Investment bankers help individuals, companies and even governments to make sound investment decisions. They deal with stocks, mutual funds, bonds, securities and other forms of investments that grow the economy. Investment bankers are well-paid and highly skilled professionals. If you are a competent analyzer with good math skills, this could be the ideal career for you.
What Do Investment Bankers Do?
The duties of investment bankers include:
- Advising clients on high-level financial organization issues
- Managing the issuance of bonds
- Recommending and executing schemes for acquisition and merging with other companies
- Initiating public offerings to help private corporations go public
- Guiding clients on how to structure a deal, evaluate potential gains or losses and make detailed agreements
- Conducting research, keeping data and creating investment reports.
Investment bankers have regular 9am to 5pm work schedules. However, when there is a lot of work—such as when finalizing a merger between two companies– they may be required to put in longer working hours.
These bankers are mainly based in offices, although they make occasional travels to hold meetings with clients or attend industry events.
How much do investment bankers earn? Here is an indicative list:
Starting investment bankers
$82,000 - $120,000
To set your foot on this profession, you must begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in:
- Business administration
These programs equip students with the skills and knowledge required to use mathematical models to project potential outcomes.
Students are also required to complete an internship before graduating. Internships allow prospective investment bankers to use valuation models to interact with real-world investors and evaluate assets and portfolios. You will also nurture your analytical skills and establish professional connections that may come in handy when hunting for a job.
Important Skills and Abilities
To succeed as an investment banker you need:
- Superior communication abilities
- Strong math skills
- Good presentation skills
- The ability to concentrate and work under pressure
- Determination, perseverance and self-motivation
- Good IT skills
- Excellent analytical skills.
Training and Career Progression
Once you graduate and land a job, expect to undergo extensive on the-the-job training. Since the banking industry is heavily regulated, you will need to obtain an investment banking license.
To obtain this license, you must:
- Be sponsored by a Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) member firm. In simpler terms, your employer must be a FINRA member.
- Pass the Series 79 Examination.
After being licensed, you can focus on helping your employer’s clients make profitable investment decisions. Thereafter, you can pursue the following paths to brighten your career progression prospects:
- Earn a master’s degree in business administration or finance – This will enhance your knowledge of the financial markets
- Obtain professional certifications from institutions such as the Investment Banking Institute, School of Professional Studies and the Finance Training Society.
You can also consider:
- Joining professional associations such as National Investment Banking Association
- Pursuing a PhD in investment and banking.
The typical employers for investment bankers include:
- Commercial and investment banks
- Financial consulting companies.
- Brokerage firms
- Credit unions
- Financial associations
With more work experience and a graduate degree, you can become an investment manager or pursue other top management careers within the banking industry. You can also establish your own investment firm.
As the economy expands, more investment bankers will be needed to guide investors. This, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, will result in an 11 percent employment growth through the next 8 years. So if you are good with numbers, you won’t miss an employment opportunity in investment banking.