Career as an equity analyst

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Andrew Black is an equity analyst in the global markets team at a bank, helping to sell investment ideas to clients. He specialises in researching UK utility companies, such as those who trade in gas and electricity.

What does your career as an equity analyst involve?

My task is to know as much as possible about electricity, gas and water companies so we can value how much they are worth. Our clients can't be familiar with every stock in the market, so they look to us for detailed insight. By taking into account various factors, including our expectations for future profitability, we try and predict the price of stock. This information is used to advise clients whether they should buy, sell, or hold onto their stocks and shares.

How do you research a company?

We take information from company reports and announcements, talk to management, and consider the company's strategy.We analyse how wider factors will affect the company and this allows us to build up a detailed picture of what to expect from the company in the future. There's a lot of research involved, as well as the questioning of decisions and how these may affect a company. You need to really understand the industry and how it operates. In my field of utilities, the retail price of coal, gas and electricity will influence share prices.

Who are your clients?

Essentially, the bank trades in bonds, equities and derivatives (all are types of investment) on a global basis. Our clients tend to include pension funds, insurance and life assurance companies.

Do you talk to clients directly?

No, not at the moment, as I am not approved by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). For now, my advice is restricted to internal sales people who cover a wide range of stocks. Once I have gained further qualifications, which will enable me to achieve approved status with the FSA, I will be able to talk directly to clients.

Does your career as an equity analyst involve much travelling?

When I'm more experienced, I'll probably spend a couple of days every few weeks visiting overseas clients. Currently, I focus on UK utilities, so I rarely leave the City.

What is an average day like?

I generally work 12-hour days, starting at 7am, which is when new company information is released. The first 20 minutes are spent catching up on overnight and morning news, preparing for a 7.20am meeting with the utility team. There is also a general research meeting and a broadcast to the sales force. The day is then spent calling clients and writing up my research. Information is continuous, so I juggle writing, research and attending meetings with keeping a watch out for company announcements.

What skills are important for your career as an equity analyst?

You need to be financially literate and have a definite interest in the business world. Confidence, good communication skills and creativity are also important. You'll be expected to come up with original ideas. It's also important to enjoy research and analysis.

Why did you choose this career as an equity analyst?

The job of an analyst matched my interest in business and skills in working with numbers. You have the opportunity to be creative, accept challenges early on and interact with customers. I like the fact that you're not desk-bound and talk to a wide variety of people.

Andrew's route to his career as an equity analyst

  • A levels.
  • Degree in Economics.
  • Equity analyst.

Andrew's equity analyst tips

  • Work hard at school and try to select business studies, economics or finance-related subjects.
  • Read the Financial Times and track imaginary portfolios. It teaches you how the investment system works.
  • Be prepared for aptitude tests at interview stage. You'll be competing against European counterparts, not just UK graduates.

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Salary of an equity analyst

  • Salaries for new investment analysts start from £30,000 to £35,000, with potential bonuses worth up to 20 per cent.
  • Salaries increase with experience.
  • For top investment analysts, the salary package could be worth £300,000 or more.

Career as an equity analyst

  • Many analysts are recruited straight from university. Generally, employers will accept any degree subject, but maths, politics or economics are advantageous.
  • Previous business experience is attractive to employers. A professional qualification, such as in accountancy, may also be useful. Many analysts do a summer internship in their second and final years at university, which is an excellent route into the industry.
  • Most jobs are based in London, although analysts work in all major investment centres, including Europe, Asia and America.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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