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Being heavily recruited, but I'm taking my CFA?

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Jun 16, 2013 10:20 am

Greetings earthlings,

I am a bit of a nerd and slightly OCD. I started receiving emails when I got over 500 contacts on Linkedin and posted my financial resume on monster. I don't exactly know what I was hoping for, but I started receiving recruitment messages from places like Ameriprise.

As is my way, I launched into full nerd mode and started researching the company. I am still in that phase now. It has only been 2 days. The person that called me, assured me that everything that was written in the recruitment email was correct:

they pay a base salary while you study they pay for your series 7 and 66

This sounds fantastic right now, because I am living off of my savings and what little i get from my internet business [next to nothing]  But then I got the bright idea to look around, at other similar companies. This info seems to be buried deep on the interwebs, as no one person will ever give more than a cursory, "don't go with company XYZ because they are terrible." [not very helpful] [if you could suggest other companies that would help]

I am studying for the CFA. I will be taking it this December. I was not really focused on FP, but it seems in the same ballpark? While as an analyst, I wouldn't be required to sell anything, I am no stranger to selling, being as I have had several small time jobs in retail, always being named cog fo the month, by whatever store. [but i'm not bitter at having had those jobs] [no, definitely not bitter.] I even did door to door at one point [make that 2 points, or even 3] [this was before the Bush administration, and people actually could afford to keep the wife at home]

Anyway, there's a question here somewhere.

Is a FP beneath me? Since I'm studying for my CFA, it seems a step down, no? My end goal is CFO / portfolio manager, not insurance salesman. [now, I ONLY say this, because a guy posted with my same qualifications posted a similar question on a forum and everyone told him to go live with the beautiful people on wallstree.]

However, that being said, I need an "approved job", in an advisory position as one of the qualifications to GET my CFA, and have it for 4 years. So then the question is, if the answer if FP is not where I should be, how the heck do I break into finance? Literally, I belong to no less than 5 study groups and all 600 people keep asking that very question. [it's like a catch 22, to get a CFA you have to be in finance. to get in a good finance job, you should have a CFA.]

Jun 23, 2013 10:04 pm

Who is giving you career direction, a muppet baby? Unless you are a CPA, you have at best a 20% chance at passing the CFA Level I test the first time you take it and then you can start discussing the next levels. So make some level of progress towards becoming a CFA before you start running around saying that being a financial planner is beneath you.

It is not a catch 22 that you need a CFA to work in finance, but its definitely a credential to have. The real catch 22 is that you need a Series 7 & 63,65,66 to work in wealth management. The probability of a reputable firm hiring you when you appear to be unemployed is very minimal. This is an incredibly competitive industry and I can’t see a firm giving someone who isn’t working because they are studying for the CFA full time an offer. Given that a CFA is a professional designation, it is expected that a candidate be employed full time, exceed expectations in that role and studying in their spare time.

Finally many advisors are top tier wealth management firms have the CFA designation.

Jun 23, 2013 11:46 pm

Hmmm, I think your reading was a bit off. I had to reread my post to make sure I didn’t say what you said. I stated that a guy with my same exact qualifications posted on a FP forum “should i go for FP or just continue studying my CFA” and at least 20 different people told him to ignore FP recruitment."

Also, everything is relative. I often downplay what I have. But, understand, I own my own business. I have several online businesses. They keep me going, along with my stock trading, so much so, I haven’t worked for another human in 5 years. I file 1099 taxes each year and have company tax id, the whole 9 yards. I am legit.

UPDATE: when asking around for a “junior” financial analyst position, I was told, with my resume, I shouldn’t be applying for a junior position.

Finally, while it’s great top FP have a CFA designation, it doesn’t mean that a CFA candidate should be an FP.

I came here, because posting on the other forums I would get the same, response, that I should just concentrate on CFA.

I never said I thought FP was beneath me. In fact, now that I remember, on this forum they alluded to some animosity between financial analysts and FP.

The crux of the argument was that an analyst has unlimited potential for money and growth, all the way up to CFO, while an FP only deals with a limited amount of direct clients, and while they might work their way to a staggering $250,000/yr they’re not pulling in millions like a portfolio manager / CFO.

This is what I have read, been told, seen. This is not what I think nor know.

I’m trying to see what is fact, and what is fiction.

Jun 25, 2013 1:36 am

If you’re offered an analyst position that will oneday pay you $250k to do financial planning and no selling, take it. Seems very unlikely, especially at Ameriprise but what do i know… Also, something to note: most large firms will not allow you to continue to work your other businesses if they are paying you a decent salary. Also get used to duplicate trading statements getting reviewed. I don’t know if they will have a problem with the day trading you say you are doing.

Jun 25, 2013 1:40 am

This is an incredibly competitive industry and I can’t see a firm giving someone who isn’t working because they are studying for the CFA full time an offer.


Jun 26, 2013 12:19 am

So if you have all these businesses shakaama, why do you want to spend all this time becoming a CFA to be a portfolio manager? I am sure you could ultimately attain a better return on your investment if you have a succcessful small business than you would as a portfolio manager.

Jun 26, 2013 1:56 am


not to downplay your comment, but surely you know portfolio managers, who manage billions in assets make quite a bit of money. I don’t know if you were being serious. I’m going to assume you were just playing around.

Jun 26, 2013 1:58 am

I notice all the answers so far seem to have a negative tone to them, none of which seem to stay on topic. Is there a reason for this?

Jun 26, 2013 3:09 am

The answers are not of a negative tone. Rather, I am curious as to how anyone on this forum (myself included) will acquire billions of dollars to manage. I find that a lot of people who become financial advisors have an entreprenurial spirit. So if you are already an entreprenuer, why would you want to deal with all of the red tape in this industry when you could just run your own business.

Additionally, the passing statistics for the CFA are not particularly high. That being said, I am curious as to why anyone would put their life on hold in order to acquire the credential, when they aren’t even completing one of the components required to for the designation; four years of work experience.

Jun 26, 2013 8:23 am

I find working for myself to be the hardest thing, I’ve ever done in my life, this includes everything i did artistically, which included being up at 4am till midnight, military training, flying airplanes, every sport, helping build houses, web programing, and on and on.

I actually thrive in a corporate environment, because I know exactly what they want, and how to push their little buttons to make them go. Starving one month and the next month living on cloud 9 is the pits for me. Having a fantastic meeting one month and then another month meeting with potential partners that literally insult me the entire meeting, is not for me.

Doing everything myself, with no support, everyone wanting their hand out, everything I want to do requiring more investment, running into brick walls, running into license issues, tax requiprements, SEC blocking my expansion… shall I continue?

I might as well talk to the same exact people I’m talking to now, on someone else’s dime. I’m already talking to the state secretary, SEC, lawyers, city hall, IRS, etc… who all have their hand out and want me to fill out this, that and the other in triplicate, WITH filing fees, WITH a 8 week turn around time [ when my deadline is 3 weeks away ].

I think to myself, someone could pay me to do this stuff and at the end of the day, it actually isn’t my headache. I don’t have to wake up with headaches, hair falling out, eye ticks, can’t sleep, can’t eat. I can do research, analysis for someone else and they pay me, and I go home and sleep peacefully.

I can face a mugger, talk him out of mugging me and even chase after him. But, all my clients leaving me due to a turn in the market, or the economy and I fall apart.

I know working for myself sounded great at first, but … this stuff is just crazy. Yes, I keep at it, but… half the time, I’m scratching my head going, “what did I do to get $20,000 one month that i’m NOT doing now?”

If someone wants to pay me to determine if their loan, bond, stock, inventory is good… I’d be happy to do it.

Jul 10, 2013 9:04 pm


Lots of misinformation in this thread. First, being a retail advisor is just one type of qualifying experience toward the CFA charter. IBD, corpfin, ER, trading, PE, and even a lot of corporate development and investor relations roles qualify. You have probably seen this already, but you can read more here:

Experience that qualifies for the charter can be accrued before, during, or after you pass the examinations. Most entry-level finance jobs do not require you to be a charterholder or candidate.

Bigred is way off with his estimate of CFA pass rates. About 40% of candidates who sit for L1 pass. I passed with > 70 in all sections except FRA, and I am definitely not a CPA (hence the 50-70 FRA score).

I recommend making this thread at instead. Most of the readers on this board are rookie stockbrokers (I certainly was when I joined) and know very little about finance or the CFA program. There are some truly excellent salesmen who deserve a lot of respect. I failed as a stockbroker because I sucked at retail sales. But there is not a lot of finance knowledge here.

Hope that helps.