Credit Analyst - is CFA right for me?

Hi, First a bit of background… I currently work as a credit analyst for a small international bank in London. I currently look at mostly financial institutions and some corporates, typically in emerging markets. I have an undergraduate degree in a non-financial discipline but have passed the ACIB Bsc Financial Services. I’ve worked in corporate banking for about 7 years mostly in the relationship management both in the UK and Australia. This is the first ‘pure’ credit role I’ve had and I’m quite enjoying myself (so far!) I’d like to progress up the career ladder and move into looking at more complex corporate deals at a larger bank with the ultimate aim of perhaps doing syndicated deal origination. I have time on my hands as my current role is not too demanding time-wise and I’m thinking of taking the June 07 CFA Level 1 exam. I have a few questions about it and would appreciate any opinions anybody here has. 1. I’m in London and intend to work either here or in the Far East - is CFA suitable or is it more geared toward the US market? 2. I never have been involved in equities, bonds, portfolio management or securities analysis and I don’t really intend to go in that direction (although you never know). As a help to a career in corporate credit analysis is CFA worth the time / effort ? 3. I have a degree in Financial Services (‘just’ the ACIB mind you) and a fair bit of experience in corporate and FI analysis - question for UK graduates…where would you place the CFA in terms of level of difficulty? At the moment I’m 75% convinved but it’s unlikely my current employers will throw in any cash so I want to be pretty certain before signing up. Thanks in advance.

The CFA is very relevant to a credit analyst, and you should have a fundamental understanding of bonds and equities to be a superior credit analyst, IMHO.

  1. The CFA is world recognized. Its one of the benefits of the Charter. 2. Yes. 3. Harder than anything you’ve done before. (by harder, i mean in terms of time & effort to pass, not necessarily subject matter)

I work as a credit analyst, mostly doing syndicated deals (in the U.S.). I’ve passed all three levels of the CFA program and I can’t even begin to describe how much studying and passing those exams has helped in my current role. I say go for it.

I don’t think as a Corporate Credit Analyst requires one to complete a CFA. Perhaps you should look into an MBA due to nature of Corporate Credit Analysis. If you have accounting, statistics and economics background that should suffice. Scenario analysis, little modeling knowledge and understanding financial statements are some of the key spects of your job. However if you intend pursuing credit research analysis esp within Investment Management ( buyside or sellside) its worth pursuing CFA. The nature of the job requires familiarity with certain aspects of portfolio management. Bulk of work would be providing research (bond/credit) notes to porfolio managers/traders assisting in making informed decisions about trading credit products.