08/26/2014

How to Recover from a CFA Exam Failure

CFA® candidates have to face the very real possibility of failure.

As the CFA exam is no ordinary exam, the high failure rates actually mean that there is significantly more disappointment than the average qualification. Also, CFA candidates tend to be overachievers - i.e., not used to failing. I had my own bittersweet experience in this once in Level IIso did others

So how should you adequately recover from not passing your CFA exams, and ensure you bounce back stronger than before?

Feel sorry for yourself for a while. 

It's normal and allowed, and you should go through this phase. You've put in a lot of effort, so it would be absurd if you weren't disappointed. Allow yourself a week or so to mope.

Pick yourself up, and realize that in the grand scheme of things this is just a blip in your path to greatdom.

Although the impact is devastating right now, eventually this will reduce to being a blip on your path in life. Thinking about the latter part will help you put this experience behind you and look forward.

A useful trick I've learnt is to think of yourself 10 years ago, and at that age, what crisis were you going through that made it seem like the world was ending. Chances are your 'crisis' 10 years ago seems very silly to you today. That's how you'll look back on today 10 years from now, so really, it's not a big deal.

Continue reading "How to Recover from a CFA Exam Failure" »


NYSSA-TV

08/25/2014

UBS Hires More Senior Coverage Bankers

EfinancialCareers

UBS has been shifting the senior ranks for its corporate client solutions teams in Europe, following the appointment of William Vereker at the helm of the division last year. The result has been a string of departures at managing director level and the movement of others within the organisation over the past few months.

However, UBS has also been hiring and the bank has brought in some more senior coverage bankers this month. Anthony Iofe, who only switched to Bank of America Merrill Lynch to head up its corporates and special situations group for Russia and CIS from Deutsche Bank in May 2013, joined UBS last week* in a similar position.

Continue reading "UBS Hires More Senior Coverage Bankers" »

Insights from a Career in Risk Management

Invest-nyssa

I’ve been in risk management for almost 20 years, first as a financial risk manager for a multinational company, then as a fixed income manager for a global pension fund.  Next, I worked as portfolio manager for a commodity risk and trading company.  Currently, I serve as a risk officer at a life insurance provider. 

Risk management in finance is a highly specialized role—even for a highly specialized industry.  But I do think that my experience has taught me some career management principles that are worth keeping in mind:   

Continue reading "Insights from a Career in Risk Management" »

08/20/2014

The Evolution of Value Investing: Past, Present, and Beyond

Considering the popularity of value investing, it is somewhat surprising that a paper recently published by Joseph Calandro in the Journal of Investing was the first formal attempt to categorize the development of this highly-effective and influential school of thought over time. The following article summarizes this categorization of value investing’s past and present and offers suggestions on what its future may hold.

Continue reading "The Evolution of Value Investing: Past, Present, and Beyond" »

08/18/2014

Book Review: Age of Ambition

Age-of-Ambition

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China may be the best of the recent books on China. Author Evan Osnos was the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker there, and his book is the record of an active journalist, "based on eight years of conversations." The resulting picture is of a large, dynamic country in the midst of rapid change, often in different directions. Osnos told the stories of individuals: some thriving in the system, others in deep trouble with political opposition, which gives a graphic feel for what it's like to strive and survive in China. We see practical realities ranging from how to bribe judges, to starting a Internet dating service.

Continue reading "Book Review: Age of Ambition" »

08/13/2014

Investment Management: Getting Your Foot in the Door

If you are contemplating career in investment management, you should know the winning formula to gain entrance – as well as what you can do if your skills and experiences aren’t exactly on point. I spoke with a number of hiring managers who, not surprisingly, told me that ideal formula is: 

Continue reading "Investment Management: Getting Your Foot in the Door" »

08/12/2014

Dominick & Dominick

The early 1900s were marked by steel and rail consolidations, a bull market, the Panic of 1907, securities investigations and re-regulation. This would all end by 1913 with the newly-created Federal Reserve and the death of J.P. Morgan. Historian Robert Sobel called this era, “The end of the Golden Age,” as Victorian bankers faded into the past.

Investment banking historian Vincent Carosso wrote, “Never again would they [bankers] be so free to conduct their affairs as they had been at the turn of the century, when J.P. Morgan presided over the securities industry. His death in Rome…proved to be far more of a dividing line in the history of American high finance than was generally acknowledged at the time.” All the while, D&D quietly involved itself in NYSE governance, developing its stock business and helping companies like International Nickel and American Bank Note distribute large blocks of stock.

As D&D headed into the 1920s, Bayard Dominick passed away and Bayard Dominick, Jr. took control of the firm. He surrounded himself with men like the well-connected Andrew V. Stout and the knowledgeable Major Barnard. When he retired in the mid-1920s, Stout took the reins of the firm. Along the way, Bernon Prentice had become an important driver of new business for D&D, and he made valuable connections to the DuPont family and William Durant, co-founder of General Motors.


Museum of American Finance


While securities trading was central to D&D’s business, it was also a private banking firm. Historian Susie Pak describes this world in her book, Gentlemen Bankers, saying, “A private banking partnership was not simply a job. It was an identity that required constant vigilance, a process or mode of becoming, that was fragile because of its dependence on relationships to others. If private banking was a way of life, a banker’s social ties were as much a statement of his identity and reputation as his economic associations.” In short, the senior partners at D&D gained their influence through their standing in the financial community, which allowed them to operate their style of business.

Continue reading "Dominick & Dominick" »

–Bart Ward is CEO of the Investment Advisory firm of Ward & Company, Ltd. Since 1993 he has written the weekly Wall Street history and market-oriented column, “The Corner.” He has his degree in history from UCLA.

08/11/2014

How to Market Your Self-Published Book: Lessons from My Experience

Financial-Blogging-book-by-Susan-Weiner

Your self-published book won’t sell itself. In my opinion, writing and publishing your book is only half the battle. It’s equally important to inform people about your book and its benefits for them. I used nine techniques to promote my book, Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients.

1. Plan ahead

I started planning my book’s marketing campaign when I thought my book’s publication was a few months in the future. In fact, due to glitches, my book was published more than a year later. The extra time helped me to prepare better, although I probably could have limped through my book launch with a shorter preparatory period.

One of the best things I did for my book marketing was signing up for my friend Sandy Beckwith’s book PR class, “Book Marketing 101 for Self Published Authors” class. Sandy also offers a class for authors who go with a traditional publisher. She also offers a self-paced, non-interactive version of her class instead of the more demanding, interactive version. I opted for the demanding version with homework assignments because I wanted the discipline of deadlines and the benefit of feedback on my assignments from Sandy and my fellow students.

Continue reading "How to Market Your Self-Published Book: Lessons from My Experience" »

08/05/2014

John Lennon Said It Best: “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed"

I was floored by this* Saturday’s New York Times article, “Seeing a Supersize Yacht as a Job Engine, Not a Self-Indulgence.”  I was amazed not only by how the subject of the article, Mr. Jones, rationalized his extraordinary consumption habits, but also by the mere fact that the article was published.

Continue reading "John Lennon Said It Best: “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed"" »

07/30/2014

NYSSA Launches New Online Career Center

On August 1, 2014, the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) will launch an interactive job board, the NYSSA Career Center. With its focus on financial industry companies and professionals, the NYSSA Career Center offers members a highly targeted resource for online recruitment. 

Employers can use the NYSSA Job Center to reach qualified candidates. They can post jobs online, search for qualified candidates based on specific job criteria, and create an online resume agent to email qualified candidates daily. They also benefit from online reporting providing job activity statistics to track each job posting's ROI.

For members seeking jobs, the NYSSA Job Center is a free service providing access to employers and jobs in the finance industry. In addition to posting their resumes, members can browse or view jobs based on the criteria they find matches their goals best. Job seekers can also post confidentially with confidence or search anonymously by creating a Job Agent.  Job Agents notify job seekers via email when jobs matching their criteria are posted, eliminating the need to visit their online accounts daily to track new postings. 

More information available at http://www.nyssa.org/CareerCenter.aspx.

07/29/2014

CFA in 18 Months: 3 Crucial Mistakes You Must Avoid

Just starting out on your CFA preparations and looking for some guidance? 

Many candidates aspire to aim for passing the CFA® exams in 18 months, as detailed in my Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 adventures just a few years ago. 

While hard work and effort are a prerequisite, here are a couple of mistakes I made but wished I knew beforehand during my CFA journey - I hope it helps  you avoid the usual pitfalls of taking on such a challenging qualification!

FAILING TO PLAN

You've heard of this old saying time and again, and it certainly applies to your CFA study preparation too. Many candidates fail because they just thought they could "wing it," and take their time studying the materials without sticking to some sort of a strict schedule. 

Or worse, some candidates even took time to do a simple study plan, but ignored them anyway during the revision and start to fall behind schedule. If you know you're behind, perhaps because you underestimated the work load or it took more time to understand a tricky concept, you need to make it up in your studies to ensure you catch up with your schedule.

Why? Because finishing on schedule, specifically one whole month before the exams (which I highly recommend), gives you ample time to do tons of practice papers, and contributes the other 50% to your learning and grasp of material. Yes, reading and covering the syllabus is just half of the work (and still very important), but the real test of your understanding of CFA concepts comes when you're tested under timed conditions. 

UNDERESTIMATING THE MATERIALS

I have a degree in Economics and when I first took December Level 1, I remember smirking when looking through the economics section of the materials. Guess what? I paid the least attention to that section and scored the lowest band for that topic. "Easy," eh?

Overconfidence can be a dangerous thing for the CFA exams. In fact, in a 2012 study, we found that candidates with no finance background (in prior education or work experience) significantly outperformed candidates who had prior finance education for the CFA exams. This tells us two things:

  • Complacency negatively affects your pass rates, which is common amongst candidates with prior finance education (but not working in finance currently). Skipping or "spotting" topics is not advisable, perhaps only when you're doing a last minute review (which shouldn't happen if you're learning from Mistake #1 above)!
  • Having no prior background in finance nor work is actually an advantage (yay engineers!)

Fail-CFA


Continue reading "CFA in 18 Months: 3 Crucial Mistakes You Must Avoid" »

07/28/2014

Recent Research: Highlights from July 2014

"Going for Broke: Restructuring Distressed Debt Portfolios"
The Journal of Fixed Income (Summer 2014
Sanjiv R. Das and Seoyoung Kim

This article discusses how to restructure a portfolio of distressed debt and what the gains are from doing so, and attributes these gains to restructuring and portfolio effects. This is an interesting and novel problem in fixed-income portfolio management that has received scant modeling attention. We show that debt restructuring is Pareto improving and lucrative for borrowers, lenders, and investors in distressed debt. First, the methodological contribution of the paper is a parsimonious model for the pricing and optimal restructuring of distressed debt, i.e., loans that are under-collateralized and are at risk of borrower default, where willingness to pay and ability to pay are at issue. Distressed-debt investing is a unique portfolio problem in that a) it requires optimization over all moments, not just mean and variance, and b) with debt restructuring, the investor can endogenously alter the return distribution of the candidate securities before subjecting them to portfolio construction. Second, economically, we show that post-restructuring return distributions of distressed debt portfolios are attractive to fixed-income investors, with risk-adjusted certainty equivalent yield pickups in the hundreds of basis points, suggesting the need for more efficient markets for distressed debt, and shedding light on the current policy debate regarding the use of eminent domain in mitigating real estate foreclosures.

Continue reading "Recent Research: Highlights from July 2014" »

Are You Too Paranoid to Report Mistakes on the Trading Floor?

EfinancialCareers

Big blowouts start in small ways. Kweku Adoboli made a $400k loss on a trade in October 2008, which he opted to hide rather than to tell his manager about. Nick Leeson started out hiding his small losses in his error account and ended up taking down Barings. Bruno Iksil (who unlike the others, hasn’t been charged for wrongdoing) made $400m for JPMorgan in 2011 and only started coming unstuck in 2012, when his losses quietly started to inflate.

Continue reading "Are You Too Paranoid to Report Mistakes on the Trading Floor?" »

07/27/2014

Book Review: Wall Street Research

ABSTRACT

Sell-side research is often seen as a competition among analysts for top rankings in surveys of investors. From time to time, scandals cause the profession to be viewed through the prism of ethical standards. Even the celebrity culture now colors perceptions of the analytical profession. In Wall Street Research: Past, Present, and Future, Boris Groysberg and Paul M. Healy of the Harvard Business School adopt the market for sell-side research as their framework. Oddly, this perspective is rarely used by brokerage industry types, who are otherwise thoroughly immersed in markets.


Brokerage houses tend not to think of research as a service bought and sold in a market because their ambition is to sell securities, not security analysis. The firms must nevertheless recover the costs of producing research. Prior to the US SEC’s abolition of fixed commission rates on 1 May 1975, broker/dealers paid for their teams of industry-specialized security analysts by bundling research with execution services. That worked well under pre–“May Day” commissions of 20–30 cents a share but proved unviable when those rates declined precipitously in the late 1970s.

Continue reading "Book Review: Wall Street Research" »

07/16/2014

How To Write A Killer CV That Gets You Hired

I still recall my younger days applying for my first few jobs in finance. It was intense, quite some spraying (of my CV, that is), and learning loads on the way on how the whole recruitment process works. Now, a little older (and wiser), I'm lucky enough to be in a position to hire members for my own team - I certainly remembered the time where I first had the green light to hire an intern to work with me - oooh, such power!

We advertised the job and I received around 5-8 CVs, already pre-filtered by my HR colleague. I reviewed them and narrowed down to 3 for an interview. When I shared my final 3 with my French colleagues (I worked for a French company at that time), they were surprised and doubtful at one of my choices because he wasn't from a "good school" (when translated meant non Ivy-league). I scanned the CVs without any preconception of French schools and chose him based on relevant work experience. I got a sense of his determination and interest in finance through 4 various internships he had, although they were at smaller, less prestigious firms. 

Continue reading "How To Write A Killer CV That Gets You Hired" »

FINSEC
NYU-ad

NYSSA Job Center Search Results

To sign up for the jobs feed, click here.


CAREER CHATS™ AND
FRIDAY CAREER COFFEES™
CAREER CHATS AND COFFEES

NYSSA Career Chat™: The Challenges Women Face on Wall Street
Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Join NYSSA to enjoy free member events and other benefits. You don't need to be a CFA charterholder to join!


CFA® EXAM PREP

CFA® Level II Weekly Review – Session A: Wednesdays
Midtown

Wednesdays, January 8–April 30, 2014
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level II Weekly Review – Session B: Mondays
Midtown

Mondays January 27–May 12, 2014
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level II 6-Week Saturday Condensed Review
Midtown

Saturdays, March 22–May 3, 2014
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level II 4-Day Boot Camp
Midtown

Thursday, May 15–Sunday, May 18, 2014
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level III Weekly Review – Session A: Tuesdays
Midtown

Tuesdays, January 7–May 6, 2014
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level III Weekly Review – Session B: Thursdays
Midtown

Thursdays, January 23–May 15, 2014
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level III 6-Week Sunday Condensed Review
Midtown

Sundays, March 16–May 4, 2014
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA


\