"The Industry Gold Standard" - acceptable or misrepresentation of designation?

What do you guys think? Is it a violation for us to use such language when referring to the designation?

Am curious as that’s the language on the CFAI website:

49% passed the third and final exam to earn the industry gold standard CFA charter.

If not a violation, can I tell someone, “I’m a CFA charterholder, which is the gold standard in the investment industry”?

I certainly wouldn’t put it on a resume.

And who’s gonna ask you this? If the person doesn’t know what the CFA is, then they probably won’t differentiate it from the CFP. Telling them it’s the “gold standard” won’t mean anything to them, because CFP’s consider the CFP to be the gold standard.

if CFAI says it, you are free to use it.

I personally wouldn’t though

OH MY GOD, this is too embarrassing!

I would NEVER EVER try that hard, it sounds so tacky and honestly you aren’t writing a cheesy commercial, it’s your resume!!

It is not your job to advertise the CFA program, nor your university, nor the companies you work for…

Would you put down, “BCom from UCLA - ranked at Top 100 University at FORTUNE magazine 2008” or “Financial Analyst at Google - Employer of the Year for five consecutive years”…???

I didn’t ask because I thought anyone would actually use such language themselves - rather, I’m asking if the use of such language would be construed as a violation per the CFAI’s own code of ethics.

UCLA and Google are free to talk about themselves however they like, so I’m not sure what relevance your comment has. The CFAI on the other hand has made standards to which its members/candidates must adhere, and I’m wondering if such language used by a member could be seen as a violation of those standards.


Saying “CFA program improves your skills beyond all recognition” is OK.

Saying “I’ll give you returns of 25% per year” is not.

“Gold standard” is vague enough that it can mean you have better skills than people without CFA (excuse me, without the CFA-as-an-adjective charter- as-the-noun) and that’s on the border line but OK. You are not implying superior performance.

I’m pretty sure that’s not okay…

^ Why not?

Double post…

My interpretation is that the below-referenced standard precludes, or at least strongly discourages, the use of such language:

When referring to CFA Institute, CFA Institute membership, the CFA designation, or candidacy in the CFA Program, Members and Candidates must not misrepresent or exaggerate the meaning or implications of membership in CFA Institute, holding the CFA designation, or candidacy in the CFA Program.

“Beyond all recognition” is nearly ipso facto an exaggeration.

^ OK, tell CFAI they are violating their own ethics and let us know what they say.

I emailed GARP before to tell them about a mistake on their website, so I might actually do that. Was hoping to see if anyone else thought it may a bit of a “gray area”.

I might wait until after September 4 to avoid ruffling any feathers though haha…

What hapens on Sept 4? Do you get your charter?

Not sure if I’d consider it a misrepresentation, but frankly if someone told me that it was the “gold standard,” I think I would laugh. Great work experience and stock picking ability are the gold standard. If the CFA can help you be a better investor then sure it is worth something, but if it doesn’t help then I don’t see how it could be the gold standard for anything.

That’s apparently the “official date” we become charterholders (despite having “earned” it four weeks before), so yes.

“Harvard, the gold standard of college educations” Sounds stupid doesn’t it? Nope, just say, “I went to Harvard.” No explanation needed. “I’m a CFA Charterholder.” If they don’t know what that is, then you have no reason to talk to them.

I don’t think it is a violation, as the CFAI seem to say in their own marketing material, but it would sound really really gay coming out of someone. So please, do yourself a favor and do not ever say that in public.

I think that’s a bit harsh.

I agree with Numi that someone other than a CFAI representative saying “It’s the industry gold standard” would make me chuckle or retch a bit. For a CFAI representative I feel there is a little more wiggle room, since they are marketing their product and we benefit from someone out there saying that it’s a good thing.

Numi does forget that the industry is broader than just a bunch of stock pickers, though, even if it’s one of the flashier parts of the industry and the part he is in. Stock pickers do have a tendency to think the financial world revolves around them and them alone. Just as an example, the bond market is 4x larger than the stock market and if mismanaged will wreak far more havoc on the economy (via stocks, mortgages, interest rates, etc.) and a portfolio than a few badly picked stocks (because large bond portfolios tend to be benchmarked against liability streams). Then there is portfolio management, which asks the question of how much to have, rather than just what to have. You can have a bunch of well picked stocks, but if you don’t construct the portfolio right, one mistake can undo all the great work you did on the others.

I agree the CFA has very little to do with “stock picking,” so I don’t understand Numi’s point either. It seems to me the focus is on portfolio management, risk management, and promoting the proper functioning of capital markets.

“Stock picking” was the first thing that came to my mind, since that’s what I do every day. However, more broadly speaking I’m referring to security analysis, investing, and portfolio management. In fact, in your original post, you asked “I’m a CFA charterholder, which is the gold standard in the investment industry?” So while you say you don’t understand my point, I think you should. You can swap out my verbiage of “equity/stock” with “debt” or “derivatives” or some other instrument and ask experienced industry veterans if the reason they are where they are is because they earned the CFA or if it’s because of some other reason (i.e. being an exceptional creator of investment returns or having some other meaningful way to add value). I think it’s more likely that the “standard” for them is their ability to produce, not unlike what the purpose of any business entity is – to provide products/services of value and being remunerated in exchange for that value created. If the CFA is a vehicle that facilitates those things, then great, but if not, then it can’t be considered a “gold standard.”

In any case, I’m a senior analyst at a hedge fund, and I don’t work in risk management or accounting or wherever else the CFA may be useful. So, for all anybody knows, maybe I’m just being closed-minded and perhaps the CFA is the “gold standard” elsewhere? I guess it’s possible, but I have asked a number of my friends in these fields and they say it’s not. I can certainly tell you that if your question is whether it is the gold standard in the “investment industry,” my personal opinion is “no.”