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03/14/2010

NYSSA Board Member Speaks with Beijing CFA Charterholders


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Barry Sine speaking to CFA charterholders in Beijing. Barry Sine, CFA, CMT, a member of NYSSA's Board of Directors, recently spoke to CFA charterholders in Beijing, and came away with some interesting insights into what is one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing capital markets in the world.

During a recent visit to China, I had the opportunity to speak to the informal CFA group of Beijing. Due to Chinese government laws, a formal CFA society cannot be formed, although the group is hopeful of figuring out some way of forming its own local society. CFA membership in China is growing rapidly as the economy and capital markets grow. There are approximately 1,500 charterholders in China and about 500 in the Beijing area, so there is a growing need for a local society to provide member services and a voice to advocate for the views of CFA charterholders locally. 

I presented a series of slides prepared by Alvin Kressler, NYSSA’s executive director, on how NYSSA is organized and how it serves its members. The Beijing group was particularly interested in our educational and career events. The local group has a minimal budget (it is actually part of the CFA Institute), no meeting room of its own or staff. We also discussed our recent efforts to interact with U.S. Federal Government agencies to find career opportunities for members. In China, a number of CFA candidates are employed by government agencies, but they have noted a trend where individuals successfully sit through all three levels of the exam, but then never apply for the Charter. 

We also discussed how the CFA Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct apply in an emerging market like China. Often, when an analyst meets with managers at public companies in China, the management team voluntarily discloses material non-public information. In China, there is no Regulation FD regulating how public company managers are to disseminate information to investors. With this information so widely available and so widely used in the market, it can put professionals who are subject to the Code and Standards at a competitive disadvantage. We discussed the possibility of the CFAI adopting an amended version for emerging markets, but quickly came to the consensus that it is not in the long-term best interests of a major economy like China to allow its capital markets to develop without full transparency and fairness, and that the ideal solution would be for regulators to adopt regulations allowing this to occur. This is one example of why charterholders in Beijing felt that a mainland China CFA society, rather than the CFA Institute operating out of Hong Kong or Charlottesville, would be a more effective advocate. 

The second part of my presentation was a high-level overview of the U.S. capital markets from an economic, fundamental and technical perspective. Talking markets with charterholders in Beijing is just like talking to colleagues anywhere around the world. They had a surprisingly detailed and good understanding of the U.S. capital markets. We discussed the importance of next year’s mid-term Congressional elections in perhaps muting some of the current administration’s less capital market-friendly policies. I was also struck by how knowledgeable and interested in technical analysis the participants were and we had a good discussion on the sustainability of the current rebound in the major indices.

Afterward, I had a wonderful dinner of Chinese food with several of the leaders of the local “society.” They asked me to pass on an invitation to other NYSSA members to make a similar presentation if they find themselves in Beijing. Given the great level of give and take over a number of issues, I found this meeting very interesting and rewarding. I would suggest that other NYSSA members take them up on their invitation. 

–Barry Sine, CFA, CMT 

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