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Astute with sound knowledge of analysis fundamentals, a research analyst should possess advanced research and financial modeling skills. In the fast changing markets, they must be able to prepare insightful reports and recommendations to in-house investment and sales teams, and clients in a timely manner.
Analysts should keep alert to all kinds of macroeconomic, market, industry and company news which are intertwined in the globalized sphere. Often they work for buy-side fund houses and banks, they keep a close eye on the stock or other asset prices in order to recommend the positions of their own portfolios, i.e. buy, sell or hold.
Besides daily commentary and research on sector and listed companies, analysts are responsible to investigate and prepare reports on the companies which filed for an IPO as well. In order to get the first hand financial information and a glimpse of business operation, they frequently meet the management by paying company visits and attending result announcement conferences. Theoretical knowledge, high standard of real world experiences and integrity are all essential to make an analyst stands out.
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
Earning a CFA certificate is not a ticket guaranteed to secure an investment analysis job in banks or in funds. But without it, the competitiveness undoubtedly drops in the hiring process. A CFA certificate is also highly recognized for job functions related to financial advisory and relationship management.
The CFA program is offered in a self-study format and is divided into 3 levels of exams. Level 1 exam consists of basic knowledge and questions focusing on investment tools. Level 2 exam emphasizes more complex analyses, along with a focus on valuing assets. The final Level 3 exam requires the amassing of concepts and analytical methods for effective portfolio management and wealth planning.
To become a CFA candidate, you must meet one of the following criteria:
After passing the Level 1 (June or December), Level 2 (June) and Level 3 (June) exams, plus 4 years of professional working experience in the investment decision-making process (accrued before, during, or after participation in the CFA program), you are qualified to apply for a membership at the CFA Institute.