The Financial System Specialist Series covers positions that perform, supervise, or manage administrative work of a fiscal, financial management, accounting or budgetary nature that is not classifiable to another more specific professional or administrative series in the Accounting and Budget Group, GS-0500.
There are no titles specified for this occupation. Agencies may construct titles that appropriately describe the work. The title, Financial Manager, is to be used only for positions classified to the Financial Management Series, GS-0505.
The federal government employs 25,086 in this occupation of which 455 work overseas . The Department of the Treasury employs 5,328, the Department of the Navy employs 5,345, and the Department of Defense  has 2,816 workers in this series. There are workers in this series in all cabinet level departments, most large agencies and many small agencies.
Federal Government Requirements:
- You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
- The yearly salary range for a GS-11 is $59,246.00 to $77,019.00
Typical Duties & Occupational Profile:
- Recommend individual investments and collections of investments, which are known as portfolios
- Evaluate current and historical financial data
- Study economic and business trends
- Examine a company’s financial statements to determine its value
- Meet with company officials to gain better insight into the company’s prospects
- Assess the strength of the management team
- Prepare written reports
Financial analysts evaluate investment opportunities. They work in banks, pension funds, mutual funds, securities firms, insurance companies, and other businesses. Financial analysts are also called securities analysts and investment analysts.
Financial analysts can be divided into two categories: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts.
- Buy-side analysts develop investment strategies for companies that have a lot of money to invest. These companies, called institutional investors, include mutual funds, hedge funds, insurance companies, independent money managers, and nonprofit organizations with large endowments, such as some universities.
- Sell-side analysts advise financial services sales agents who sell stocks, bonds, and other investments.
Some analysts work for the federal government , the business media or other research houses, which are independent from the buy and sell side.
Financial analysts generally focus on trends affecting a specific industry, geographical region, or type of product. For example, an analyst may focus on a subject area such as the energy industry, a world region such as Eastern Europe, or the foreign exchange market. They must understand how new regulations, policies, and political and economic trends may affect investments.
Investing is becoming more global, and some financial analysts specialize in a particular country or region. Companies want those financial analysts to understand the language, culture, business environment, and political conditions in the country or region that they cover.
Financial Analyst Types:
Portfolio managers select the mix of products, industries, and regions for their company’s investment portfolio. These managers are responsible for the overall performance of the portfolio. They are also expected to explain investment decisions and strategies in meetings with stakeholders.
Fund managers work exclusively with hedge funds or mutual funds. Both fund and portfolio managers frequently make buy or sell decisions in reaction to quickly changing market conditions.
Ratings analysts evaluate the ability of companies or governments to pay their debts, including bonds. On the basis of their evaluation, a management team rates the risk of a company or government not being able to repay its bonds.
Risk analysts evaluate the risk in investment decisions and determine how to manage unpredictability and limit potential losses. This job is carried out by making investment decisions such as selecting dissimilar stocks or having a combination of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in a portfolio.
Most positions require a bachelor’s degree. A number of fields of study provide appropriate preparation, including accounting, economics, finance, statistics, and mathematics. For advanced positions, employers often require a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or a master’s degree in finance. Knowledge of options pricing, bond valuation, and risk management are important.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority  (FINRA) is the main licensing organization for the securities industry. It requires licenses for many financial analyst positions. Most of the licenses require sponsorship by an employer, so companies do not expect individuals to have these licenses before starting a job.
Certification is often recommended by employers and can improve the chances for advancement. An example is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification from the CFA Institute . Financial analysts can become CFA certified if they have a bachelor’s degree, 4 years of qualified work experience, and pass three exams. Financial analysts can also become certified in their field of specialty.
Financial analysts typically start by specializing in a specific investment field. As they gain experience, they can become portfolio managers, who select the mix of investments for a company’s portfolio. They can also become fund managers, who manage large investment portfolios for individual investors. A master’s degree in finance or business administration can improve an analyst’s chances of advancing to one of these positions.
Analytical skills. Financial analysts must process a range of information in finding profitable investments.
Communication skills. Financial analysts must explain their recommendations to clients in clear language that clients can easily understand.
Computer skills. Financial analysts must be adept at using software packages to analyze financial data, see trends, create portfolios, and make forecasts.
Decision making skills. Financial analysts must provide a recommendation to buy, hold, or sell a security.
Detail oriented. Financial analysts must pay attention to details when reviewing possible investments, as small issues may have large implications for the health of an investment.
Math skills. Financial analysts use mathematical skills when estimating the value of financial securities
The occupational profile information was excerpted from the Occupational Handbook (OOH) published by the Department of Labor.
GS-0501 Financial Systems Specialist (Excerpted from USA Job Announcement)
- Bachelor’s degree
- Knowledge of Financial System Administration
- Skill in Written Communications
- Ability to provide guidance on operating policies and other related fiscal matters
Must have at least one year of experience at the next lowest grade level.
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program)
Employment of financial analysts is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
Despite employment growth, strong competition is expected for financial analyst positions. Growth in financial services is projected to create new positions, but there are still far more people who would like to enter the occupation than there are jobs in the occupation. Having certifications and a graduate degree can significantly improve an applicant’s prospects.
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