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An investment associate applies financial acumen and securities market knowledge to evaluate asset selection strategies and recommends options to a firm's leadership. She uses financial and statistical tools, such as trend analysis and financial statement evaluation methods, to gauge investment opportunities based on a firm's short-term or long-term risk profile.
Nature of the Work
An investment associate evaluates a company's operating data or economic information about a country or region, and he proposes adequate asset selection alternatives to management. He also performs financial modeling analysis to detect various investment outcomes, such as positive or negative returns, and he establishes adequate risk-management techniques for transactions in which corporate portfolio managers and proprietary traders engage. (A proprietary trader uses a company's funds to buy, hold or sell securities on financial markets.)
Education and Training
Financial institutions, such as banks, private equity firms and insurance companies, prefer investment associates who hold master's or higher degrees in finance, accounting, investment analysis and financial management. A master of business administration (MBA) in investment management is popular in the field. A junior investment associate typically has a 4-year college degree in a business-related field. Investment associates who engage in proprietary trading activities may hold chartered financial analyst (CFA) designations.
An investment associate's pay depends on his seniority, length of service, academic training and professional certifications. Economic trends and investment returns on securities exchanges also affect compensation levels in the field. According to U.S. Labor Department data, investment associates earned median wages of $68,680 in 2008, excluding annual stock and cash bonuses, with the middle half of the profession earning from $40,480 to $122,270. The same research indicates that investment analysts earned average salaries of $73,150 in 2008, excluding annual stock and cash bonuses, with the lowest 10 percent of the occupation earning less than $43,440 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $141,070.
An investment associate who holds a professional certification, such as CFA, certified financial manager (CFM) or financial risk manager (FRM), has more career growth opportunities. An investment associate also can improve chances of promotion by performing adequately and attending regular training sessions or professional conferences. A skillful and competent investment associate advances to a senior function, such as investment manager, senior investment associate or investment trading specialist, in a few years.
An investment associate has a typical 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. work schedule. He may travel periodically to meet with domestic or international clients, although his schedule usually depends on securities exchanges' operating hours. An investment associate can also be busy at the end of the quarter when a firm typically files regulatory financial reports to the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission.