PTSD Charterholder career change

Having achieved the charterholder status, I was thrilled. Thought everything would come into place. Within one year of achieving that status, I realized I needed a career change and went into corporate finance (if you could call it that). I took a small pay cut and work for a great company. Has anyone else out there worked so hard to receive the charter and then change careers to realize all that hard work was useless? I didn’t think I’d feel like this, but I keep thinking I made a mistake. Just curious to hear any stories of people that went this route and how things turned out for you. Good choice? Bad choice? Thanks.

what were you doing before getting your charter? Ideally, a career in asset management is best after getting a CFA charter.

To make you feel better, I am a CFA charterholder and unemployed!

^ You should consider moving.

I am planning to do the CFA and be in corp finance. i dont think it is a waste or ‘useless’ as you call it. It will provide you with valuable information, especially as you climb the corporate finance ranks imo and perhaps even more importantly, give you the confidence that you have the discipline and intelligence to succeed in whatever endeavor you choose to undertake.

They won’t fare in Corp Fin. Corp Fin is dead simple. You just have to be willing to take shit and put in the hours. Nothing esoteric about it. Honestly, they would rather you have experience working for a frequent client than have a CFA.

I am teaching at a Boys and Girls’ club of America, as a volunteer tutor, love it, but definitely not charter related.

What does a corporate finance position at a public company usually entail? I mean, what type of work is expected on a day to day basis?

Yes, I finished the program only to realize it’s totally useless. Take heart though, MBAs are also useless as are most undergrad degrees.

M&A, forecasting, investor relations, rating agency relations, liquidity management, equity/debt placements, risk management. All of these are finance functions at a corporate.

I never thought about the investor/ratings agency relationships…interesting

sounds pretty fun

^ Some days it is, some days its painful and boring. If you can make it to the top or near the top though, the pay per hour is unrivaled.

So I have the charter and about 5 years in asset management (Fund of funds). What I can tell you is that the charter has not helped in any way, shape, or form in my job search. Can’t even get me an interview at hacksaw jobs that still would qualify as investment management. The network value is marginal; most people you email via the directory will either ignore you or write less than 2 sentences. If you go to an event, you can talk to some interesting people , but in general it’s not useful for getting a job or advice. Perhaps in an environment with a lot of hiring, this would be more beneficial, but I’ve yet to talk to anyone who worked at, or knew of, a firm that was hiring for good jobs (not ops, fund accounting, etc…).

If you read most threads of this type, the vast majority of people who have the charter are negative on it. Why? Because in my mind there are only 2 reasons to get it: 1) make more money 2) get a better job (including switching into investments). The CFA is shitty at both. I think the idea of big money was in part always a myth, because people who already were on career tracks for $$$ would get it, then you’d see the numbers in the CFAI salary surveys and come to the conclusion that if you got the CFA, you’d make the same money. These numbers were (are?) heavily promoted by Schweser et al to convince people to sign up and buy their products. I don’t think the CFAI has done another survey since 2006. Meanwhile the number of charterholders has exploded. I’ve seen a charterholder doing a webinar on how to use some lame Morningstar software. Despite the amount of effort required, it’s far from a golden ticket. I honestly think spending the 900 hours on networking would yield far better job results than adding the 3 letter after your name. And no, the CFA is not going to let you beat out a guy from Wharton.

Now you might try to make the argument that the information learned is the real value. Well if that’s the case then just buy someone’s old textbooks for cheap and read them. All the knowledge of the CFA for a fraction of the price, and you could even skip parts that weren’t relevant to what you want to do, like MBS, derivative pricing, etc… Don’t kid yourself, no one would be doing this just to learn the material, anymore than you’d get an MBA from Harvard then not list it on your resume. The goal is to spend 900 hours of your life to get access to a brand, so you can significantly further your career in asset management. I feel that the CFA is not capable of doing this. And I’d say about 90% of the charterholders have expressed similar sentiments in these types of threads.

world class rack > Top MBA > networking master > CFA > realtor > CPA

^ I would put networking master before Top MBA. A networking master is by definition the cream of the crop at networking out there.

IARdude, I think your analysis is spot on.

The only people I know of who really think the Charter definitely adds lots of value are people on this forum who are currently in the process of passing the test, or people on this forum who have already passed but don’t work in the industry. This is called cognitive dissonance. Also known as smoking a lot of hopeium. IARdude nailed it.

For those of you wondering why anyone who disrespects the Charter would still post here, believe me, it is only because of the dearth of viable Wall Street forums that some of us continue to post here, not because we value the Charter.

^ do you still pay the cfa dues>?

This year only. I stopped paying for several years and then resumed this year because it was a cheap call option on helping me raise assets. I doubt it helped. During a meeting with a $2B fund that invested $40mm with me we joked about how useless it is, so I guess it served as an ice breaker LOL! 800+ hours for a f’ing ice breaker, fml. I fully intend to stop paying the dues after this year and stop using the letters.

I probably won’t pay dues if I can’t find a job before the summer renewal, although they recently introduced a lower rate for the unemployed, which certainly isn’t a good sign of the charter’s benefit.

I think a lot of discontent has to due with the asset management sector in general. You basically have an industry that doesn’t need a lot of people because of scalability, tons of people wanting to enter, and a lot of barriers due to elitism. Now take all that and factor in that the majority of these (usually) elite/smart guys fail to add alpha, and in aggregate cannot mathematically add alpha (zero sum), then question if it’s really a sector you want to work in. If you managed to land a job in the industry after college, great, but I still wouldn’t study for the CFA because it won’t be a boost. If you worked in IT after college, do not study for the CFA because it won’t open enough doors to justify the effort.