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Author Info

Linda Kay Thorne
Account Executive
Merrill Lynch
Pierce, Fenner & Smith
Albuquerque, NM

This is a money sign. What is an investment analyst?

You would find a job as an investment analyst, or stock broker, appealing if you like excitement and constant change. An investment analyst gathers pertinent facts on the past performance of management, markets, price/earnings ratios, etc., of companies, compares these facts to those of other companies in the same industry, and estimates a company’s future performance. She educates clients on the whole realm of investments; hence, she must be fully informed about world and local political affairs as they relate to the financial world, and she must be able to present facts on more than 40 investment vehicles. Tax investment planning, including real estate, oil and gas limited partnerships, and estate planning, can play an important role in her job. Basically, an analyst is an idea giver, fitting a client’s needs and goals to particular investment vehicles, whether the client is an individual investor or a bank, a labor union, a teachers’ pension fund, or a government agency.

What makes a good investment analyst?

An investment analyst must be able to read and digest a tremendous amount of information in order to determine whether a given product fits a customer’s needs. She must be very self-motivated, have a high tolerance for stress, be basically optimistic, enjoy interacting with and selling to the public, and be able to keep accurate records of discussions and transactions with a client. She must be able to make decisions quickly and accurately; a good basic understanding of economics, mathematics, banking, and money markets contributes to the ability to make decisions effectively.

What is life as an investment analyst like?

It is difficult to imagine a job that is more difficult, exciting, hectic, frustrating, and rewarding. For example, as a fledgling stock broker you can spend 60–70 hours per week building up a clientele. Your day begins early, with a reading of current financial news (in the Wall Street Journal) and research comments to prepare for questions clients might have concerning financial investments. Once the financial markets open, a seemingly endless string of phone calls commences: client and broker make decisions and orders are entered. Dealing with problems that have come up and handling paperwork make up most of the remainder of the day.

How do I become an investment analyst?

A college degree in business and/or economics is helpful but unnecessary to be an analyst; nevertheless, it is increasingly important in the larger securities firms. Course work in math, economics, banking, marketing, speech communications, psychology, and sales is beneficial. If you become a broker, an in-house training period usually prepares you for the uniform National Association of Securities Dealers/Securities Exchange Commission examination required by the federal government. In addition, most states require a state examination in order to be licensed.

What/where are the jobs?

Brokerage houses, trust departments at banks, investment divisions of insurance companies, and private investment advisor groups employ investment analysts. Analysts are also increasingly in demand in large corporations. Young women should seriously consider “Wall Street” as a career because firms are bending over backwards to comply with the regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.