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CFA Charter: worth it?

DNW

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I'm looking into studying for CFA Charter. It takes quite a bit of commitment to get it. I have an interest in finance, and this probably wouldn't hurt my law career either. The curriculum is standardized, and I don't think I'll have any problem with its difficulty. The only real factor is time (well, money is a small one, too), so I want to make sure it's worth putting in the hundreds of hours required to pass all 3 levels.

For those of you who currently hold the Charter, has it helped your career? Any tips on how to study for it?
 

JoelF

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Definitely a key credential for a finance career, either on the banking or corporate side. If you're really going to practice law the utility of the credential is marginal. In terms of the substantive usefulness, it's purely rote study and probably stuff you can learn better in other ways.

As background - ex-attorney here who now works in finance. I started working on CFA level one, gave up basically from boredom. It would be good for me if I had it (or the FRM), maybe I'll get back to it someday.
 

Flambeur

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Well it would be worth it if you were involved somewhere in the investment/asset management industry. It's a huge commitment, but still the golden standard. The skillset goes beyond even a masters in finance. However, just for yourself, I don't think it's worth it. Also remember that you have to have 4 years of related experience (financial analysis/securities/econ/etc) to get your charter.
 

Flambeur

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Originally Posted by JoelF
Definitely a key credential for a finance career, either on the banking or corporate side. If you're really going to practice law the utility of the credential is marginal. In terms of the substantive usefulness, it's purely rote study and probably stuff you can learn better in other ways. As background - ex-attorney here who now works in finance. I started working on CFA level one, gave up basically from boredom. It would be good for me if I had it (or the FRM), maybe I'll get back to it someday.
Level II and PRM (the rogue splitoff from FRM) candidate here, potentially CAIA too. None of that really helps now though
 

haganah

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Originally Posted by DarkNWorn
I'm looking into studying for CFA Charter. It takes quite a bit of commitment to get it. I have an interest in finance, and this probably wouldn't hurt my law career either. The curriculum is standardized, and I don't think I'll have any problem with its difficulty. The only real factor is time (well, money is a small one, too), so I want to make sure it's worth putting in the hundreds of hours required to pass all 3 levels. For those of you who currently hold the Charter, has it helped your career? Any tips on how to study for it?
And you do realize you need finance experience to get the charter right?
Originally Posted by JoelF
Definitely a key credential for a finance career, either on the banking or corporate side.
Not really. It is beyond worthless when it comes to banking. I am not sure what "the corporate side" is.
 

DNW

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Originally Posted by haganah
And you do realize you need finance experience to get the charter right? Not really. It is beyond worthless when it comes to banking. I am not sure what "the corporate side" is.
Well, according to my research, their experience requirement is somewhat broad. I suspect, although I'm not sure, indirect finance experience (i.e. doing M&A or project finance deals) might apply.
 

Flambeur

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Originally Posted by DarkNWorn
I suspect, although I'm not sure, indirect finance experience (i.e. doing M&A or project finance deals) might apply.

I forgot the exact specific, but it does have to be full-time four years of experience, but M&A or project finance might be fine.
 

why

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My brother has it. It gives him an edge over other people when applying, but in terms of opening up new possibilities I doubt it.
 

why

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Originally Posted by whiteslashasian
All I know is that test is a beast and drains the soul out of you for the months you spend studying beforehand....

Yup.
 

Flambeur

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Originally Posted by whiteslashasian
All I know is that test is a beast and drains the soul out of you for the months you spend studying beforehand....

And it tricks you with every level progressively much harder.
 

puffdaddy

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I am not a CFA but I work in an area (equity research) where alot of my colleagues have it. Alot of our buy-side clients have it, as well.

I worked in banking before switching to research and I did not know of a single person who I worked with in banking who had it.

That said, I think the knowledge base is pretty good, but I echo the other posters who said it's a pretty big time commitment.
 

convexity

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Whether or not it's worth it depends on what you want to do and for how long you want to do it. If you want to manage money, I would say it's extremely useful, both as a credential as well as in providing knowledge. Given the current state of the market, who knows what will be useful or recognized in the future. In the end, I feel that this is a credential for a seasoned professional to enhance his skill set. I think there are far too many people who try and use the charter as a stepping stone or an alternative to an MBA.
Whoever said that it drains your soul was right on! And I think it's way harder now than when I did it (99-01).
 

why

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Originally Posted by Flambeur
And it tricks you with every level progressively much harder.

Supposedly level 2 is the hardest and level 3 ain't that bad.
 

JoelF

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Originally Posted by haganah
Not really. It is beyond worthless when it comes to banking. I am not sure what "the corporate side" is.

Ummm your knowledge is clearly vast. Last time I checked banks of various kinds still employed a couple of analysts, in areas like research, risk, trading, asset management, debt & equity finance, structuring etc. And many corporates also seem to have treasuries and finance functions where people work.
 

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