The low down on moving into Equity Research

Are you nearing the end of your ACA contract?

Follow Alan Mitchell on LinkedIn to read the series of articles about your options

In the third instalment of our insights into the career opportunities available to newly qualified accountants in Front Office Investment Banking we are considering the move into equity research. To register your interest in finding out more about career options and live vacancies please click here.

The job

Equity Research is a detail orientated role which involves focussed work investigating trends, competition statistics, market movements, economic data and predicting accurately potential impacts of the findings.  You need to have an eye for detail and genuine interest in what you are researching.  Your time will be spent:

  • Managing projects – Industry, company and market analyses
  • Assisting in the publication of research reports and presentations
  • Analysing emerging trends in an industry or macro economy to develop original insight and review findings with Senior Research Analysts
  • Updating and building financial models

You would be part of a team, but a lot of your time is spent independently on the detail of research, analysis and presentation of findings and recommendations. Equity research opportunities are available at a variety of different companies which all have very different work environments and cultures Including:

  • Bulge bracket/international banks
  • European investment banks
  • Research boutiques
  • Small to midcap corporate broking houses

The work environment tends to be less pressurised than other aspects of front office investment banking as it lacks the deadlines for deals closing and bids needing to be presented.  However, the pressure comes from another direction, the need for your research to relevant, up to date and accurate.  The long hours culture is also less prevalent, but you will need to get used to early starts as there tends to be a morning briefing at most firms before the stock exchange opens.

Why would you want to do this job?

If you have a strong interest in the stock market then this is an excellent career for you as you would be spending your time researching market data  You would have the opportunity to get very close to C-suite individuals at many companies and work closely with the investment community which could open up career opportunities on the buy side for you.  You can also progress your career to covering your own stocks and markets and becoming a well-respected expert in your field so you can become very high profile and earn an Excel rating as a researcher.  You would be rewarded with a good salary and strong bonuses which are based on your individual performance as well as the company performance which does give you control over your own destiny and compensation.

Who would it suit best?

This is an analytical role which needs a thorough approach and an eye for detail.  You need to have a strong interest in equity capital markets, a bright analytical mind and be confident in your written English skills as you will be compiling and writing in depth reports.  It will help if you are curious and have proven organisational skills to help you prioritise your own workload and research areas.  Working on your own is a reality which means you will need to be a motivated self-starter who is happy to focus down on work independently.  However, this does mean that this role is flexible in terms of agile working and hours so you could work from anywhere and would suit someone who is considering working from home for part of the week.  You need to be able to interpret trends and complex data, show confidence in your findings and be able to present it in an understandable, professional manner.  So, it is essential you have professional presentation skills and a good grasp of IT including financial modelling skills.

What’s the catch?

Equity research offers an exciting career with excellent prospects to build your reputation and expertise, but some could see this progression as very flat as the path doesn’t lead to managing teams instead you are building your own skills and market presence.  Being Excel rated is very desirable but not all researchers achieve that.  There are also concerns over future contractions of the sector due to Mifid 2 regulations ensuring a free institutional service and tightening trading commissions.

Our consultants at Alan Mitchell have been working with clients and candidates in the equities sector for over 20 years now and will give you very straightforward advice on the sector and if it is right for you so please contact Philip Seager to find out more – philip@alan-mitchell.co.uk.

To search our current vacancies please follow this link.