Investment analysts provide vital market information for salespeople, traders and clients. They analyse financial statements and projections and provide a broad range of analytical and research support to all the professionals within their group.
Whilst fund managers are responsible for making decisions about investments, it is investment analysts who have the responsibility of providing information and recommendations that enable such decisions to be made. Investment banking analysts are expected to assume significant levels of responsibility requiring a high degree of maturity, self-confidence and technical aptitude.
The type of work that an investment analyst does will vary according to their employer. Duties could be to prepare clients’ proposals, supply advice on projects such as mergers and acquisitions, the process of selling of subsidiary business interests or investments, equity financing, analyse quantitative and qualitative data and do industry research.
To become an investment analyst, you must achieve either a BCom degree or a Diploma: BTech and NDip Banking. Most analysts are required to pass the Chartered Financial Analyst examination, a two- to three-year course administered by the CFA Institute. After you've completed your undergraduate degree, it will be important to network and do internships. Networking will get you noticed by prospective employers and it’s a great skill to have. Internships will give you real-life work experience in the investment analysis space and help you to acclimatise to the working world.
BCom (Mathematical Sciences): Financial Risk Management
University of Johannesburg
BSc Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics (with Financial Orientation)
University of the Free State
BCom (Investment Management and Banking)
Diploma in Financial Accounting
Why did you choose this profession?
I enjoyed maths and accounting during my high school years and had a natural affinity for the commerce subjects. This influenced my subject choices and also guided my thinking when I decided what to study at university. I was also fortunate to have a relative who worked in this industry and had numerous conversations with her about her career and the industry. She is still my mentor to this day.
What training did you have to do to get where you are today?
I completed my Bachelor of Business Science in Finance (Honours) at the University of Cape Town, and have also done various training courses throughout the years, while working. This included training on softer skills (e.g. presentation skills) as well as a regulatory exam covering legislation which we are expected to comply with at all times.
Would you say experience is as important as formal training?
Yes, experience is definitely as fundamental as training in this industry. While having formal training or education is hugely important, on-the-job experience is extremely beneficial and this is invaluable, especially when trying to come up with solutions to some of the complex problems that we’re often faced with.
Which aspects are you least enthusiastic about?
Due to the competing demands that I have to deal with, it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day, at times. Juggling multiple priorities at once is the norm, and this can mean working long hours, which can be quite taxing on a person if it goes on for sustained periods.
What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
My greatest highlight was being promoted to portfolio manager earlier this year, because this was recognition of the hard work that I have put in since I started my career. I’m extremely proud to be one of the black female portfolio managers in an industry that definitely needs to be more transformed.
What are your goals for the future?
In the short to medium term, I want to excel in my new role, and to ensure that I deliver on the promises that we’ve made to our clients, who have entrusted us with managing and growing their money. There’s always room for improvement, so staying on top of my game and continuously learning is of utmost importance to me.
What advice would you give to someone starting a career in the field of asset management?
I believe in the importance of hard work and the impact on one’s life that this can have when coupled with grabbing opportunities that come your way, no matter how far out of your comfort zone they may take you. As the popular saying goes, “Growth begins at the end of your comfort zone”.
Describe your job in three words
Challenging. Rewarding. Ethical
Interview date: May 2021