Securities Analyst



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Securities Analyst


Description

Securities analysts research securities and make appropriate recommendations to a company about such investments. Securities analysts are among the most important players in the financial world. They are a important source of information for both institutional and individual investors. Investors closely watch and analyze their reports and recommendations. In fact, following the release of influential securities analysis reports, trading volumes surge and stock prices react almost immediately.

Securities analysts must seek out emerging trends in the marketplace with an open mind. Nowadays, they have to think beyond traditional investment specialties, such as stocks and bonds and actively investigate and come up with innovative ideas in the securities field. Originally, security analysis focused completely on equities. Then fixed income and bonds research emerged rapidly into the financial world creating other research sectors like commercial paper and certificates of deposit. Today, securing assets is a rapidly growing area of securities research and it also converges with trading.

Securities analysts often work in teams, analyzing the future prospects of companies that are thinking about selling shares to the public for the first time. They also must ensure that paperwork complying with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations is accurate, concise and complete.

In the last few decades, companies and individuals have become increasingly concerned with their financial planning and investing because they want to ensure they are producing and investing at their highest potential. The result is the trend in hiring securities analysts to do this work specifically. Securities analysts collect and analyze financial marketplace information such as economic forecasts, trading volumes, financial backgrounds of companies, historical performances and future trends of stocks, bonds and other investment instruments to provide investment and securities advice for their company or their company's clients. Securities analysts seek out possible risks and potential returns from investments, provide guidance and make recommendations on these findings.

In large institutions such as banks, pension funds and governments, securities analysts may monitor national and international stock and bond markets. They also follow major American and international industries such as oil and gas, forestry, mining, banking and telecommunications, conducting detailed studies of different securities and investment opportunities that a company may be interested in investing in. Securities analysts then prepare reports that recommend how the company should invest its money and whether they should buy or sell certain investments or securities. Another method of analysis is using statistical data to measure the different financial risks associated with a particular securities idea.
 
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
n/a
 
Median Salary:
$60,990
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
n/a

  Interests and Skills  
Securities analysts must possess the analytical skills required to conduct thorough, objective research and make recommendations for investment decisions. They have excellent communication skills because they write reports and publicly present their research and findings to management officials in companies. Analysts have high ethical standards and can keep information confidential because they are often dealing with millions of dollars in an organization.

Successful securities analysts enjoy taking a methodical approach to collecting information, working with numbers, analyzing problems and finding innovative solutions. There is some risk involved in the work therefore they must be confident in their decision making skills and securities knowledge.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Collect financial and investment information about companies, stocks, bonds and other investments using daily stock and bond reports, economic forecasts, trading volumes, financial periodicals, securities manuals, company financial statements and other financial reports and publications
  • Examine and analyze securities and investment information collected, including profiles of companies, stock and bond prices, yields and future trends and other investment information for use in making investment decisions
  • Provide investment advice and recommendations to senior company officials, pension fund managers, securities agents and associates
  • Prepare industry and economic outlooks, analytical reports, briefing notes and correspondence
  • Draw charts and graphs to illustrate reports, using the computer
  • Call brokers and purchase securities for a company, according to company policy
  • Securities analysts often work long and irregular office hours. Days are often filled with meetings and phone calls therefore in order to complete research, analysts may be required to stay late in order to finish their work. Further, some meetings may take place at night or on weekends. Securities analysts frequently travel to companies and conduct interviews with investors. They usually work on computers with specific company databases or financial software programs.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Securities analysts are generally employed in the head offices of securities firms, investment banking firms, governments, banks, trust companies, investment and underwriting firms, stock and mortgage brokerages, commodity exchanges and other companies and non-profit organizations.
  • Wealthy foundations, educational institutions and, sometimes corporations with substantial amounts of their own money to invest also employ securities analysts. Otherwise, they may be self-employed and either own their own analyst firm or work as a freelancer.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Securities analysts usually come equipped with years of experience, often in other sectors of business. They are generally not young and fresh out of university as companies tend to entrust their money with older, more experienced investors. Also, it takes years to make a name for yourself in the industry and get contracted by companies to conduct financial analysis. Experienced securities analysts may decide to specialize in a particular aspect of financial securities, for example mergers and acquisitions, or move into supervisory or senior management positions in larger companies or professional associations. More established securities analysts may write a financial column for a newspaper or journal, or appear on television or radio shows to offer their financial suggestions.
 

  Educational Paths  
Securities analysts require an undergraduate degree in commerce, finance or economics. Preference is certainly given to applicants who have a post-graduate degree such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a combination of degrees in related fields. For example, a degree in forestry is an asset for financial analysts working in the forestry and logging industry. These days, applicants may even require something extra to go along with their application, such as a writing sample or a mock report. Most companies require prospective financial analysts to have several years of relevant training and work experience.

The classic entry-level securities position is usually a research assistant. It is not always easy finding one's first job in the field, so perseverence is very important.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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