Approximately 329,500 financial analysts are employed in the United States; only a small number work for mutual fund companies or investment advisory firms. Job opportunities are available throughout the U.S., but are best in large cities. MutualFundDirectory.org reports that the mutual fund companies with the largest assets under management (as of January 2020) were:
In addition to working at mutual funds, analysts can find many opportunities with government agencies, at nonprofits, and at insurance firms, banks, and other large companies. Some financial analysts are self-employed.
Some analysts get their first jobs after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from a prestigious university or completing an MBA. Others first obtain experience in the banking or alternative investments industries. Another option is to start out as a research assistant in the mutual fund industry. These entry-level workers perform administrative functions and basic research to support the work of analysts and portfolio managers. Promising assistants may be promoted to research associate positions and then, eventually, to analyst positions.
Job-search strategies include applying for jobs at mutual fund company Web sites, networking at in-person events and on social media sites such as LinkedIn, working with recruiters, and using the services of one’s college career services office.
Junior analysts who provide investment advice that results in strong investment returns for their firm and its shareholders may be promoted to the position of senior analyst. After at least 10 years of investment experience and a proven performance record, senior analysts can be promoted to the position of portfolio manager, who oversees the investment strategy for a particular fund or group of funds. Some companies employ chief investment officers, who establish and manage the investment strategies for their entire company. An analyst might also pursue a related position with a venture capital firm, investment bank, hedge fund, or private equity fund. Others become financial consultants.
Attend the Investment Company Institute’s Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference (https://www.ici.org/events) to network and participate in continuing education opportunities.
Earn the chartered financial analyst credential from the CFA Institute and other certifications. It will give you an edge over other applicants.
Visit the following Web sites for advice on preparing for job interviews and for other useful resources:
Check out the following Web sites for job listings: