This sector contains all our financial research jobs.

Financial researchers in banks provide information on both equities and debt products and indicate the advisability of investing in particular equities or bonds. Known also as analysts, they are typically focused on particularly industry sectors or particular types of bond investment.

Within equity analysis or equity research jobs, some of the main sectors covered include: oil and gas, metals and mining, retail, banks and financials, pharmaceuticals, technology, industrials, and real estate companies. Equity researchers focus on one of these sectors, gaining a detailed knowledge of the prospects and financial stability of companies operating within it. Based on this knowledge, they issue ‘buy’, ‘hold’ or ‘sell’ recommendations advising investors what to do with the stock.

The most prized equity researchers are those who are highly ranked by external organisations such as Starmine and Institutional Investor Magazine.

Traditionally, equity researchers have produced long written reports advising investors whether to invest in particular stocks. These reports are used by equity salespeople with investment banks and brokerage houses to start sales conversations and help provide investors with ideas of stocks to buy. As time has gone on though, researchers are increasingly expected to communicate their ideas themselves to investors and to have more of a marketing role, working closely with the salespeople.

While equity researchers and research associates play a crucial role in the selling of equity products, they can find themselves in a difficult position because they do not bring in any revenues directly. As a result, there have been accusations of bias, with some researchers in investment banks accused of writing deliberately favourable reports about potential clients in order to help the bank win business in areas such as M&A and capital markets. For this reason, some researchers now work for independent research houses. Equally challenging is the fact that a really good piece of research about a company requires access to and conversations with that company’s senior management, but senior management may not be willing to talk to researchers who have written negative reports about their company in the past.

Within the fixed income sector, researchers analyse the likelihood that the issuer of a bond will not meet its commitment to repay. Ratings agencies such as Moody’s, Standard & Poors and Fitch, issue ratings indicating the likelihood of the repayment occurring, with AAA rated bonds the safest to invest in and C rated bonds having little likelihood of repayment on any timescale. Fixed income researchers within investment banks make similar judgements and over a career in research will typically specialise in a particular type of bond – either investment grade (strong likelihood of repayment) or high yield or distressed bonds, where the likelihood of repayment is far less.