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Position: 
Senior Research Analyst - Fixed Income/Municipals
Location: 
Washington, DC (Permanent Remote Position)
Organization Name: 
Activest
Job Category: 

About the Organization

Activest is a leading voice for fiscal justice, which is our intersectional approach to fiscal health and racial justice. We believe that communities that treat their residents fairly realize stronger fiscal outcomes. Our approach blends economic modeling, financial analysis, and social-policy research to advance racial justice in municipal finance.
 
We are a Black-owned and led firm founded in 2016. Over the past five years, we have honed our approach by working with cities, activists, and investors. In 2018, we developed a bondholder engagement strategy, supporting organizations like ACRE campaigns in a City of Chicago campaign to mobilize municipal investors to pressure the City to stop using proceeds from the bonds to cover police-brutality settlements. Last year, we announced a new municipal finance investing strategy focusing on purchasing bonds in majority Black communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In September 2020, we worked with Bloomberg Philanthropies, advising twenty-nine city mayors and budget directors on their equitable COVID-19 fiscal recovery efforts. In 2021 we announced the launch of the world’s first Fiscal Justice Credit Rating Agency, which works to expose municipal bond ratings, regarded as neutral evaluations of city financial performance, as heavily biased in favor of many of the most risk-filled, unjust, and costly municipal practices. In place of this, this Agency will quantify the racial-justice risks in municipal budgets, policy, and decision-making.
 

Position Description

The Senior Research Analyst Fixed Income/Municipals will be a core member of Activest’s leadership team conducting research and analysis, helping drive the growth of Activest’s municipal credit rating agency and advocacy efforts to accelerate our fiscal justice efforts throughout the country. We are looking for someone who has experience working with large data sets, conducting statistical and credit analysis, and supporting the development of new product lines. The Activest team is small but collaborative; thus, we are looking for a person who can thrive in a semi-structured setting. While our team is small at the moment, we also plan to grow the organization, so experience building and managing teams from the ground up is preferred.
 
Data Analysis
  • Curate novel datasets, extract, clean and process datasets
  • Contribute to design and maintenance of database
  • Manage relationships and process for community-sourced data integration
  • Perform analysis and modeling of data
  • Contribute to white papers and publications from concept to delivery
Credit Analysis
  • Leading credit research and analysis on municipal issuers and individual bonds
  • Assigning credit ratings based on Activest unique datasets (public and data from our advocacy partners) and traditional credit research
Data and Credit Methodology
  • Identify and track fiscal justice metrics and measure for materiality and impact.
  • Play a central role in contributing to the development of our rating methodology and the testing/incorporation of new research
  • Lead credit analysis processes including conducting detailed topic and issue analysis, performing due diligence, preparing credit analysis memos and recommendations.

Qualifications

Skills and Experience
  • 5+ years of experience in credit analysis and research, either in industry or academia
  • Experience building and managing programs and teams
  • Proficiency with scientific computing in an interpreted language for data analysis such as Python, SQL, or C++
  • Ability to use, recommend and implement data visualization and/or mapping tools
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to effectively communicate complex, technical issues to non-expert audiences
  • Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Self-starter, autonomous, and responsible – must be able to meet deadlines
  • Comfortable in a fast-paced environment and able to juggle multiple deadlines
Mindset
  • Deep personal and professional understanding of intersectionality and equity and how these play out with clients and communities.
  • Demonstrated commitment to social and racial justice issues and building the power of communities
  • Genuine excitement for municipal policy, local government research, and public sector innovation
  • Comfort in operating with a high level of independence and efficiency, coupled with a desire to be a part of a high-performing team.
  • Ability to tolerate significant ambiguity and create clarity as projects progress
  • Willingness to travel. Please note that Activest is maintaining a 100% remote work environment through at least December 31, 2021, due to COVID.

Compensation

Activest is an organization that is committed to equity, and as part of our process, we have set salaries based on industry data, which factor in stage, company size, job classification, experience, and skillset to ensure that we are providing the fairest salary for each role. We do this because research shows that negotiations often result in arbitrary differences in pay, not based on ability but based on who is better at negotiating, which can have an adverse impact on people from underrepresented groups. We prefer instead to be transparent about the amount we believe is fair for the role and our framework for selecting it.
 
Salary
$125,000 - $175,000, commensurate with experience
 
Medical/Vision/Dental
We offer a comprehensive employee benefits package including 100% paid health, dental, and vision for full-time employees. We have an unlimited vacation policy--work hard and take time when you need it. We recommend taking off six to eight weeks per year.
 

Application Instructions

  1. Submit your resume and cover letter.
  2. If your background is a match for the role, you will be invited to a video interview with 1 to 2 of our team members.
  3. If you progress in the process, you will complete a performance assignment that gives you a good sense of the day-to-day work and gives us a sense of your skills, problem-solving abilities, and creativity. We are offering $100 compensation for your time and efforts in this assignment.
  4. A final video interview with our team will be held where we will discuss the performance assignment and learn more about your background, experience, and interests.
  5. Offers are sent out.
Cover Letter Instructions
Required:
  • Why Activest, why now, and why you?
Pick 1 to 2 of the following:
  • Address how you have grown in your understanding of racial justice in your current work, extracurriculars, or personal experiences.
  • Share a few examples of what you’re passionate about, how you have translated that passion into action.
  • Tell us about a time you have taken a risk or taken bold action, even if it created conflict, in the pursuit of racial justice.
  • When applying, please DO NOT include any of the following information with your job application: Social Security number; driver's license number or state-issued identification card number; financial account number, or credit or debit card number.
When applying, please DO NOT include any of the following information with your job application: Social Security number; driver's license number or state-issued identification card number; financial account number, or credit or debit card number.
 

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