CFA Charter: worth it?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by DNW, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. RedScarf7

    RedScarf7 Senior member

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    Not to thread jack, but is the CFA Charter worth pursuing immediately after graduating from a finance undergrad or is it something to be pursued after establishing your career?
     
  2. suited

    suited Senior member

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    From what I hear, under 90% of most circumstances, it's not worth it.
     
  3. Invicta

    Invicta Senior member

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    First of all, to see what it will do to your social life see here.

    Right now there are so many jobless CFA's floating around that anything less than a Level III isn't going to get you noticed. In my experience the professional designations like CFA, FRM, CAIA, and CPB, are only worth it if you're really going to get an expanded skill set out of it. If your academic background is in Finance (either through MBA or an undergrad program) you probably don't need it as you are never going to get promoted just because you have it. If you were an electrical engineering major then it's probably a good idea. Also, if you are in buy-side investment management or sell-side S&T it will be more benifical than if you are a banker.

    To the person who wondered if it was worth persuing immediately after undergrad, it depends. It's definitely nice to put on an application to grad school, but the way I've had it explained to me is that if you want to manage people (iBanking, CorpFin, Consultants) get the MBA. If you want to manage money (Private Banking, Wealth Management, Buy-side, PropDesk, S&T, ect.) get the CFA.

    Oh and apparently is almost impossible to move into a senior position within equity research without the CFA.
     
  4. haganah

    haganah Senior member

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    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.
    Nobody that's a trader or works in research says they are in banking. Sorry. I guess according to your logic, the lady that dumps out my waste basket at night works in banking. Good one. If you're referring to corporations (never heard them called corporates), they do have treasury and finance groups, but I have never heard of anyone getting a CFA to advance in those groups or seen a job posting with a CFA mentioned.
     
  5. haganah

    haganah Senior member

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    Oh and apparently is almost impossible to move into a senior position within equity research without the CFA.
    I don't work in equity research or pretend I have, but I just printed a report from a large group and the senior analyst has no CFA and the junior analyst does. Take that for what it's worth [​IMG]
     
  6. why

    why Senior member

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    I don't work in equity research or pretend I have, but I just printed a report from a large group and the senior analyst has no CFA and the junior analyst does. Take that for what it's worth [​IMG]

    Yeah, but in corporate banking being black or gay matters more than having a CFA cert.

    At any rate, my brother manages people 10 years older than himself and works in financial research. Take that anecdote for what it's worth.
     
  7. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    Yeah, but in corporate banking being black or gay matters more than having a CFA cert.

    At any rate, my brother manages people 10 years older than himself and works in financial research. Take that anecdote for what it's worth.


    What about being a woman? [​IMG]

    The girlfriend is in Equity Research and recently took her level 1. I actually brushed up on some of my old finance, money and banking, and econ courses and helped her study. Those practice exams were no fucking joke. Ugh[​IMG]
     
  8. Invicta

    Invicta Senior member

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    I don't work in equity research or pretend I have, but I just printed a report from a large group and the senior analyst has no CFA and the junior analyst does. Take that for what it's worth [​IMG]

    Some of those senior analysts have been around forever, and they've been covering the same firms for 10+ years, so yes, in those cases the CFA doesn't matter at all if you have a long established relationship with the company. As you point out the Junior analyst does have it, and will most likely succeed the senior analyst when he/she retires/moves on/gets canned. Backed when I worked for a bulge bracket (all of 3 years ago now), I was told that you really should have the CFA to move up in Research but that it wasn't true in many other areas. Granted, I never worked in research this was just what I was told by other analysts who did.
     
  9. Trilby

    Trilby Senior member

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    In equity research, it's an important qualification. Outside of that, you occasionally see bankers doing it but it's unusual. As others have said, it's a huge amount of work.

    You mentioned it helping your legal career. Can't remember if you're a law student or if you're currently practicing -- but if you're still in law school, the CFA might actually be a negative in looking for a job. Law firms will think you aren't serious about doing law and that you'll quickly leave to go into finance.

    I don't work in equity research or pretend I have, but I just printed a report from a large group and the senior analyst has no CFA and the junior analyst does. Take that for what it's worth [​IMG]

    Bear in mind that the senior analyst sometimes has a heavy-duty background in the industry he covers, while the junior analyst has the more conventional B-School finance background. Might explain it. Also, the junior analyst might just be ambitious, while the senior guy doesn't need to prove himself by getting the CFA.
     
  10. vitaminc

    vitaminc Senior member

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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?


    Take it if you are a student. It's much easier to do any test taking while you are still in study mode.

    And if you want to go into sell-side equity research at all, complete at least level II. That will waive the NASD/FINRA series 86 test (or 87, forgot)

    Brute force. It's not too hard.

    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.


    Ya CFA is pretty common in research and portfolio management, especially those PM coming from the research side.

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

    The biggest hurdle is to find time studying while working 60+ hour weeks in research/pm. To make the matter worse, in research/pm people don't typically unwind after work so your mind is usually very occupied.

    I don't work in equity research or pretend I have, but I just printed a report from a large group and the senior analyst has no CFA and the junior analyst does. Take that for what it's worth [​IMG]

    In sell-side equity research, the associate/junior analysts do all the work just like how ibanking analysts spend all day writing pitch books.

    Chances are the junior guys need it more for upward mobility while the senior guys are set.
     
  11. cchen

    cchen Senior member

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    F

    if you want to manage people (iBanking, CorpFin, Consultants) get the MBA. If you want to manage money (Private Banking, Wealth Management, Buy-side, PropDesk, S&T, ect.) get the CFA.


    CFA is not needed for S&T/prop or private banking.
     
  12. Invicta

    Invicta Senior member

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    CFA is not needed for S&T/prop or private banking.

    The CFA isn't NEEDED to do anything in finance, performance is the ultimate qualification on the Street. Ranieri had a HS diploma and made millions.

    True, if you're going to be a Private Banker, you should take the CPB test, but a CFA can't hurt. As far as S&T/Prop, meh. If it increases your skill set allowing you to maximize your performance, why not?
     
  13. gnatty8

    gnatty8 Senior member

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    It's a credential. It will not hurt you, as long as you don't mind the brutal studying (don't fool yourself, these are not easy exams and require a shitload of study) you will need to do to pass.
     
  14. EL72

    EL72 Senior member

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    My wife is an IP lawyer (working as a VP in a copyright licensing firm). She had done no math since high school but is smart. She was on mat leave last year and took a great prep course for the level I CFA. She studied about 20 hrs/week and passed easily. She signed up for level II this year but when working full-time (+ three kids...), it's just too much work and she decided not to write it this year.

    It won't do anything for your career as a lawyer but can help you immensely if you want to acquire a very good basic understanding of finance - especially level I. If you are able to commit at least 20 hrs/week to it, then do it only if you feel there is a gap in your knowledge you want to fill, not to get the designation.
     
  15. DNW

    DNW Senior member

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    My wife is an IP lawyer (working as a VP in a copyright licensing firm). She had done no math since high school but is smart. She was on mat leave last year and took a great prep course for the level I CFA. She studied about 20 hrs/week and passed easily. She signed up for level II this year but when working full-time (+ three kids...), it's just too much work and she decided not to write it this year.

    It won't do anything for your career as a lawyer but can help you immensely if you want to acquire a very good basic understanding of finance - especially level I. If you are able to commit at least 20 hrs/week to it, then do it only if you feel there is a gap in your knowledge you want to fill, not to get the designation.


    Thanks. If I do it, it's for the finance knowledge and not for the designation. I want to get deeper with finance, but don't want to get an MBA.
     

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