Equity Research vs. Investment Banking (The Key Differences)

Equity research and investment banking offer mentally difficult finance jobs with high pay. Equity researchers study companies, make financial models, and offer buying, selling, or keeping stocks. The independent role focuses on finding actual value. 

Bankers help raise money and advice on mergers and acquisitions, working closely with company leaders and investors. However both careers offer big salaries and bonuses, but banking offers more total pay and faster promotion. 

Learning the different skills and career paths is essential for those interested in finance when picking between these top-level roles. Continue reading this blog for more information on Equity Research vs. Investment Banking.

Equity Research (A Brief Introduction)

Equity research can be described as the study of companies and their finances, which assists investors in making prudent decisions. Deeply researching a company’s financial statements, industry trends, and market conditions is one of the tasks of researchers. 

The information obtained from this research is later used to produce reports about buying, selling, or retaining a particular stock.

Conducting primary research is another significant element of equity research. Talking to the individuals responsible for running the business, attending forums, and obtaining data from various sources enlightens analysts about how such firms operate and their competitors, together with possible growth rates

What do Equity Researchers Do? (Breakdown in Points)

Here is a simple breakdown of what equity researchers do. They’re key players in investing, but their job differs from investment bankers, even though they both aim to make money.

Looking at Financial Information

Equity researchers study company financial statements, earnings reports, regulatory filings, and other data. They study how companies are doing financially annually.

Understanding Businesses

Researchers learn about how businesses operate and make money. They look at industries, competitors, products, and management. This helps them learn about what drives profits.

Making Forecasts

Researchers make projections for revenues, earnings, cash flows, and other numbers. They predict how stocks will perform based on their analysis.

Writing Research Reports

They present their analysis in reports for investors. The reports explain their views on stocks and companies. They include financial models, valuations, and recommendations for the companies.

Advising on Investments

Equity researchers suggest which stocks to buy, hold, or sell based on their research. Their advice helps guide investment decisions and stock picking.

Now, it’s time to learn the skills needed to become an equity research analyst.

Skills You Require to Become an Equity Research Analyst

As we all know, becoming an equity research analyst means you must be good at looking at numbers, understanding money, and knowing a lot about different industries. It’s a tough field, so you must learn many skills to do well. Read more in detail below.

Financial Modeling is Critical

Equity research analysts build detailed financial models to develop forecasts and stock suggestions. Strong excel modeling skills are essential to construct accurate projections of a company’s financial statements.

Communication Abilities are Key

Research analysts who produce written research reports and verbally present advice. So, strong written and oral communication skills ensure ideas are conveyed clearly and persuasively to clients.

Critical Thinking is Vital

Sharp critical thinking allows analysts to interpret information, question beliefs, and develop unique insights. Analysts synthesize data from many sources to determine what is most relevant for models and recommendations.

Also Read: What Role Do Investment Bankers Play in Securities Markets?

After this, let’s jump to the career progression that you will enjoy.

Career Progression in Equity Research

Equity research plays an important role in investing by providing detailed analysis of public companies to help guide investment choices. A typical career path is


The starting position usually needs 1-3 years of finance experience. Analysts assist seniors by making financial models, writing reports, and covering industry trends and companies. Building strong financial modeling and valuation abilities.


After 3-5 years, analysts may advance to associate. More freedom in covering companies and writing more reports. Associates lead projects and begin building relationships with investors. You need to be good at writing and talking to people.

Senior Analyst

With 5-8 years of experience, proven stock-picking talents, and wide investor relationships, an associate moves up to senior analyst. Seen as an expert in their sector, senior analysts lead teams and write influential reports.

Portfolio Manager

In the highest role, portfolio managers use deep industry knowledge and investor ties to manage investment portfolios directly. Needs a strong record of investment returns.

In short, equity research provides a defined career path for those with sharp financial analysis abilities and a passion for the stock market. 

Higher positions bring more influence and leadership in stock evaluation and portfolio management by developing specialized knowledge and investor relationships.

Is Equity Research A Hidden Gem?

Compared to other positions in investment banking, ER is usually considered less exciting. You will be expected to cover a small number of companies and provide often updates on your research and financial models. Financial and accounting are paramount, and CFA certification is common among professionals. 

The next step for many ER analysts would be joining fundamental hedge funds or long/short ones. On the contrary, private equity or venture capital has few openings for ER. However, coverage investment bankers can shift into these functions.

Some people have agreed that there has been massive consolidation because MiFID II no longer allowed payment for research with soft dollars until recently. However, this situation may change soon.

Investment Banking (Short Intro)

Financial advice-giving, money-raising, and company-converging are all that investment banking is about. An investment banker is an individual who works closely with businesses, governments, and other organizations to enable them to achieve their financial goals. 

They assist in selling shares and bonds, brokering deals, and giving wise counsel on business transactions.

IPOs, debt issuances, and private placements are some ways investment bankers help companies raise funds. Additionally, they offer expertise on mergers & acquisitions, assisting in tough negotiations and financing arrangements for companies.

What Do Investment Bankers Do? (Raise Money, Manage Risks, and Plan Important Corporate Finance Deals)

Investment bankers are financial advisors who help companies and governments raise money, manage risks, and plan important corporate finance deals like mergers and acquisitions. Their main role is to provide advice to business clients on money matters.

Raising Money

A key job of investment bankers is to help companies raise funds by issuing stocks or bonds. They advise on the best financing structure, determine the right price and timing, and handle the necessary paperwork.

Company Mergers & Purchases

Investment bankers provide financial advice and valuation expertise when companies pursue mergers, buys, or sales. They assess if deals make strategic sense, model financial implications, negotiate terms, and ensure compliance with regulations.


Investment bankers also offer guidance on corporate spin-offs, reorganizations, joint ventures, and private equity deals. They use their financial expertise and deal-making experience to structure advantageous deals.

In summary, investment bankers mainly give strategic advice to companies and investors on important money-related deals like raising funds and buying or merging with other firms. They add value by enabling clients to make sound financial decisions.

Skills Needed to Become an Investment Banker (Diverse Set of Abilities)

Becoming an investment banker requires specific abilities. Read more details below about the skills you need:

Financial Modeling

Investment bankers build complex financial models to analyze potential transactions and deals. Strong abilities are critical to constructing accurate models predicting growth rates, cash flows, investment returns, and other key financial measures.

Deal Structuring

Structuring mergers, acquisitions, IPOs, and other deals is central to an investment banker’s role. Quantifying risks, outlining deal terms, and ensuring favorable conditions for clients involves financial, legal, and strategic structuring expertise.


Clear and effective verbal and written communication abilities are vital. Investment bankers must explain complex financial information and deals to colleagues, clients, and investors in presentations, memos, and regulatory filings.


Navigating negotiations is key when managing deals. Investment bankers leverage financial analysis, persuasion, and relationship-building abilities to establish optimal client terms.

Mastering this diverse set of abilities opens doors to a rewarding yet demanding career in investment banking. The role offers opportunities to structure high-value strategic financial deals.

Career Progression in Investment Banking

The career path in investment banking usually follows a ladder, with defined roles and promotions at each step. Check out the job options:


Analysts are generally recent college graduates who join a bank’s analyst program. Their key tasks include making financial models, preparing presentations, researching, and helping senior bankers on various projects. The analyst job usually lasts 2-3 years before promotion to Associate.


After succeeding as an Analyst, one moves up to the Associate position. Associates take on more duties such as financial modeling, leading research projects, building client relationships, and heading up projects. Many MBA graduates also start as Associates. Associates typically work in the role for 2-4 years.

Vice President

The Vice President position is the first senior-level job held by investment bankers who have shown technical skill and leadership ability. Vice Presidents lead teams and client relationships and manage the completion of important work. They are on track to move up to Managing Director.

Managing Director

Managing Directors are the topmost bankers who lead teams, oversee high-profile deals, and attract new business for the firm. They have shown talent in managing people, projects, and clients at the executive level. Managing Directors represent the highest rank one can reach in investment banking.

Thus, the typical analyst-to-managing director career ladder that investment bankers work towards. Each step brings more duties and client contact. With strong performance, the timeframe from analyst to managing director can be as short as 8-10 years.

Also Read: How To Invest In Web 3.0: Get Complete Guidance

What Is The Most Insipid Part Of Your Job As An Investment Banker?

In investment banking, every aspect can feel monotonous, from wowing clients to creating presentations, assessing finances, attending meetings, working overtime, and traveling. Sometimes, even dining becomes dull when you converse with a boring bank about banking.

But there’s one truly captivating thing. Money. That’s incredible.

Comparison of Lifestyle of Equity Research vs. Investment Banking

Let’s talk about the differences in lifestyle between Equity Research and Investment Banking. It’s important because it helps determine what job suits you best if you’re considering a finance career.

CategoryEquity ResearchInvestment Banking
Starting Salary$80,000 – $100,000$85,000 – $95,000
Salary with Experience$110,000 – $150,000$100,000 – $125,000
Bonus30-50% of base payOften exceeds base pay
Total Compensation (Senior Roles)Over $300,000Over $500,000
Hours/Week55-70 hours80+ hours
Travel/WeekendsLess requiredExtensive required
Stress LevelModerateExtremely high
Work-Life BalanceBetterHighly demanding

Skills and Personality Match for Equity Research vs. Investment Banking

Here is a comparison of the skills and personality traits suited for equity research versus investment banking careers:

CategoryEquity ResearchInvestment Banking
Personality TypeAnalytical, detail-oriented researcherOutgoing, client-focused dealmaker
Strengths NeededFinancial modeling, analysis, valuation, writingSalesmanship, communication, influence
Education CFA, accounting/finance degreeIvy League MBA, finance degree
Key SkillsResearch, analysis, modeling, writingDeal negotiation, presentation, networking
Professional DevelopmentGain industry/sector expertiseExpand client network, transaction experience

How Much Do Equity Researchers Earn Per Year?

Image Source: Glassdoor

How Much Do Investment Bankers Earn/Per Year?

Image Source: Glassdoor

Key Challenges and Their Solutions for Equity Research and Investment Banking Professionals

Equity research analysts and investment bankers operate in highly competitive and demanding fields. Remaining successful requires proactively navigating key challenges.

Market VolatilityMarkets fluctuate frequently, impacting valuations and deals.Build models based on long-term projections and fundamentals. Focus on high-quality companies.
Tight DeadlinesResearch reports and deal negotiations involve tight turnarounds.Work efficiently. Prioritize tasks and time. Have strong teams to collaborate.
Maintaining ObjectivityAnalysts must provide unbiased recommendations. Bankers facilitate deals.Develop Chinese walls between departments. Maintain information barriers.
Work-Life BalanceLong hours are required in both jobs. Burnout is common.Set boundaries when needed. Take time off. Build support systems.
Technology DisruptionEmerging tech like AI threatens job redundancy.Continuously update skills. FDiscover innovative methods to enhance worth utilizing technology.

Which One Can You Choose: “Equity Research vs. Investment Banking”?

The big choice is between equity research or investment banking. Both are solid gigs in finance with big paychecks. But they ain’t the same.

Equity research means digging into companies and industries as an analyst. You’ll run numbers, build models, and write reports recommending investing in specific stocks. The hours tend to be chill compared to banking.

Investment banking is all about advising clients on major deals and transactions. You’ll be structuring mergers, IPOs, and all that jazz. It’s fast-paced with crazy hours when live deals drop. You’ll learn a ton about valuation, deals, and client relationships.

So research lets you nerd out analyzing companies and markets. Banking is dealmaking and client schmoozing round the clock. Both can make you big bucks and lead to prime leadership roles.

There’s no “right pick” here. Gotta follow your talents and interests, ya know? Research if you want a good work-life balance. Banking if you have the hustle and won’t mind losing sleep when deals heat up. Both are solid choices if finance is your thing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What career path offers a higher earning potential, equity research or investment banking?

Investment banking usually pays more because of the big bonuses and fees from completed deals. But equity researchers can also make good money if they’re known for smart stock picks.

Which role requires more specialized skills, equity research or investment banking?

They need different skills. Equity researchers must analyze companies, build financial models, and understand industries. Investment bankers need top-notch communication skills, the ability to structure deals, and knowledge of corporate finance inside-out.

How do equity research and investment banking contribute to the overall functioning of financial markets?

Both roles help markets work better. Equity research provides useful info and analysis so investors can make informed decisions. Investment banking helps companies raise money and do deals, fueling economic growth

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