Quantitative Analyst vs. Financial Analyst

A quaint or quantitative analyst only uses statistical methods and applies mathematical methods to risk management and financial problems. Persons with careers in industrial mathematics and similar industries will fall into professionals. Financial analysts collect and analyze financial data and use their findings to help companies make business decisions.

What is a financial analyst?

A financial analyst represents a finance researcher who examines financial data and uses their findings to help companies make business decisions. Usually, a financial analyst is responsible for financial planning, analysis, and projection for companies and corporations, such as a company’s financial status and the predicted outcomes of a specific type of deal, gathering data, organizing information, analyzing results, and making forecasts.

Projections, recommendations, Excel models, reports, evaluate, interpret, and report vast volumes of complex financial data. They have academic backgrounds in finance, accounting, and business and are generally numbers-driven.

traders and analysts

A financial analyst is a professional whose role involves financial planning, analysis, and projections for businesses and corporations. They systematically scrutinize a company’s financial status and the potential outcomes of specific deals, enabling them to steer the company towards profitable ventures and avoid financially risky ones. Their work often involves collecting, organizing, and analyzing data, forecasting financial trends, and presenting these results in a digestible manner to company stakeholders.

A financial analyst is an indispensable player in the financial sector, serving as many corporations’ backbone and providing essential information to guide strategic decisions. They are primarily finance researchers who meticulously analyze financial data and utilize these insights to inform company operations and strategies.

Functions of a Financial Analyst

One of the primary duties of a financial analyst is creating projections. They are adept at reading the financial weather, so to speak, and predicting how certain decisions or circumstances might impact a company’s bottom line. They use specialized tools and their expertise to create robust and informative financial models, which help executives make informed decisions.

These professionals are also responsible for making recommendations. After evaluating a company’s financial information, they might suggest new investments or changes to the budget. Such guidance is often based on trends they’ve identified through their analysis, ensuring that their advice is data-driven and timely.

Another significant task they undertake is report generation. Financial analysts compile and interpret vast volumes of complex financial data to create comprehensive reports. These reports are often shared with company stakeholders, giving them a clear picture of the company’s financial health and helping them make informed business decisions.

Skills and Qualifications of a Financial Analyst

Financial analysts require a specific skill set and academic background to fulfill these responsibilities. Generally, they are educated in finance, accounting, and business. They may hold degrees in these fields and, in many cases, additional certifications like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

They are highly numbers-driven individuals with a knack for translating complex numerical data into practical business advice. Proficiency in tools such as Excel for financial modeling and data manipulation is necessary. Additionally, they must possess strong analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills. The latter is significant as they must explain their findings to individuals who may not have a finance background.

Now let us see:

What is a Quantitative Analyst?

Quantitative analysts or quantitative financial analysts or quant represent researchers who work in the financial sector using statistical and mathematical techniques to evaluate economic data and financial instruments. Usually, quantitative financial analysts develop and implement complex mathematical models and statistical methods for financial and risk management problems and to inform securities investing and equities investing pricing.

The average salary for Quantitative Financial Analyst is around $120K.

A quantitative analyst, frequently known as a quant, is a professional who applies mathematical and statistical methodologies to financial and risk management problems. These professionals specialize in developing and implementing complex mathematical models to evaluate economic data and inform decisions related to securities and equities investing.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Quantitative Analyst

Quantitative analysts work in various financial sector roles, including risk management, financial forecasting, algorithmic trading, and derivatives pricing. The core of their work lies in developing and refining mathematical models to analyze financial markets and predict future trends. They rely heavily on data analysis, employing advanced statistical techniques to understand and predict market behavior.

Risk management is another critical area where quants play a pivotal role. They apply their mathematical prowess to predict the potential risks involved in investment decisions, thereby helping to safeguard the financial health of businesses and corporations.

Additionally, quants are instrumental in securities and equities investing. They use their quantitative models to price financial assets and inform trading strategies. By generating accurate pricing models, they can guide investment decisions and contribute to maximizing the returns on these investments.

Skills and Qualifications of a Quantitative Analyst

The role of a quantitative analyst demands a unique set of skills and qualifications. Typically, quants hold advanced degrees in fields like mathematics, physics, computer science, or engineering, with many possessing a master’s or a doctorate. Some may also have degrees in finance or economics, supplemented with extensive knowledge of mathematical modeling and statistics.

Strong skills in computer programming are essential, given that quants often design and implement complex algorithmic trading systems. Familiarity with Python, R, C++, or Java is commonly required. Additionally, they need to deeply understand financial markets, financial instruments, and investment strategies.

A quant must also possess excellent analytical and problem-solving skills to effectively use statistical data to predict market trends and financial risks. Furthermore, strong communication skills are essential, as they often need to explain their complex findings to financial professionals without a quantitative background.

Financial Analyst vs. Quantitative Analyst

The difference between financial and quantitative analysts is that financial analysts are a general term for people who collect, monitor, and study data and are responsible for tracking a company’s financial performance against a plan, analyzing business performance and market conditions to create forecasts. Quantitative analysts are a specific term that refers to working only for companies that sell and trade financial securities. The quantitative analyst’s role at trading companies is to identify profitable trades, developing pricing strategies, and manage risk efficiently.

Five significant differences between Financial Analyst and Quantitative Analyst

  1. Scope of Work: Financial analysts have a broad role in collecting, monitoring, and studying data to track a company’s financial performance against a plan and create forecasts. In contrast, quantitative analysts specifically focus on identifying profitable trades, developing pricing strategies, and managing risk efficiently.
  2. Workplace: Financial analysts can work in various industries and companies, such as insurance, banking, or corporate finance, where they analyze financial data and market conditions. On the other hand, quantitative analysts typically work for trading companies that sell and trade financial securities.
  3. Role in Decision-Making: Financial analysts use their understanding of a company’s financial health and market conditions to help guide decision-making at all levels of the business. Quantitative analysts, meanwhile, use mathematical and statistical models to predict market behavior, identify potential trading opportunities, and manage financial risk.
  4. Specialization: Quantitative analysts are specialized professionals who apply mathematical and statistical techniques to financial problems. They are usually equipped with advanced mathematics, physics, or computer science degrees. In contrast, financial analysts have a more general financial background, often with finance, economics, or business degrees.
  5. Earning Potential: According to industry averages, quantitative analysts generally have a higher earning potential. On average, they earn around $120K annually, while financial analysts earn about $86K annually. However, these figures can vary based on location, company size, experience, and specific industry.

To summarize, the significant differences between Financial Analyst vs. Quantitative Financial  are:

  • Financial analysts can work for many companies collecting, monitoring, and studying data.
  • Quantitative analysts work for trading companies to identify profitable trades, develop pricing strategies, and manage risk efficiently.
  • Quantitative traders earn more money because they earn, on average, $120K annually, and financial analysts around $86K.

Do financial analysts make a lot of money? How much money does a financial analyst make?
Financial Analysts have an average salary of $86000 in 2023. The best-paid 25 percent made $120K that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $66K.

What is the quantitative analyst’s salary?
The average salary without the bonus for the quantitative analyst is around 120K annually. Some quantitative analysts have salaries of $250,000 or more, and when you add in bonuses, a quant likely could earn $500,000+ per year.

Compensation in finance tends to be very high, and quantitative analysis follows this trend. 45 It is common to find positions with posted salaries of $250,000 or more. When you add bonuses, a quant could earn $500,000+ per year.

The numerical method frequently used are:

Monte Carlo method- Although Monte Carlo simulation is also popular in risk management, it is used to solve partial differential equations.
The finite difference method- is used when solving partial differential equations—interpolation- is required for interpolating values from forward and spot interest rates curves and volatility smiles.
Ordinary least squares- In statistical regression analysis, it is used to estimate parameters
Bisection, Newton, and Secant methods- maxima, roots, and minima of functions (e.g., internal rate of return) are found using this method.

Quantitative analyst vs. data scientist

The main difference between a quantitative analyst and a data scientist are:

  • Data scientists acquire unstructured data sets and create prediction models, while quantitative analysts analyze them and use them to create tools and presentations.
  • The quantitative analyst identifies trends, develops data charges, and creates presentations visually, while data scientists conclude from data to answer complex questions.
  • Data scientist work is data engineering/cleanup/feature engineering, while quants are more research-oriented.


Financial Analyst in General Term

Generally, analysts are divided into ’sell-side and buy-side.’ A sell-side analyst’s work is sold to the buy-side organizations for money or other benefits; its employer does not use it to invest directly.
A buy-side analyst will work for a company that buys and holds stocks for itself, depending on what the analyst recommends; these analysts are fund managers.

The sell-side may be higher paid, more like a sales and marketing role. Some persons begin careers on the sell-side at large banks before moving to the buy-side at a fund. Research is regularly used as ’soft money and not sold directly; it is sometimes used instead of money when companies do business with preferred clients; and used to promote the companies that are being researched when the sell-side has an interest in them; it is used as a form of marketing and leads to conflicts of interests sometimes.
However, the buy side is sometimes considered more prestigious scholarly, and professional, even though the sell side can help people earn more.

Investors will buy, sell, or hold security at the end of the analyzed securities assessment after an analyst has provided a rating recommending an investment action. A ’sell-side“ (brokerage) analyst’s job includes writing reports or notes while the express opinions; this is not often required for the buy-side (investment firms) analysts. Analysts will routinely use technical chart analysis and tactical evaluation of the market environment, along with fundamental analysis principles.

In the early 2000s, there were legislative changes brought about by corporate scandals that made information gathering by analysts potentially illegal and challenging in many markets; one example of this is Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure) in the US, similar rules were adopted by other developed countries as well. However, analysts have obtained information by participating in public conference calls, asking managers direct questions, or studying public records and other company filings. They also gather information in meetings where small groups are, and they can interact with senior members of management teams. Investment banks, pension and mutual funds, hedge funds, securities firms, insurance companies, and other companies will employ financial analysts; they help companies or clients make investment decisions. Financial analysts do a Balance sheet analysis when they are employees of commercial lending entities.

They examine corollary data and audited financial statements so they can assess lending risks. In an investment bank or a stock brokerage house, they read company financial statements; they manage to determine a company’s value by analyzing sales, commodity prices, costs, expenses, and tax rates. They also value and project future earnings in many institutions. Financial analysts can meet with company managers and gain insight into their managerial effectiveness and prospects in institutions. They will study an entire industry; as they assess current trends in business practices, products, and industry competition, they monitor the economy to determine how it will affect companies’ earnings. They also stay informed about new regulations or policies that could affect the companies they work for.


Financial analysts use spreadsheets and statistical software packages to analyze financial data, develop forecasts, see financial modeling, and spot trends. They depend on their results to write reports and make presentations, and they also make recommendations to those who want to buy or sell a particular security or investment. Some senior analysts decide to buy or sell assets for companies or clients when they manage assets. Some analysts can use data to measure financial risks associated with making challenging investment decisions.

Financial analysts work in acquisition departments and mergers or take over of businesses. They may also present to prospective investors the benefits they can derive when investing in new companies. They will ensure that forms and written material necessary for compliance with Exchange Commission regulations and securities are complete and accurate. The Financial analysts in the investment banking departments of banking firms or securities will work in teams as they analyze companies’ prospects when they want to sell shares to the public for the first time. As there are both buy-side and sell-side analysts.

Financial analysts collect industry data from balance sheets and capital adequacy and income statements in the banking sector; they also handle mergers, acquisition history, and other finance-related news for their clients. They assist their clients in doing peer analysis when they standardize different companies’ data so it looks uninformed. They help their clients make the best decisions as they invest across regions. Abundant financial ratios calculated from collected data are also gathered from financial statements by them to read the company’s bottom line. Their job should not be confused with data entry, as it goes beyond that.

Other rating agencies employ other financial analysts called rating analysts; they evaluate businesses or governments and decide if they can find a way to repay their debt. A rating team will assign an evaluation to a company’s or government’s bonds based on their evaluation. Others are responsible for performing budget, cost, and credit analysis.
StarMine, owned by Thomson Reuters or Institutional Investor magazine, ranks analyst performance through various services.
Small companies with no analyst coverage underperformed by 0.7 percent, and those with analyst coverage outperformed peers by 2.5% when Numis did the research.

When companies fall outside or across multiple sectors, they are punished in analysts’ ratings. A 1999 paper by Ezra Zuckerman found this; Equity analysts divide securities by discrete sectors.

Quantitative Analyst in General Term

The original quantitative analysts were only concerned with risk management and derivative pricing; they were ’sell-side quants“connected to market-makers. There has been an expansion in the term’s meaning over many years. All the persons involved in all mathematics applications in finance, e.g., Statistical arbitrage, algorithmic trading, and electronic market-making, are on the buy side.

Quantitative analysis provides a vast employment source for persons with Ph.D. degrees in Mathematics and Physics; they often come from physics, engineering, and applied mathematics backgrounds and not economic-related fields. They might need extensive computer programming skills, C, C++, Java, R, MATLAB, Mathematica, Python, or a financial mathematics master’s degree.

Quantitative analysts use information from different mathematics forms: calculus developed around partial differential equations, linear algebra, statistics and probability, discrete mathematics, and econometrics. Some of those on the buy-side use machine learning sometimes. Many quantitative analysts are not trained in mainstream economics; they often depend on a mindset taken from the physical sciences. Quants apply mathematical skills they acquire from diverse fields such as engineering, physics, and mainstream economics. Their skills include linear algebra, advanced statistics, partial differential equations, and solutions. Those are based on numerical analysis.

A quantitative trader or a quantitative modeler is referred to as a Quant; they work to develop computer-based trading strategies that execute trades whenever the right market conditions are met to generate value based on statistical analysis. An advanced degree is sometimes required to qualify for a quantitative modeler or quantitative trader. The popular degrees are Ph.D. in mathematics, computer sciences, or physics. Financial Engineering and Quantitative/mathematical finance master’s degrees are increasingly required in these roles. Quants usually receive salaries. Quants sometimes use fast-paced algorithmic trading. Financial models can be used to determine the movement of economic factors, such as interest rates or security-based value.

An analyst is involved in many roles, from the lowest level financial employee to the senior employee in a fixed-income placement of companies and fundamental equity research. Analysts require an undergraduate degree in a related field. However, they must produce years of quality work and an MBA to rise to the analyst level.


Financial Analysts and Quantitative Analysts are both pivotal roles within the financial sector, but they serve distinct functions and require different skills.

In my opinion, in some companies, tasks can overlap between Financial Analysts and Quantitative Analysts, so it is hard to make distinguish. Each company has the right to change job roles, so we can see Quantitative Analysts doing the same jobs as Financial Analysts and vice versa.

With their broader perspective, financial analysts provide vital insights into a company’s financial health and performance. They play a critical role in guiding strategic decisions through their ability to analyze and interpret financial data, forecast trends, and advise on financial planning.

Quantitative analysts, on the other hand, are specialists in applying mathematical and statistical methodologies to complex financial problems. Their work is crucial to trading companies, where they employ their skills to identify profitable trades, develop sophisticated pricing strategies, and manage risk effectively.

While both roles require a strong understanding of finance and excellent analytical skills, quantitative analysts typically have a more mathematical and programming-oriented skillset, reflecting their specialized role.

Finally, the remuneration for these roles reflects their specialization and the complexity of their work, with quantitative analysts generally earning more than their financial analyst counterparts.

In conclusion, financial and quantitative analysts serve essential financial roles, but their focus, workplaces, qualifications, and earnings differ. These differences underscore the variety within the financial industry, with diverse roles catering to different skill sets and areas of expertise.



Igor has been a trader since 2007. Currently, Igor works for several prop trading companies. He is an expert in financial niche, long-term trading, and weekly technical levels. The primary field of Igor's research is the application of machine learning in algorithmic trading. Education: Computer Engineering and Ph.D. in machine learning. Igor regularly publishes trading-related videos on the Fxigor Youtube channel. To contact Igor write on: igor@forex.in.rs

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