Financial analysis is a broad field that covers a number of different specialities including risk, insurance, credit or investment.
If you are a financial analyst with a focus on credit, you will make assessments and decisions concerning customer credit applications using criteria such as purpose of application, credit viability and customer credit-worthiness.
Whereas if you take an investment analyst route you will supply financial data and advice to stock market traders, fund managers and stockbrokers.
Although different in its own way, every branch of finance requires you to have a forensic eye for detail, excellent communication skills and a broad interest in the financial world around us.
Here at City, University of London, much of that financial world is right on our doorstep. As well as a positive number of employment opportunities after graduating, you can capitalise on our strong connections with the finance industry throughout your study.
What can I expect as a financial analyst?
Financial analysis is a fast-moving and highly profitable field covering a wide spectrum of different specialisms and sub-specialisms, from credit and investment to data science and risk analysis.
Within risk analysis, you may work in private banking, origination, trading, marketing or financial services. Within these, you may specialise in regulatory, market, operational or credit functions. This is just one area.
In predicting changes and tracking wider financial trends you should expect high levels of responsibility and potentially long office hours working closely with data.
Emerging fields such as data science tend to be collaborative in nature, with many new methodologies and insights being shared internally. You should be prepared to be transparent and open in widely sharing your ways of working.
Depending on your specialism, you may need to:
- Monitor and forecast market trends
- Advise on controlling risk, considering insurance strategies
- Analyse market position through complex modelling techniques
- Effectively communicate with traders, underwriters and insurers
- Conduct extensive financial research and statistical analysis
- Make financial recommendations through reports and presentations
- Examine relevant government legislation to advise on compliance
- Devise strategies to protect assets and public image.
Related courses at City
Whatever your level of interest in becoming a financial analyst, City's courses can help you take one step closer to a career, develop specialisms that'll set you apart from the field or broaden your horizons with study in related subjects.
Who can I work for as a financial analyst?
An always changing economy means you will be in high demand as a financial analyst. Increasing regulation and a risk-conscious banking environment has made more organisations invest in financial analysis.
Your target employers will mostly be in the private sector and include:
- banks and other financial institutions
- investment companies
- insurance businesses
- medium to large commercial organisations.
What about financial analyst work experience?
Work experience as a financial analyst is a useful way of establishing connections and gaining an entry-level knowledge base of one specialism.
Getting work experience directly in financial analysis might be difficult. But insurance and banking can offer solid starting points before entering the workforce full time. Experience in business and commerce will also have value.
Your time studying at City will offer you industry connections and relevant experience.
What are my prospects as a financial analyst?
As a highly skilled financial analyst with a strong specialism, your prospects will be good. Exactly how your career progresses will depend on your employers and the specialisms you develop.
Your financial analyst career path at a major institution might see you progress from being a credit risk analyst, to a senior credit risk analyst, before achieving managerial responsibility and advancing to senior managerial roles.
Undertaking continuing professional development (CPD) is likely to be essential in any specialism. Employers will usually support you in taking relevant examinations leading to industry-recognised qualifications.
In time you may have the chance to move into different finance specialisms or exploit your own niche field independently. A specialist line in risk may present to chance to move into the lucrative consultancy field. Risk specialists are enjoying an increasingly higher profile, gaining places at senior management level and as board members.
Self-employment may become an option when you have gained substantial experience in the field. You may seek to build your own specialist financial consultancy or work in a freelance capacity as an independent contractor.