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A financial analyst typically works for an investment firm, insurance firm, bank or some type of organization or institution. The primary responsibility of a financial analyst is to evaluate stocks, bonds and investments to help clients determine which investment options best fit their financial needs and goals. Some financial analysts provide the financial advice to individual consumers, but some financial analysts help to provide the guidance to businesses as to how they should invest its money.
One of the first responsibilities of a financial analyst is to determine the financial goals of the individual consumer, company or business that they are working for, so that the analyst can research, evaluate and ultimately pick the investment options, or menu, that clients can choose from in order to reach their overall investment goal.
The two primary types of financial analysts that exist are sell side financial analysts and buy side financial analysts. The responsibilities of a financial analyst depend on which type of financial analyst they are. The responsibilities of financial analysts working on the sell side of the business typically include helping companies evaluate and determine which investments the business should sell from its portfolio.
On the flip side, the responsibilities of a financial analyst that is working on the buy side is evaluating and determining which investments either an individual consumer or a business should buy and add to their portfolio.
The responsibilities of a financial analyst can vary from company to company. Some companies separate the duties of a financial analyst who works behind the scenes conducting the research and gathering the data from the financial advisor that works directly with the client. Of course, the financial advisor uses the advice, research and information from the analyst to work with the client to put the investment portfolio together.
The financial analyst then goes on to monitor and continue to evaluate the performance of the investments that are in the portfolio. Based on the performance, further research and information that the financial analysts gathers, the professionals makes suggestions to its clients as to whether or not they should sell or buy specific investments.
A financial analyst is typically part of a team. The team consists of risk analysts, ratings analysts and portfolio managers, that all work together to create and manage investment portfolios for institutions or individuals. Financial analysts typically have a college degree in business, finance, accounting or a related field.