How old were you when you first broke into finance?

True – the selection bias makes sense regarding the networking event. Granted it was the only one of its kind that I have attended but I see your point.

I dont know…maybe its the type of firms I’m interviewing at, but they all are interested in having interview candidates pursue the CFA program. In many cases, there are multiple charterholders at the firm and all respect the designation.

I think it’s just that most people in finance are in support roles. So, even if the sample is unbiased, you will still observe mostly non-FO people.

The other thing is that “the gold standard” in financial accreditation is a marketing slogan promoted by the CFA institute. As a charterholder myself, I don’t particularly mind it being percieved that way, and it is not entirely implausible: people do tend to think that - for portfolio managment - it is a very challenging and relevant designation (which is not to say that it covers everything, or that everything it covers is relevant in all roles).

I do think that the CFA does promote conservative portfolio management practices. Someone a few years back here pointed out a study that compared CFA only and MBA only portfolio managers. The conclusion was that there was no distinguishable difference in absolute performance, but that CFAs tended to run more conservative portfolios from a risk standpoint.

One of the things I have been pondering, but don’t have the data or time to test, is the sense that the best portfolio managers may not necessarily be the ones who are obvious. We go into environments that reward risktaking and those which punish it, and so the superstar returns that attract attention tend to be the ones that are outliers. And outliers may almost by definition be people who took crazy risks and happened to get lucky, or had one good call that put them on the map (Paulson? Whitney?). They may be competent (this is not an argument that all good returns portfolios are just luck), but it’s still difficult to tell if they are really great, or just riding on a particular trend that the market has decided to reward for a few years.

The ones who are good portfolio managers may be the ones who are consistently grinding out single hits and keep them coming in, over time learning how to turn singles into doubles, etc…

I’m not 100% sold on this, because I do think Buffet has talent, and I suspect that Jim Simmons actually has something real there, but I do think that the media has a tendencey to pump up as a genius whoever it is that has done well over the last 3 years, and the public has a tendency to just go ahead and believe them.

Whether or not that is the case, I think it is true that there are probably plenty of managers that are talented that go under the radar.

Your last sentence explains your first sentence. Those that don’t have it don’t think it’s important.

i m 23… have been working in compliance for a while… still havent managed to break into finance :frowning:

Hey man, I’m in a similar boat except I’m on the advisory side. I spoke to a few folks around the firm, and it seems like the the most “natural” progression is to work in one of those transaction and restructuring roles.

Went back to finish undergrad at a later age (state school). Broke into finance when I graduated at the age of 30. No CFA and no connections…built a network from scratch.

Career progression has been Back office -> MO -> sellside research -> buyside equity analyst.

Best of luck to all of you pursuing a job in finance.

Still feel I have yet to “break” into finance. Financial analyst for a consulting firm for 4 years on their operations side. Moving into pricing in January

Does a ER analyst job making $10 K a year count? (Thats right US$10K anually, meaning US$830 a month)

  • If yes, then: I was 23, no finance exp, having just graduated with a major in econ + CFA L1. I had to work for 3 months for free before they officially hired me and started paying me.

How do you live on $10K annually…in Argentina? (if that is where you are really from)

I guess hyper-inflation there helps you if your wages are denominated in USD but that still doesn’t sound too promising.

Yup, I live in Argentina, and my salary is linked to the illegal exchange rate. I live with my parents in a non-sexy part of buenos aires to save on rent, which is pretty far away from downtown. I spend 4 hours a day commuting, though it ain’t that bad - i got to pass both L1 and L2 CFA levels mostly thanks to my commuting study time :smiley:

And btw, inflation is a bitch! Not so much because of ppp (most wages are linked to inflation), but because of how high and volatile it is, making it impossibly hard is to plan long term. Try performing DCF on any company when inflation in the past 10 years has ranged between 20% and 40% a year. Luckily the few argentinian companies I cover are internationally diversified.