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Financial Analyst vs. Investment Analyst: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A career in finance can be both exciting and rewarding. If you’re interested in working in this field, you may be wondering whether you should become a financial analyst or an investment analyst. Though both positions require similar skills, there are some key differences between the two.

In this article, we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between financial analysts and investment analysts. We’ll also provide some tips to help you decide which career is right for you.

What is a Financial Analyst?

Financial analysts are responsible for providing accurate and timely financial information to their clients. They may work in a variety of industries, such as banking, accounting, insurance, or investment. Financial analysts typically have a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business. They use their skills in financial analysis to make recommendations to their clients about how to invest their money. Financial analysts typically work in an office setting, but some may travel to meet with clients or attend conferences.

What is an Investment Analyst?

Investment Analysts conduct research and analysis on potential investments to help their firm or clients make informed decisions. They use their findings to create reports that outline the risks and potential rewards associated with an investment. Investment Analysts typically specialize in a particular asset class, such as stocks, bonds or real estate. They use their knowledge of financial markets and economic trends to make recommendations on which investments to buy, hold or sell. Investment Analysts typically work for banks, investment firms or insurance companies.

Financial Analyst vs. Investment Analyst

Here are the main differences between a financial analyst and an investment analyst.

Job Duties

Financial analysts perform a variety of tasks to help companies and individuals make financial decisions. They might research market conditions, study the financial history of particular industries or evaluate the financial health of specific companies. Investment analysts use this information to develop strategies for investors that they can use to purchase stocks, bonds or other securities. Their job duties may vary depending on the needs of their clients.

In addition to performing research, financial analysts also use the information they gather to create reports and presentations. These documents help decision makers within a company better understand the options available to them. Investment analysts rarely create internal documents because their work is typically only beneficial to external clients.

Job Requirements

Both financial analysts and investment analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the field. However, many employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in business administration, economics, finance or a related field. Financial analysts typically need to have experience working in the financial industry before they can become an investment analyst. Investment analysts also need to be licensed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). To obtain this license, they must pass two exams: the Series 7 General Securities Representative Exam and the Series 65 Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination.

Work Environment

Financial analysts typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to meet with clients and attend conferences. Investment analysts often work for investment firms or brokerage companies, so they spend most of their time working in an office environment. However, some investment analysts work as financial advisors for individuals or small businesses, which means they can work from a variety of locations, including the client’s home or business location.


Both financial analysts and investment analysts use skills like math, analysis and research to perform their jobs. They also both need to have an understanding of financial concepts and the ability to read financial reports. However, there are some key differences in the skills that these professionals use on a daily basis.

Financial analysts typically work with companies to help them make sound financial decisions. This can involve providing advice on topics like investments, budgets and expenses. Financial analysts need to be able to clearly communicate their findings and recommendations to company decision-makers. They also need to have strong negotiation skills to get the best possible terms for their clients.

Investment analysts usually work for banks, insurance companies or other financial institutions. Their job is to research potential investments and provide recommendations to their employer. Investment analysts need to have strong analytical skills to evaluate a wide range of factors when making their recommendations. They also need to be comfortable working with numbers and financial reports.


The average salary for a financial analyst is $71,352 per year, while the average salary for an investment analyst is $81,395 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the analyst has.


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