How To Become an Investment Analyst: A Step-By-Step Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 23 November 2022

Published 2 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Individuals who are mathematically skilled and adept at critical thinking and research may be suited to becoming investment analysts. These professionals help identify and suggest investment strategies to support their clients' financial goals. Learning more about this career can help you assess whether it aligns with your professional goals and interests. In this article, we discuss how one can become an investment analyst, as well as what these professionals typically do.

What is an investment analyst?

An investment analyst is a finance professional who develops and recommends investment strategies to clients or employers. These professionals spend much of their time researching and analysing various types of funds and assets, such as stocks, bonds and commodities. They then create financial models and projections based on this data and develop reports and recommendations. Investment analysts work for various organisations within the finance and securities industries, such as banks, brokerage firms and private equity firms.

Related: 36 Equity Research Interview Questions With Sample Answers

How to become an investment analyst

You can use the following steps as guidance on how to become an investment analyst:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

A bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline is the minimum educational requirement for investment analyst jobs. A good programme would provide you with the necessary financial skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this career. Your coursework would involve a combination of economics, advanced mathematics, statistics, corporate finance and accounting principles. Some of the skills you will learn in these classes include using and creating financial models, reading and analysing reports, applying economic principles and conducting research.

Examples of relevant disciplines include:

  • Finance

  • Business

  • Accounting

  • Economics

  • Statistics

2. Gain relevant experience

While earning your degree, you can seek internships to gain experience in the financial industry. This will enable you to apply the skills you learned in school in real-world settings. As an intern, you may help experienced investment analysts with their duties or perform some of their tasks yourself. In some situations, organisations use internships to identify promising candidates, who will receive job offers after graduation.

Read more: How To Get an Internship in 15 Steps

3. Pursue industry certification

To be an investment analyst, one typically needs to be certified as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). This certification proves you have the skills needed to do the job, and also understand relevant financial regulations and practices. To enrol, you need to have a bachelor's degree in a relevant field or four years of professional experience (or a combination of both). As part of this certification programme, you must pass three exams:

  • Level I: This exam includes multiple-choice questions. It tests your knowledge and understanding of ethical and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics and financial reporting and analysis.

  • Level II: This exam provides hypothetical scenarios accompanied by multiple-choice questions. It tests your ability to apply your skills to various real-world situations you might encounter as an analyst.

  • Level III: This exam provides hypothetical scenarios accompanied by multiple-choice and essay questions. It tests your ability to apply your knowledge of portfolio management and compliance practices to real-world scenarios.

Preparing for these exams can require many hours of studying. You can use organisations such as the CFA Society Singapore or the CFA Institute to find helpful resources like study guides and practice exams.

Read more: A Guide on How To Become a Chartered Financial Analyst

4. Apply for investment analyst positions

Find job openings through websites like Indeed or members of your professional network. Recent graduates are often able to obtain junior-level analyst positions that require less professional experience.

Related: Your Online Career Coach: Advanced Job Search Tips to Get the Job

5. Continue developing your skills and experience

Starting in junior- or entry-level analyst roles can help you feel more comfortable in this industry while you refine your skills and knowledge. Your organisation may offer training programmes or courses for professional development purposes. You can also seek external training opportunities to gain different skills, such as using specific software to build models or assess data.

6. Consider a master's degree

Getting a post-graduate degree might help you boost your earning potential. While not required for entry-level roles, employers looking for senior analysts might prefer candidates with this qualification. Investing in a master's degree also enables you to meet like-minded professionals in your field and build your professional network. Some examples of post-graduate degrees you might consider include:

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)

  • Master of Science in Finance

  • Master of Science in Quantitative Finance

What does an investment analyst do?

An investment analyst's primary goal is to assess their stakeholders' needs, project the outcome of potential investments and find opportunities to help stakeholders meet their financial goals. Typical responsibilities include:

  • Researching and gathering financial data related to organisations and markets

  • Meeting with clients or bank representatives to understand their financial goals

  • Researching the performance of different stocks, bonds and markets

  • Assisting investment bank representatives with the development of new financial offerings

  • Creating presentations to pitch investment opportunities

What is the average salary for an investment analyst?

The average yearly salary for investment analysts in Singapore is $75,750. An investment analyst's salary can vary depending on several factors, such as their level of experience, education and geographic location.

Frequently asked questions

These answers can help you determine whether you want to be an investment analyst.

Is it hard to become an investment analyst?

Becoming an investment analyst isn't necessarily hard, though it's crucial to put time and effort into achieving this goal. Getting your bachelor's degree can take about three years, and if you want a master's degree you will have to invest at least two more years in school. To qualify as a senior analyst, you will typically need at least five years of work experience.

Related: Career Goals: How To Set, Examples and Tips for Achieving

What skills do investment analysts need?

Pursuing a career as an investment analyst requires deep industry knowledge and technical skills, which you will gain during your formal education and training. Hard skills aside, investment analysts also benefit from having several soft skills, including:

  • Research skills: Investment analysts are constantly doing research so they can create accurate investment reports, presentations and investment recommendations.

  • Analytical thinking: Investment analysts are responsible for identifying financial patterns and trends. Being able to analyse the past performance of a stock to project its future performance requires a lot of analysis and critical thinking skills.

Related: What Are Analytical Skills and Why Are They Important for Employment?

How many hours do investment analysts work?

Investment analysts typically work full-time, meaning at least 40 hours per week. However, some can work up to 80 hours per week (including evenings and weekends) to manage their clients' investments while staying on top of market trends. In some organisations, they may also be required to stay on-call even after official work hours to provide up-to-date projections on market shifts.

Related: What Does a Market Research Analyst Do? Plus Salary

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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