There are a variety research careers available in the financial services industry. If you are just getting out of college and haven’t broken into the financial services industry yet, this blog post will help you navigate through some of the typical research careers available.
Financial Research Analyst
If you are numbers person, love math and get a kick out of playing with excel spreadsheets all day long, then financial research analyst might be one of the best research careers for you. You would enjoy diving deep into the financials of public companies to find out whether they will grow or detract in the next few years. The role of financial analyst is to research macroeconomic and micro-economic conditions along with company fundamentals to make business, sector and industry recommendations. They recommend a course of action, such as to buy or sell a company’s stock based upon its overall current and predicted strength.
Most research analysts have a business or finance degree, but if you are going to follow a particular industry like technology, pharmaceuticals or oil, then having a specialized degree in computer science, biology or engineering can be a huge plus. If you can’t get a job as a research analyst right off the bat, you may be able to get your foot in the door by applying for a research assistant role, or research analyst internship. Anything that gets you close to the excel sheets is a good start toward a career as a research analyst in the financial services sector.
Stock Broker / Registered Representative
If you are a persuasive and knowledgeable individual and don’t mind working long hours, a job as a stock broker might be one of the more interesting research careers for you to explore. In this role, you would offer investment advice to your clients based on your research. A financial advisor should have a degree in business, or better yet an MBA in finance or economics. Your class rank and grade point average will be more important in the job search process than the name of the school you attended. Before you can sell securities to your clients you must pass the Series 7 exam and the Series 63 exam. These exams are not easy, so you should plan to spend a great deal of time reading and memorizing the information. If you can’t get a job immediately as a stock broker, you can enter the door as a stock broker assistant. It is a great way to learn the trade and then apply for an open stock broker position once your reputation has been established.
The portfolio manager is a senior member of the company who may also conduct research in addition to overseeing the research being conducted by the members of his or her team. As far as research careers go, the portfolio manager has the most responsibility. The career path usually starts out as a junior analyst, who will typically be promoted to senior analyst within three to five years, before being promoted to portfolio manager after 7-10 years. If the senior analyst doesn’t become portfolio manager, he or she may become a partner in an investment bank or senior management in a retail bank or an insurance company.
These are just three research careers in the financial services industry conducting research. All of them require a college degree, great math skills and a level of curiosity about what makes successful companies tick. Once you enter the door to a research career in financial services, you have a lot of options to go from there that can move you further up in the organization.