Credit analysts determine the credit worthiness of people or companies applying for loans.
Employers include commercial, investment and foreign banks, private equity firms, investment/asset management companies, insurance companies and specialist credit rating agencies (for example: S&P Global Ratings, Dun and Bradstreet). Typical tasks include:
- gathering information about clients
- reading financial briefings
- assessing, analysing and interpreting complicated financial information
- undertaking risk analysis by developing statistical models
- visiting clients
- keeping company credit exposures within set risk bearing limits
- completing loan application forms and submitting to loan committees for approval
- using credit-scoring systems for small credit amounts (such as small unsecured personal loans)
- keeping knowledge of key issues up-to-date (for example legal, market risk and compliance issues)
- helping to enhance the quality of credit applications
- making recommendations about procedural/policy changes.
Vacancies are advertised by careers services and specialist recruitment agencies (mostly for experienced analysts) online, in newspapers including The Financial Times and The London Evening Standard, and in publications such as Bloomberg Businessweek, Investors Chronicle, The Economist and The Banker, plus their online equivalents.
It is advisable to undertake sector and company research, attend presentations, network and send speculative applications. Early applications for advertised vacancies are also recommended.
A career as a credit analyst is more commonly open to graduates rather than school leavers. However, there may be opportunities for school leavers to enter the profession by first undertaking study for professional qualifications with the CFA Institute, starting with entry-level qualifications such as the Investment Management Certificate. It is advisable to gain experience in finance, such as in an administrative role. It can take several years to become highly enough qualified to find employment as a credit analyst.
Graduates will need a good honours degree in any subject (min 2.1) together with several years' relevant experience. Qualifications in business studies, management, statistics, finance, mathematics, accounting or economics can be helpful, as can an MBA or similar postgraduate/professional qualification. Achieving chartered status by undertaking the Chartered Finance Analyst qualification with the CFA Institute is advised to aid your career prospects.
Relevant paid or voluntary experience gained via insight programmes, job shadowing, work experience placements and internships can be particularly beneficial.
Employers seek adaptable, confident, reliable and motivated graduates with strong time management skills, a very good eye for detail and the ability to work effectively under pressure. Excellent IT, analytical, numerical, interpersonal, communication, problem-solving and teamworking skills are also essential. More on the skills you need for banking and investment graduate programmes.