Chartered financial analyst (CFA)

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Nov 7, 2006 12:50 pm

I'm thinking about enrolling in a CFA school. Is anybody here a CFA? I'd like some information about which programs are good and which one's I should steer clear from. Thanks.

Nov 7, 2006 1:15 pm

I looked into it.  What I concluded is if you wish to actually work for a money management firm as a money manager (aka Eagle, Soverign, or for a mutual fund) then it makes sense to get it.


If you plan on advising less than institutional clients on estate planning, taxes, and be a BROKER of money management services, either by a third party or your firm (ex. ML's research and ideas versus your own), then go for the CFP, it will be more beneficial.


Nov 7, 2006 3:42 pm
BankFC:

I looked into it.  What I concluded is if you wish to actually work for a money management firm as a money manager (aka Eagle, Soverign, or for a mutual fund) then it makes sense to get it.


If you plan on advising less than institutional clients on estate planning, taxes, and be a BROKER of money management services, either by a third party or your firm (ex. ML's research and ideas versus your own), then go for the CFP, it will be more beneficial.




Thanks for the feedback. Once I get my current student loans paid off, I need to decide which direction I will go in from there. I was leaning towards getting a Masters, but maybe the CFA will be a better investment.

Nov 7, 2006 4:36 pm
BankFC:

I looked into it.  What I concluded is if you wish to actually work for a money management firm as a money manager (aka Eagle, Soverign, or for a mutual fund) then it makes sense to get it.


If you plan on advising less than institutional clients on estate planning, taxes, and be a BROKER of money management services, either by a third party or your firm (ex. ML's research and ideas versus your own), then go for the CFP, it will be more beneficial.




I completely agree.  If you want to move in a direction to where you are running institutional assets or mutual funds, the CFA is ideal and in most instances, a requirement.  If you stay on the retail side, go for the CFP.

Nov 7, 2006 8:16 pm

I got the designation a few years back.  It was very difficult,
especially Level II.  Go to the CFAinstitute websight.  It is
a very large undertaken and very, very formula heavy.  I have
found it so useful I cannot even stress it enough, but my business
takes me places where people look for it, plus I manage a few portfolio
models myself and use some of the knowledge.  More than anything,
though, it is a designation that carries weight and gets you respect
with large clients.



You can take a smaller version of it with the CIMA if you want useful
knowledge without the large committment.  Everyone in our business
that is serious should at least get the CFP tm.

Nov 7, 2006 8:47 pm

I hold the CFA charter. It was undoubtedly the most difficult thing I've ever done to work as a new broker and study for the exam. I hold an advanced degree in economics and found the material very challenging. One friend of mine in research has an MBA from Harvard and couldn't pass level 2.


I disagree with people who suggest that the designation is somehow inappropriate for private client advisors. About 50% of the material is appropriate for a financial advisor. The other 50% is good to know. The "private wealth management" component of the literature is, however, exclusively centered on the ultra high net worth client. The primary case study for the material on my level 3 exam was for a soccer player with $40 million.


Unfortunately, most brokers will not have the time, educational background or willingness to study that is required in order to earn it. It isn't much use to you if you don't have a practice to apply the material.


The CFA institute has prepared several brochures about how to select a financial advisor and why your advisor should be a CFA charterholder, and has expressed a desire to push more aggressively into the "retail space", so I think its something that people should consider.


Most of the HNW boutiques in our area are composed of CFA and CFP holders. I am currently preparing for the CFP in March (something I can take without the classes because of the CFA) and I find the curriculum very easy in comparison, but highly complimentary.

Nov 8, 2006 11:52 am

Wow, it sounds like a real challenge. Thank you for the feedback, gentlemen.

Nov 8, 2006 12:11 pm

I think the CFA designation is a mark of profesional diligence, a sign of intelligence, and a statement of ethical awareness. It has becoming an increasingly respected professional citation for anyone in our business. Want to stand out from the crowd? Get your CFA designation.


...another CFA holder

Nov 8, 2006 2:44 pm
Sailor25:

I think the CFA designation is a mark of profesional diligence, a sign of intelligence, and a statement of ethical awareness. It has becoming an increasingly respected professional citation for anyone in our business. Want to stand out from the crowd? Get your CFA designation.


...another CFA holder



I think the CFA Institute is a money making machine that adjusts the exam passing curve as they see fit and charges entirely too much for the exams and material. 



... a bitter CFA Level 1 Candiate, who failed the first time, and vows to never take it again.



I really do feel that way about the CFA Institute, however, I also agree with everyone else that the obtaining a CFA designation is a great step.



Chris

Nov 8, 2006 4:31 pm

I am a CFA Charterholder as well.  I swore by the Schweser Study Program (now Owned By Kaplan).  It is a very straightfoward presentation of the material.  I know many others who used Schweser and liked it.


FYI....If you are a CFA Charterholder you can "challenge" the CFP (sit for the exam without all of the qualifying exam hurdles).   Both have valuable information that would be applicable to your practice.  You'll likely use the CFP more heavily.