Financial Analyst Vs Investment Banker: Key Differences

Updated 3 July 2023

Candidates interested in developing a career in finance may wish to learn more about the job roles of a financial analyst and investment banker. Both career paths require different skills and educational qualifications. By comparing them, you can make an informed decision and determine which one is suitable for you. In this article, we review the meaning of financial analyst vs. investment banker roles, discuss how they differ, list how they are similar and explore how to choose the role that is most suited to you.

Financial Analyst Vs. Investment Banker

Here is an outline of a financial analyst vs. investment banker role:

What is a financial analyst?

Financial analysts are responsible for analysing and evaluating financial data to provide recommendations to their clients for making the right investment decisions. They have expertise in the latest finance industry trends, and financial markets and the ability to forecast their financial performance. They may work in different settings, such as insurance companies, financial institutions and investment banks. This job includes communicating technical financial terms with individuals from non-technical backgrounds.

Related: What Does A Financial Analyst Do? (Duties And Career Advice)

What is an investment banker?

An investment banker works in the finance industry and helps clients in raising capital. These jobs may require structuring, and underwriting securities offerings, such as bond issuances and initial public offerings. They use their expertise, and financial skills to assist their clients with the placement of these securities offerings and make wise investments. They often act as an intermediary between clients and issuing companies. They provide strategic, and financial advice on risk management and suggestions on capital structure. Candidates with excellent knowledge of finance and economics can become investment bankers.

Related: What Is An Investment Banker? Definition And Career Advice

Differences Between A Financial Analyst And Investment Banker

Here are some key differences between the two positions based on their job duties, educational requirements, work environment, skills and salary:

Job duties

The job of a financial analyst focuses on analysing, and evaluating the financial performance and economic conditions of their clients. They use their knowledge and experience to help investors make the right financial decisions. They use their research skills to gather essential information from the market. The day-to-day job of a financial analyst includes researching the required information, analysing the gathered data, preparing new reports and updating existing ones. With the help of relevant material, they then propose recommendations and present findings to their clients.

Comparatively, the job of an investment banker involves assisting clients with raising capital. Their job is to collect the necessary information, and make wise decisions for issuing and selling securities. They also act as intermediaries between their clients and the companies by performing a variety of tasks, which include advising the investors on acquisitions, and mergers with the help of financial data and reports. Many individuals or businesses hire investment bankers to structure their financial transactions.

Related: How To Write A Financial Analyst Cover Letter (With Example)

Educational requirements

Financial analyst and investment banker roles can be great job options to consider if you want to develop a rewarding career in the finance industry. Both roles require a background in finance and economics. It is typical for someone in this field to have a bachelor's degree or other advanced degree or certificate, in a related subject. Here are a few credential options you can pursue to become an investment banker:

  • Postgraduate diploma in finance

  • Bachelor of Financial and Investment Analysis

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in financial planning and analysis

  • Bachelor's degree in investment banking and management

  • MBA in finance management

  • MBA in banking and finance

Related: What Does An Investment Banker Do? (Skills And Careers)

Work environment

The work environment of a financial analyst differs from that of an investment banker. The former typically works in a financial service or corporate setting. They work on a computer in an office, and their daily job includes creating financial models and analysing the financial data of the company that hired them. They may also have a more stable workload and set working hours.

The work of an investment banker can be more unpredictable, as they are responsible for making complex financial decisions. They may work for long hours with strict deadlines. Many small or large commercial banks, and private equity firms hire investment bankers for managing financial resources and helping clients raise capital. They may meet their clients in person, and travel to attend meetings, conferences and other industry-related events.

Related: Top Investment Banking Skills With Tips To Develop Them


Financial analysts, and investment bankers require different skills and expertise to perform their job duties. To become a financial analyst, you typically require good analytical skills to help you interpret complex financial data. These skills also facilitate the creation of effective financial models using the latest information and market trends. It is also necessary to possess the ability to learn investment theories, financial marketing and accounting. They often have good communication skills to convey technical and financial data to other individuals. They also use problem-solving talents to analyse financial data and help clients make the right investment decisions.

Investment bankers require good knowledge of financial markets, capital structure and investment theories to perform their job duties. They use communication and interpersonal skills to share complex financial information with their clients. Networking abilities can help them build and maintain relationships with different individuals in the finance industry. They use their research skills to understand the financial goals of their clients and gather information to find specific solutions. They also require the ability to communicate well with investors and stakeholders.

Related: How To Become An Investment Banker: A Complete Guide

Similarities Between A Financial Analyst And An Investment Banker

Here are a few similarities between financial analysts and investment bankers:

Competitive job roles

Both career paths offer competitive positions in the finance industry. Candidates that apply for these job roles often have the opportunity to advance professionally. Pursuing a competitive role can motivate you to learn new skills and improve your productivity.

Related: How To Become A Financial Analyst (With Skills And Salary)

Knowledge of finance

The roles of financial analysts, and investment bankers require a good understanding of financial topics and methodologies. As both positions involve using financial knowledge to facilitate decision-making processes, learning about basic concepts is beneficial. You can learn how to use financial knowledge to monitor the performance of the department and introduce effective strategies. Financial analysts use their corporate financial knowledge to assess the capital structure and investments of a company. Similarly, investment bankers use their knowledge to understand debts and project future values.

Related: How To Highlight Resume Skills For A Financial Analyst

Attention to detail

Both investment bankers and financial analysts use attention to detail skills to maintain accuracy while performing their job duties. To do this, they also require a high level of concentration. They use this ability to ensure calculation, and accounting data is correct and to minimise financial implications.

Related: 5 Examples Of Financial Analyst Resume Objectives (With Tips)

Is It Better To Pursue A Career As A Financial Analyst Or An Investment Banker?

If you want to work for a company that raises capital for other firms, pursuing a career as an investment banker is a good choice for you. Comparatively, financial analysts can work in a company that performs financial analysis and capital markets research. Based on your skills and job requirements, you can select a position suitable for you.

In addition, the right career choice may depend on your salary preference and interests. There are many organisations that pay investment bankers more than financial analysts. Before selecting the job role you want to pursue, considering the job location can also be helpful.

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