What does an investment analyst do?

An investment analyst evaluates economic-, market- and asset-level information to provide high-level analysis and investment recommendations. Companies, fund managers and investors rely on this information to maximize their portfolios’ potential.

Understanding investment analysts

On a basic level, investment analysts (also called securities, equity or financial analysts) gather and analyze information to make buy, sell and hold recommendations.

Though fund managers usually make the final decisions, analysts’ research and recommendations are essential for:

  • Highlighting new opportunities
  • Supporting ongoing investment decisions
  • Or underscoring why a fund should exit an existing investment

The end goal is to maximize profitable opportunities and ensure their employers’ or clients’ portfolios are well-managed.

What does an investment analyst do?

Investment analysts perform several tasks in the pursuit of making well-informed recommendations on assets like stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities.

The process starts with researching the current economic and market environment, as well as the individual asset. Analysts may examine market trends, companies’ financial information, recent price developments and other analysts’ recommendations. Macro developments like political changes or natural disasters may also play a role.

Analysts may also meet with industry, company and/or asset experts (like fund managers) for an alternative view.

From there, analysts compile their findings in financial reports and provide investment advice and recommendations.

Required education

Before an investment analyst can dive into the job, they have to begin to build their own knowledge with a bachelor’s degree. Typically, their education focuses on finance-related degrees like math, business, economics or accounting. Some go even further with their MBA (masters’ in business administration).

From there, investment analysts often acquire their CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) certification. The process involves passing a series of difficult exams and proving they can practice their craft effectively.

Where do investment analysts work?

Most investment analysts work at larger firms like:

  • Investment banks
  • Institutional investors like hedge funds
  • Brokerages and investment management firms
  • Private equity firms
  • And even insurance companies

Exact duties often differ by employer. For instance, investment management firms rely on analysts to provide research and recommend or support internal investment decisions. Meanwhile, brokerages may hire analysts to advise portfolio managers and clients.

Buy-side analysts

Buy-side investment analysts typically work for companies with lots of capital to throw around. (Think mutual funds, hedge funds and financial advisory firms.) Here, they help identify, research and recommend new investment opportunities to buy.

Sell-side analysts

Sell-side investment analysts often work for larger investment banks. Their jobs entail spotting investment risks and reporting on specific companies or assets like bonds or commodities. They may also perform company-specific research to help investment banks identify potentially profitable firms to take public.

Go beyond analysts with Q.ai

If you’re invested in ETFs or mutual funds, or with many brokerages or investment firms, you may rely on an investment advisor and not even know it.

And at Q.ai, we augment the process with something more powerful than a human analyst: the power of artificial intelligence.

Our AI constantly analyzes market, economic and even Google search trends to select the best investments. Once you’re in, we keep up the hard work with regular rebalancing to keep you on track to achieve risk-adjusted returns.

The end result: an investment platform that puts the odds back in your favor – all without charging you a penny.

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