To CFA or not to CFA?

I’m going to break the trend and start a thread unrelated to the market’s crash and global meltdown…hopefully I can get some input from some of you working towards your CFA. I can’t make up my mind whether to commit to this program. I’m working as a “financial analyst” in the midwest doing FP&A type stuff…and really, I have to use my title loosely because I spend most of my time doing very simple work digging through access and excel files…very little time analyzing financials. I’m working in the manufacturing industry, and without any experience anywhere close to trading or portfolio management, it’s hard to assess whether I would enjoy working in those fields. Should I go through the CFA program? What value does it hold in corporate finance? Are 99% of CFAs moving to NYC and Boston to utilize their training? What do you guys think, is it worth it?

Are 99% of CFAs moving to NYC and Boston to utilize their training? No it was used to…Many CFAs are now moving to Mid-west. I know 3-4 IM companies are based in Denver, Colorado. These companies are moving to mid-wesr because they save money by not paying high rental fees. My cousin works for GS in chicago but now moving to Salt Lake city. He says that now he works less number of hours and have better life style as things are cheaper in Mid-west area. He recently bought a 4-bedroom house in Utah for 170K.

these recent market events have me questioning my own pursuit as well. as a level II candidate its at least gonna take another two -4 years to obtain the charter. what worries me most is this is not like an MD, JD, or CPA. its basically just a privatized license that has gained momentum in the investment industry. a CFA charrterholder is not guaranteed to land a job just because they are a CFA. maybe Joey can shed some light on the value of the charter or other AF posters that interview people for investment related positions.

The crashing stock market and unemployed wall street analysts do give me some worries about the CFA, but it’s not entirely overwhelming because I’m confident our markets will be coming back around in four or five years when I would be finishing up the charter. I do agree that it’s scary in only being recognized within the investments industry. I know plenty of accountants who have never heard of the CFA…but if it typically leads to good jobs and solid paychecks I can probably get over the fact that it’s not a qualification that gets a lot of notoriety. I guess another big question I’m trying to answer is the CFA’s worth in corporate finance type positions. And for that matter, why do people want to get into trading?

I’m very interested in hearing responses to this, too. I am an MBA with 7 years of accounting experience, and roughly 6 years of FP&A experience in a corporate environment. I am working toward LII in June, and trying to figure out the plan going forward after I complete the exams.

I’ve been thinking about this too. I think the price premium that the CFA commands may be coming down, but it’s still a valuable designation. In fact, the price premium could technically go UP to the extent that not having a CFA may mean that people won’t consider hiring you at all, particularly if you are young and don’t have an alternative track record to run on (I don’t think it will get that extreme, but it could move in that direction). But if you think about it, the CFA is a designation for investment management. For it to be useless, people are going to have to decide that they don’t need to have investments managed anymore. That just doesn’t pass the laugh test. Sure, some people are going to be wiped out 100% and therefore not have assets to be managed, but pension funds are still going to have obligations, insurance companies will have premiums to manage, endowments still need to manage assets, and anyone who hasn’t lost everything will be extremely eager to 1) make up what was lost, and 2) figure out how to protect themselves against further downturns. So I don’t see CFA losing its value. It’s just that average salaries and bonuses are likely to come down for everyone, so it won’t have quite as many dollar signs attached to it.

I don’t think you guys should pursue it :wink:

Try not to think of it just as a destination, but also as a journey. I’ve enjoyed the gained knowledge thus far (L2 Candidate) and hope that the knowledge may help me in my professional situation in the future. The CFA behind my name would be great, because it indicates that you are an ethical, hard working individual with a significant amount of financial knowledge. BUT if you have just somehow passed the exams without truly gaining/retaining the knowledge, I’d assume that the charter wouldn’t be worth that much to you. The charter may not get you a job (maybe, maybe not), but it can open some doors for you if you truly know the information. That’s why I try not to look at it just as a destination.

Hey alpha, are you located in portland, or?

<> I know unemployed JDs, you kidding me?

daj224 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > <> > > > I know unemployed JDs, you kidding me? just out of curiosity, are there a lot of unemployed CFAs anywhere? i would imagine in Toronto or maybe NY let me rephrase that: unemployed CFAs that are actively searching for a job and cant find one

SkipE99 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > > > just out of curiosity, are there a lot of > unemployed CFAs anywhere? i would imagine in > Toronto or maybe NY > > I keep hearing that there are a lot of CFA holders in NYC looking, but I suspect they will find something soon.

Do you think adding CPA to CFA will increase career prospects?

I know some CFAs are looking for jobs after Lehman debacle. I also know many CFAs who been working in IT for 10+ years and are looking for jobs in finance side. CFA doesn’t guarantee you a job. It is just for knowledge.

I know someone who has passed Level 3 and is still looking, but she recently moved to dubai with her husband…I think the job search is a little different over there.

stupid Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Do you think adding CPA to CFA will increase > career prospects? yes, but it is silly to think it guarantees anything. If you can layer a CPA on CFA, well, that is pretty money right there. you dont see it everyday and it opens up possibilities on the corp fin/CFO side, as well as asset mgmt/sell side area…

interesting debate…would like to see more posts on this thread

If there is any doubt that you want to pursue CFA before starting, there will be no doubt when you have worked a full day, come home and find that your gf has left you, you have gained 15 lbs, you drink 4 Red Bulls/day after work, and you have to study currency translation again because it just doesn’t make any sense.

^ why are we talking about daj224, Joey? :slight_smile: Even if I never get the charter due - since I’m planning to open up my own business - I think studying for the CFA exams simply for the knowledge is a great idea.

> just out of curiosity, are there a lot of > unemployed CFAs anywhere? i would imagine in > Toronto or maybe NY why Toronto or NY? are these two cities with most CFAs or something? if so, why *are* there so many CFAs in Toronto?? i figured there are lots more bigger cities out there with bigger financial districts… would moving out of these two cities add more value to one’s CFA charter perhaps lol