A fixed income analyst has three areas of responsibility: determine the value of debt securities, create advice reports, and monitor performance. The analyst typically has a university degree in finance, accounting, or related field. Employment opportunities for this type of analyst are available in investment firms, large banks, and related industries.
People who enjoy working with numbers, are interested in finance, and have an analytical thought process find this type of work rewarding. The primary function of a fixed income analyst is to analyze market activity, advise the firm which action will produce the best yield and minimize the risk of loss. The fixed income market trades in debt securities or fixed income financial instruments. An example of a debt security is a government bond, which pays out at specific dates.
The primary role of the fixed income analyst is to determine the value of bonds available for purchase, payout dates, rates, and what would be in the best interest of the company. Companies who trade in fixed income bonds are usually investment firms, but can also be non-financial firms with cash they want to use to build an investment-based income stream.
Advice reports provide background on the bond, historical performance, ranking in the marketplace, comparable investment tools, and any relevant news that may impact bond performance. The report also includes a section for recommendations. Here the fixed income analyst indicates if the firm should buy, sell, hold, hedge, or not buy a particular bond. The decision must be supported by the information in the details section, which includes the current offer, options, and risk assessment.
Although a bond has a fixed payout amount, it is important to monitor bonds to ensure that the terms of the agreement are met, the correct payout received, and information is collected for the next advice report. It is important to note that research skills are very important in this job. Reviewing the information available, measuring its validity, and comparing this information to others is central to being successful in this job.
Talk with people who work in the investment industry, and they can advise you about the work environment in an investment firm. Typically, the hours are long, the pressure intense, and the clients demanding. Many people who are attracted to the level of activity in an investment firm experience burn out after five or ten years. The level of intensity is quite high, and often causes staff to experience physical symptoms of prolonged exposure to stress.