Equity Research and Investment Banking Differences
Equity research can be defined as a mechanism through which the financial wellbeing i.e. assets and liabilities of an organization is analyzed that further helps in attracting the readers of the financial statements to make decisions concerning investing in an entity whereas Investment banking can be defined as a banking function that offers financial services to individuals and companies and enables them to raise capital as well.
Equity research is conducted by personnel who is entrusted with the preparation of research reports and valuation models that acts as a basis of decision making for the clients. An equity research analyst in simple words is a person who studies the behavioural patterns of the financial market and its ongoing business environment and based on his or her findings prepare equity research reports that help his or her clients and the readers of the financial statements to make well-informed and appropriate decisions that will help them in attaining desired results. The job of an equity research analyst is not as glamorous as compared to the job of an investment banking analyst. An equity research analyst works at an equity research company and his ultimate job is to prepare valuation models and equity research reports for his or her clients.
An investment banking function is performed by an investment banker who acts as a middleman between the stakeholders and the companies that are looking for financing. The job of an investment banking analyst is to conduct thorough research on the financial deals that are available, coordinating with the dealers and thereafter finalizing the same. This is also why an investment banking analyst is regarded as an important decision-maker of the financing industry. An investment banker is an individual who assists the companies in raising finance (debt/ equity) through the issue/ sale of securities in the primary market.
If you are new into the finance field and wondering what to choose among these two, there is one perception that needs to be busted. Equity research is often viewed as the less paid, unglamorous job. But in a real sense, things have been changing lately. People are tending more toward equity research and the recognition and the pay is not as bad as it is perceived. We will analyze critically what works and what doesn’t. But before that, let’s see the conceptual differences between these two finance domains.
Roles of an Investment Banker
- Investment bankers are the major decision-makers of the industry.
- Their job is to do extensive research on various financial deals, co-ordinate with the deal makers and execute major financial deals.
- Their job in real sense is acting as a mediator between the investors and the businesses who need financing.
- They work on Initial Public Offering (IPO), Merger & Acquisitions (M&A) and restructuring. In a sense, they add tremendous value to the businesses and investors and earn handsomely as a result.
Role of an Equity Researcher
- Equity research analysts are the real financial heroes who create the valuation models, research reports on the basis of which major decisions are being made.
- They are experts in financial modeling, financial statement analysis, valuation of the companies, how the economy and currency works and they concentrate on a small group of stocks and constantly give information to the team members about any data that seem critical for decision making.
- Many equity research analysts try to go to the “buy-side” of the industry.
- As it seems the most lucrative and competitive of all equity analyses and provides lucrative compensation and much-desired limelight.
There are some pre-requisites if you want to pursue any of these two, most hyped finance domains. Let’s look at those –
- Generally speaking, mere graduation will not help you to fetch a career in equity research or investment banking. But yes, it’s the minimum requirement.
- If you are brilliant in maths, communication, finance, accounting, and economics, you can get a job; but you need to think for further qualifications to reach higher levels in your domain.
Equity Research vs Investment Banking Infographics
- Investment banking function is executed by an investment banker whereas equity research is executed by an equity research analyst.
- Investment banking offers financial services to the companies willing to raise capital while equity research analyzes the assets and liabilities of an entity that attracts the users of the financial reports to invest in the same.
- An investment banking analyst is levied with the responsibility of the preparation of pitch books as well as information memorandums. An equity research analyst is levied with the responsibility of the preparation of the valuation models as well as the equity research reports.
- An investment banking analyst works basically at the front-end. An equity research analyst works mostly at the back end.
- An investment banking analyst receives a high amount of salary as compared to the salary received by an equity research analyst.
- An investment banker will need to develop required financial skills, mental mathematics skills, both oral and written communication skills while an equity research analyst must develop an analytic mindset, fantastic research skills, oral and written communication skills and must even be able to make appropriate decisions.
- The job of an investment banking analyst is more tiring as he or she will be expected and required to give more time as compared to the job of an equity research analyst. Ideally, an equity research analyst will be required to dedicate 60 hours in a week while the job of an investment banking analyst would require him or her to dedicate more than 60 hours weekly.
- In equity research, an analyst will get to work with information that is publicly available and accordingly the recommendations are prepared by the same. An investment banker gets to deal with information that is not public in nature.
Equity Research vs Investment Banking Education & Skills Sets
Equity Research Analyst
In the case of an equity research analyst, the right course to do is CFA.
CFA is a very affordable course compared to MBA (have a look at CFA vs MBA). But it is very tough to complete. CFA has three levels which you need to complete to get the certification. As equity research analyst has to do all the calculation and create all the research reports, it is of utter importance that they should be good in security analysis. And CFA is a gold standard course for security analysis. So, it’s a given. If you want to pursue a career in equity research, you must do CFA.
For equity research analysts, researching and analysis skills are of vital importance. All big financial deals are done on the basis of their calculation and analysis.
Thus, without these two particular skills, it is difficult for an equity research analyst to thrive in her career.
If you want to learn Equity Research professionally, then you may want to look at 40+ video hours of Equity Research Course
As already mentioned investment banking career is more about closing big deals than sitting in front of the laptop and analyzing the latest valuation models of a start-up. Mere graduation will not seal the deal for investment banking professionals. You need more to be an investment banker.
CFA is a good option if you consider the knowledge and the acquisition of needed skills, but the MBA seems to be the better option as the MBA offers an incredible opportunity to network which CFA doesn’t provide. If you see the curriculum, an MBA is more business-oriented and less investment-oriented. As an investment banker has less to do with research and more to do with closing deals, it’s of utter importance that they know how business works along with incredible knowledge in the finance domain.
Three most important skills an investment banker must possess are the ability to create great client relationships, being able to manage large transactions and finally to be able to negotiate a deal with maximum success.
There are many people who have predicted that the positions of equity research analysts would get decreased as we move ahead, but that’s not entirely true. But to be able to work well, equity research analysts have to depend on equity capital markets bankers whose business is much more profitable. But as equity research analysts are the vehicles through which all the financial deals are being done, they are going to stay in the market as long as the businesses exist. Equity research analysts concentrate on specific market segments, value companies on a periodic basis and write reports. All fortune 500 companies hire equity research analysts.
As market leaders say that investment banking and the opportunity have been booming.
That means, there will be a reasonable expanse of the investment banking jobs as well.
Wall Street has been hiring investment banking professionals for years. And all fortune 500 companies select students from top MBA schools for offering lucrative career opportunities in investment banking.
If you want to pursue an equity research analyst profile, don’t think that this is the option left when people don’t get any investment banking profile. Investment banking is not for everyone and should not be pursued by everyone. If you have a natural tendency toward critical thinking, analytical ability and you love to dig deep, an equity research analyst profile is the right option for you. Whereas, if you have knack toward closing the deals, interacting with clients and building a client portfolio and you love to network extensively, then investment banking profile is the right option for you.
Investment Banking vs Equity Research Comparative Table
|Basis of comparison||Investment banking||Equity research|
|Job roles and responsibilities of an analyst||The job roles of an investment banking analyst are-
||The job roles of an equity research analyst are-
|Salary||An investment banker receives a higher salary as compared to an equity researcher.||An equity research analyst receives a lower salary as compared to an investment banker.|
|Type of work||Front-end basically.||Back-end basically.|
|Employed at||An investment banker works in an investment banker.||An equity researcher works in an equity research company.|
|Limelight||The job of an investment banker is more glamorous and puts the personnel into the limelight all the time.||The job of an equity research analyst is less glamorous.|
|Lifestyle||The job of an investment banking analyst is highly tiring owing to the demand of the same which is erratic in nature. This job requires the person to work for a longer schedule of time. The work lifestyle of an investment banker is totally imbalanced and therefore, this career must only be pursued by passionate finance professionals that are passionate about this job and are willing to give in to the expectations and requirements of the same.||The job of an equity researcher analyst is not that tiring as compared to that of an investment banker. An equity researcher would be required to work for a maximum of 60 hours in a week only.|
It’s being seen that equity research analysts get paid lesser than investment banking professionals. But that doesn’t mean equity research analysts get paid lesser than the market standards.
- According to the research done by Glassdoor in 2014, it is being seen that equity research analysts earn around the US $95,690 annually.
- As per the Wall Street Journal, the equity research analysts earn anything between the US $72,200 to $148,800.
- On the other hand, investment bankers are the real moneymakers. As interns, they earn anything between the US $70,000 to $80,000.
- Once they join, their salary becomes the US $115,000 to $130,000 with around $30,000 in bonuses.
- Once they have some experience (maybe around 3 years), they earn anything around the US $175,000 to $200,000.
But the decision of a career should not only be based on compensation. There are other sides too – personal preference, work-life balance, and professional aspirations.
Career Pros & Cons
Both of these careers have their pros and cons. Let’s look at each of them, one by one –
Equity Research Analyst:
- Equity research analysts are the backbones of any security analysis companies. Without the expertise of equity research analysts, the companies cannot help their clients make big decisions in specific areas of the market.
- Equity research analysts can work independently with the skill-sets they have. They can work directly for clients as a freelancer or can run their own businesses.
- Clients pay millions of dollars to get the valuation of their businesses to get financed. Equity research analysts have a direct role to play here.
- Equity research analysts work 12 hours a day or 60 hours a week which seems to be a normal scenario in the finance domain. It is an advantage if we compare the work hours with hours put in by investment bankers per week.
- Equity research analysts often need to depend on equity capital markets bankers to get things moving. Thus, it’s said that ERA can earn their bread, but for jams and butter, they need to depend on others.
- The compensation for equity research analysts is not as lucrative as for investment bankers.
- Finally, equity research analysts need to work in dark and get little or no limelight as compared to investment banking professionals.
Investment Banking Professional
- The demand for investment banking professionals is always booming. Investors and businesses love them as they execute the deals and help both parties connect with each other.
- They are compensated extra-ordinarily well. They are the highest-paid workers in the market (even if you compare with other fields like computer engineering and chemical engineering).
- Investment banking professionals enjoy glamour, a great lifestyle and an incredible reputation.
- Investment banking professionals are one of the most sought after professions in the world. Many young students look up to this profession as an eye of the fish.
- The major issue with the investment banking profession is work hours. Most of the investment bankers work 75 to 100 hours a week which is too much for a human being to bear. Thus, even if they earn a lot, they don’t get the time to enjoy what they earn.
- Many students choose investment banking as a profession by looking at its glamour and ultimately fail to make their mark. This profession needs authority-level knowledge in finance which often becomes hard for students to acquire.
- Investment banking is not about knowing only, but executing bigger, sometimes huge deals. Yes, there is a huge bonus for the execution; but often the responsibility also lies on the investment bankers as they connect the businesses with the investors.
You can imagine that there should be a work-life balance. Yes, work is important. But the person who does the work is important too.
- If you are an equity research analyst, you will be sane and not give in to work. You will have a better life and a clear head. You will work 60 hours a week, receive an above-average compensation and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- On the other hand, an investment banker doesn’t see his watch. He sees clients. That’s a good thing to do. Even he will earn much more than anyone in the industry. But like everybody, everybody needs to rest. Without rest and a proper balance, working would be just an obligation.
If you don’t sleep for the last seven days, you will not be able to function properly, let alone the art of thinking for clients. So, even if you choose the investment banking profession; set a limit and don’t work till you fall and lose yourself. Life is precious. Do check out Investment Banker Lifestyle
What should you choose?
There is no one-size-fits-all formula. Some are good researchers, but better deal makers. You know what to choose in that case. Some are good negotiators, but excellent with numbers; guess what they should choose. Being great in a specific thing is important, but more important is the willingness to work in a particular domain.
- Not everyone will choose the investment banking profession even if the compensation and standing of the profession seem lucrative. Not everyone will choose an equity research analyst profile even if there are a better work-life balance and room to grow and get better in other things in spare time.
- Thus, it’s your call between investment banking and equity research. Know the market. Moreover, know yourself. Once you know both of these things, it would be easier to find a sweet spot where you can belong and thrive. Don’t choose any career just because you want more money or glittering glamour or better work-life balance. Choose something because you love it. And it would definitely be the right choice.
Investment Banking vs Equity Research Video
This has been a guide to Investment Banking vs Equity Research. Here we discuss the difference between Investment Banking and Equity Research comparing their educational requirement, salary, work-life balance, etc. You can learn more from the following articles – comparing its concepts, pre-requisites, employment, skills, work-life