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Got a warning from CFA Institute for using the CFA Designation (need advice)

Hey all,

I recently got a warning e-mail from the CFA Institute for using the CFA designation without being a paid member. Some important facts to consider:

1) I mentioned “CFA Charterholder (2013-2015)” under the education tab in my LinkedIn profile

2) I NEVER used the CFA designation (my name, CFA) in any form be it LinkedIn profile, research reports or visiting cards as I feel it’s like showing off.

My only question is does point #1 warrant a warning? I already removed that fact from my LinkedIn profile as a precaution.

PS: I got my charter in Dec2016 and I paid for 1 year’s membership only to get the physical copy of the charter.

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Financial Planner
BBA (Finance & International Business) 1998,
MBA (With a Global Perspective) 2011,
ChFC 2018, Completed CLU program 11/30/18
Owns an Independent RIA/Insurance Agency
Series 65, Life, Annuities, Health (Expired 6,63)

How much is the membership fee?

#275dolla

Ask CFA® Institute what to do.

I do not ask for the trust nor give it to you.

Hard to believe that CFAI will send you a warming out-of-blue without any kind of basis.  Pay your dues.

How/why were you listing that you were a CFA Charterholder from 2013-2015 if you received your charter in 2016? That’s probably what triggered the warning but I would doubt CFAI has people roaming LinkedIn profiles and checking, maybe someone tipped them off?

bazz

@WS

I never liked the concept of using CFA after my name (I never used it on my reports, email, linkedin, visiting cards etc…). One of my colleagues also got a similar warning at the same time I did (he’s an investment banker at a large bank) so I’m guessing it’s not out of the blue

I even emailed CFAI asking them about the source of violation and still waiting for the reply (been 3 days)

@bazz

I actually was updating my LinkedIn as I was passing exams. I listed CFA level 1 pass (2013) under education, then changed it to CFA level 2 pass (2013-2014), then Level 3 pass (2013-2015), then charter holder (2013-2015). 

Me listing CFA Charterholder (2013-2015) may have been the issue; however the e-mail explicitly states I was using the CFA designation. 

Also, I’m not sure if CFAI was tipped off as one of my ex-colleagues who works in a different country also got the same email at the same day so I think CFAI is only focusing on past members who haven’t paid their dues recently.

Isn’t saying you’re a charterholder using the designation?

Hard Dollars wrote:

@WS

I never liked the concept of using CFA after my name (I never used it on my reports, email, linkedin, visiting cards etc…). One of my colleagues also got a similar warning at the same time I did (he’s an investment banker at a large bank) so I’m guessing it’s not out of the blue

I even emailed CFAI asking them about the source of violation and still waiting for the reply (been 3 days)

Again, CFAI doesn’t give a rats-*ss if you like or dislike putting CFA after your name…they care about protecting the brand and collecting the fees/dues.  Doesn’t matter how they find your violation (they have social media spies or somebody tipped them off).  Again, this is a warming, probably just asking you to stop whatever violation you committed.

Because you were not a Charterholder in 2013 and 2014. 

Go to your member profile on CFA Institute’s website, or use the member directory to look yourself up, and there should be the exact month, date, and year on which your charter was awarded. Use that date (e.g. CFA Charterholder, Oct 2015-present). If you have not paid the membership fees, you might have to explicitly state that your member has lapsed.

I no longer work in finance and at one point my membership lapsed. I didn’t put anything related to CFA on my resume (switched to an entirely different field). I started paying my membership as a retired member ($100), and I list that on linkedin only. 

@CFA_06 I actually got a reply from CFAI along the lines of

“Thank you for providing information, we have looked into it and consider your matter resolved”.

I’m guessing it was a misunderstanding on their part. 

Maybe if you’re too cheap to pay your annual dues you could legally change your name to “[surname], CFA”? 

You can thank me later for this genius idea.

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CEO10K-DAY wrote:

Maybe if you’re too cheap to pay your annual dues you could legally change your name to “[surname], CFA”? 

You can thank me later for this genius idea.

I’m my country, the annual dues are 2.5 months worth of minimum wage so basically 20.8% of your annual salary!!!

If we consider the transaction cost of foreign currency payment (USD), it can reach as high as 3 months minimum wage (25%)

Hard Dollars wrote:

CEO10K-DAY wrote:

Maybe if you’re too cheap to pay your annual dues you could legally change your name to “[surname], CFA”? 

You can thank me later for this genius idea.

I’m my country, the annual dues are 2.5 months worth of minimum wage so basically 20.8% of your annual salary!!!

If we consider the transaction cost of foreign currency payment (USD), it can reach as high as 3 months minimum wage (25%)

So between study material and signing up for the exams, you paid a year worth of annual salary for each exam? I’m just curious whether this investment was worth it in your case?

bazz

you gotta pay to use those three letters. it is the rule. it’s in the Ethics section. 

I pay but I don’t show it in linkedin or even in my resume.  I do however write that i am a charterholder.

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

@bazz 

I’m just saying that’s the case in my country. Hell, I spend over $300/month just to feed my cats (have 9, don’t ask why or how…). As for whether it was worth my investment, I started as an equity research analyst, then became an investment banker, then a fund manager and I’m now focusing on private equity. I wouldn’t exactly say the curriculum taught me that much but it’s essentially (in my country) a pre-requisite for anyone looking joining my field of work.

@infinitybenzo
I know you gotta pay to use those 3 letters. I, however, never used those letters even when I was a paid member. For me, it just doesn’t feel right. Also, apparently according to some comments I received, you’re not even allowed so say you’re a Charter Holder if you don’t pay dues.

Hard Dollars wrote:

@infinitybenzo
 Also, apparently according to some comments I received, you’re not even allowed so say you’re a Charter Holder if you don’t pay dues.

It is not based on comments you have received, it is the CFAI rule

i think OP is trolling. 

Big Dreams Require Big Sacrifices - VWJETTY

VWJETTY wrote:

i think OP is trolling.

These are the email exchanges between myself and CFAI

https://imgur.com/a/tZ7esYR (orignal warning)

https://imgur.com/4CYxqvS (my response)

https://imgur.com/a/agdkzYB (CFAI Reply - no idea why they thought I re-activated my membership)

Also, the sarcastic tone in some of my comments were directed towards people insinuating cheapness among other things.

I don’t blame you for calling me a troll though; in this day and age, people are almost always considered guilty until proven innocent rather than it being the other way around

Hard Dollars wrote:
… in this day and age, people are almost always considered guilty until proven innocent rather than it being the other way around

You say that as if it’s supposed to be the other way round.

Simplify the complicated side; don't complify the simplicated side.

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