A little guidance please! :)

Hi everyone, thanks for reading! I graduated with math & econ majors, and for the past 3 years, I’ve been working as an analyst in actuarial and banking environment. No finance experience whatsoever. I’m planning to swtich a direction of my career a bit and looking into finance jobs and CFA desgnation. My questions are, 1. When you get a job whose description says “CFA progress expected”, does that mean company pays for your exam, study manuals, online sample exams etc etc? ($1,000 is a lot of money to pay out of your own pocket!) 2. Will I have better luck finding a job after I pass level I exam, or I should just start looking already and telling them I am planning to sit for the exam (I’m thinking of sitting for December '08 exam since I do not have finance background and like to give myself plenty of time to study)? Any advice will be appreciated. :slight_smile:

  1. CFA progress expected doesn’t mean that the company will pay for your exam fees etc. Ask your manager about the company policy regarding continue education. (btw, $1000 isn’t a lot to pay out of your own pocket if you expect the charter will get you a $100,000+ job) 2. Telling people that you’re sitting for the next exam means nothing. Passing level 1 will be better but not by much.
  1. Progressed doesn’t mean they will absolutely pay for it but 95 times out of a 100 they probably will. In my experience if a firm values the designation then often times they will pay for their employees to earn it. 2. Passing Level 2 will usually get you more looks than simply passing Level 1. Level 1 is very easy because it is general. The trick with level 1 is there is a lot of material that you need to know. Any progress certainly won’t hurt your resume though.

Thank you both so much for the reply! :slight_smile: I will be sure to ask the company about their policy regarding tuition/exam fee reimbursement. Another question of mine is… If I buy manuals now, but sit for the exam in Dec '08, will there be a chance that they come up with new manuals? I like to start early since I don’t have any finance background, but I don’t know how fast they change/update the curriculum? Also, does company give you some kind of reward each level of CFA exam you pass? I’m just curious, cause for the actuarial exams, companies give you a raise/bonus for the each exam you pass. Thank you!

  • they will update the 2008 material so you’d have to buy new books for next year (dec 2007 is different from june 2008) - no reward for passing an exam. your reward is potential upward mobility/jumping to another firm for a better job

Actuarial exams are for actuaries only (generally speaking) and the career path is a lot more structured around the exams. The CFA exams are for a broader range of finance positions and so the career path is not as defined as you are used to. You’ll see people from risk, trading, compliance and of course research. you dont see as many employers giving time off to study for the CFA exams like a lot of insurance companies do for the actuarial exams. some companies might, but its not a given. there are a lot of threads on AF about the actuarial exams vs CFA exams. Do a search for more threads and you will probably find some good info/answers. http://www.analystforum.com/phorums/read.php?11,606165,606165#msg-606165

peony33 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Also, does company give you some kind of reward > each level of CFA exam you pass? I’m just curious, > cause for the actuarial exams, companies give you > a raise/bonus for the each exam you pass. 1 firm I worked at gave you $1000 for passing level 1, $2000 for level 2 ect. The buy-side firm I worded at in San Antonio had the sweetest deal which was a $5000 bonus plus a $5000 increase in your base salary for passing level 1, $10,000 for level 2, and $15,000 for level 3. However, if you didn’t start with the CFA you didn’t make all that much money there relative to what you could have made elsewhere outside of SA. I was fortunate to work at 2 firms where the do reward you for passing but like someone else said many firms do not reward you.

When you talk about a bonus for passing (i.e. $1,000 for L1), does that also include the employer paying for the CFA expense? Or did you have to pay for it out of your pocket? If the latter is the case, you would be $1,000+ in the hole for passing the exam!

Every place I have worked has offered to pay for qualified employees to tak ethe CFA and for their study material…One even paid to send you to one of the (useless) Schwesser Seminars.

I have a follow up to this topic. I have worked in back office for a small investment firm for 11 months. I know this position does not qualify for CFA Experience. Here is my two part question; I have a friend who is basically offering me a job at a bank’s corporate office doing financial/treasury analysis. He told me that this experience does qualify as many of the department employees are CFA candidates. 1. Would working in a traditional bank inhibit future progress into investment firms, HF, PM roles, etc? 2. He explained to me he needs this position filled fast. What is appropriate notice that I should give me current employer? Please Advise.

  1. no 2. 2 wks

Thank you all very much for the reply! :slight_smile:

I have one more question for you guys, billwest said they will update the 2008 material so I’d have to wait till next year to buy a new manual, but if I would like to start studying for the level I exam, what are my options? Try to get a hold of old manuals and start reading? I’d assume they wouldn’t change much, right? Are there any free online manuals I can d/l and print out? Thanks so much!

I just found out from past posts that you can get free ethics manuals online. I wonder if I found the right link? http://www.cfainstitute.org/memresources/education/reading/ser_related_readings.html Should I read all the articles for level I exam?

That page has links to useless stuff. The only ‘free’ thing on the CFA website that is 100% relevant is the Ethics Handbook, you will have to know this for all 3 levels. The GIPS manual is also relevant for lv1 (and 3?), but isn’t tested in very much detail. Your best bet is to order 2008 guides when they are available from third party vendors, as the June 2008 exam will have the same curriculum as the Dec 2008 exam. I think they are due out soon. Alternatively you can pick up a used set of books (ie, ebay or whatever) for cheap and start with that and read the CFAI books when you get them next year. Just a rough guess, but the curriculum is like 90%+ the same, they just move chapters around.

Thanks Aerius!! I’m a bit confused, cause I went to Schweser’s website and they already have study manuals ready for June 08 sitting, but everyone says it will be out soon. Am I looking at a wrong manual? Plz guide! http://www.schweser.com/products/products.php?category=NOTE