for more complex analysis to be done rapidly. All these factors have resulted in greater quality and depth, opening the possibility of offering new products to clients in the near future as well.
A strong interest in both the global market and financial markets will help interested candidates as they work to enter this field. As big data is now an integral part of the profession, IT skills are essential. Solid analytical and research skills are a must as well.
Moreover, as investment analysts present findings in research summary reports and make recommendations to stockbrokers, fund managers and traders, excellent collaborative, communication and interpersonal skills are needed.
Pros & cons
As with other jobs in the investment industry, investment analysts may find themselves working long hours in a high-pressure environment with little room for error.
However, the job also provides generous remuneration and other benefits. For instance, being a good investment analyst requires having a wealth of knowledge about a particular market, so skills can be applied to any new market or geographical region.