< The Finance Professionals' Post: September 2012

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17 posts from September 2012


Early Corporate America: The Largest Industries and Companies before 1860

Second Bank of the United States
Philadelphia, PA, Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Although the United States drew on European precedents to guide much of its early financial maturation, in one area it led the way: the development of the corporation as an important form of competitive business enterprise. Early European corporations were few, far between, and usually monopolies. Examples include the Bank of England, which had a monopoly of corporate banking in England and Wales into the 1850s, and the East India Company, which enjoyed a monopoly of British trade with India until well into the 19th century.

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Do You Have a Responsible Borrowing Strategy?

It is almost inevitable that at some point in your life you will have to borrow money to make necessary purchases. Items that are synonymous with the phrase, “We need a loan,” are typically major financial obligations such as a home, car, or college education.

According to the Federal Reserve System, there was $12.9 trillion in household debt outstanding at the end of the first quarter of 2012. Meanwhile, as of August 2012, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports household indebtedness at $11.38 trillion. The bank also reported that student loan debt rose to $914 billion last quarter.

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Career Advice Few People Follow (but Really Should)

Statisticians and CFA® charterholders will agree that, generally speaking, the larger the sample size, the more trustworthy the conclusion. As a headhunter I see many different approaches to a fairly confined set of circumstances: the people I engage with are 1) content but open to a change, 2) dissatisfied with their work situations, or 3) currently unemployed. Needless to say, it becomes endlessly more complex beyond that point, but we’re thinking macro today.

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Maximize Your CFA Status on Your CV & LinkedIn

By now, CFA candidates know whether or not they have passed or failed. If you didn't pass this time, don't take it too badly. If you retake, use the hundreds of pre-preparation hours as an advantage. 

Of course, after results day, there's a shift in terms of candidacy statuses. For those of you who either passed or are retaking level I this December, you may be thinking about how you can best leverage your CFA status to spruce up your CV. However, one very important factor to bear in mind are the ethics and professional standards set up by CFA Institute on stating such things on your CV. Without knowing it, many candidates are in violation of these bylaws and could be sanctioned by CFA Institute.

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When Should I Practice Item Sets?


I wanted to get started on my preparation for June 2013 Level II and saw you had recommended doing the CFA curriculum readings (with exception to Ethics) post–Labor Day through December. Do you also recommend doing the accompanying problem sets with the readings or saving those for later (i.e. Jan–May) when I would also use the prep provider materials (i.e. Schweser)?

–Alfred M., Level II Candidate

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Book Review: The Lost Bank


At the time of its collapse in 2008, Washington Mutual had assets of $307 billion. It was the largest failure in American history. The details of the epic failure have been covered, but never in the humanizing manner we see in The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual-The Biggest Bank Failure in American History. Author Kirsten Grind tells the story in detailed and graphic form, providing what others have described as a “fly-on-the-boardroom account” of what happened, which reads like a novel. The uniquely written narrative will appeal to everyone—despite their professional background. Grind provides the number crunching details for finance professionals, in addition to the touching perspectives of the customers. In retrospect, the story sounds fantastic and bizarre as this more than 100-year-old bank rode the subprime mortgage boom over the edge to disaster. But as the bank hurtled to catastrophe, it seemed a hugely profitable and often admired financial institution.

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Pursuing the CFA Charter – Candidates’ Perspective

CFA San Francisco

The first deadline for June 2013 CFA exam registrations is September 19, 2012. But price shouldn’t be the only thing you consider when deciding to enter the CFA Program.

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Three Must-Know Tips to Nailing Ethics

CFA Exam Prep

If you're new to the CFA exams, hopefully by now you're aware of how important mastering ethics is to your CFA studies. In an effort to help, here are three steps to ensure you are on the right path to nailing the ethics section in the exam.

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How to Properly Address a Cover Letter if You Don’t Know the Hiring Manager’s Name


You’re applying for a job online, but you don’t know the hiring manager’s name or gender. How can you find that information? Or, if you can’t get a name, what are some alternative ways to address the cover letter without being too impersonal or old-fashioned?

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Recent Research: Highlights from September 2012

"The Most Successful Theory of Economics "
The Journal of Derivatives (Fall 2012)
Mark Kritzman

Ross has called options pricing theory “the most successful theory in all of economics.” Kritzman expands on Ross’s comment to justify this assertion and notes the role of The Journal of Derivatives in disseminating the benefits of this most successful of theories to the world at large.

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What's Going to Happen to the Euro?

The Eurozone has changed; it’s very apparent. In the last year or so, the playing field has been tipped with mountainous debt problems that Greece, and now Spain and Italy, are experiencing. Of course, all of Europe will experience a huge knock-on effect from the problems in Greece and Spain—but the question is, by how much? If the Euro fails, will all hell break loose? This article outlines some of the possible outcomes of the current Euro crisis.

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Limericks Économiques: Watch That Denominator

Limericks Économiques

A fall in the joblessness rate
Would normally seem to be great,
Excepting, of course,
When there's less labor force,
Deflating the weight of that rate.

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Should I Give Up on the CFA Exam?


I got a band 4 in CFA® level 1, should I give up or continue? I've also started studying for CPA.

–Nikita P.

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NYSSA Announces December 2012 CFA Scholarship Winners

The New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) is pleased to announce the winners of the December 2012 CFA Exam Scholarship Program. NYSSA offers up to five scholarships in both the fall and spring to New York–area CFA candidates. Recipients are selected based on experience and/or interest in the investment profession, ethical standards, and commitment to NYSSA and CFA Institute. Scholarship winners receive discounted registration fees and free NYSSA CFA weekly review.

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Video: Major Changes in the Metals and Mining Industry

NYSSA's 12th Annual Metals and Mining Industry Conference featured a number of speakers from top business leaders. Raymond Goldie, PhD, VP, and senior mining analyst at Salman Partners, opened the conference with an industry overview.


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Financial Professionals and the Mid-Life Career Change


The average person will change careers four to six times in their life. It’s true: most of us dream of a career change from time to time. Research has shown that nearly 50% of adult professionals are not satisfied with their current job. So whether you are one of the dissatisfied financial professionals seeking your dream job, or you simply want to achieve a better work-life balance, if you have reached the point where you are at least considering a career change, there are several things to consider.

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Presenting Your Research: Secrets of Effective Conference Calls

Some analysts mistakenly think that once they're finished researching and writing an investment research report their work is done. Not so.

The best analysts recognize they must "sell" their conclusions to a number of key audiences. They understand that a key component of their job is to convince others that their research is balanced and their recommendations are reliable.

Take conference calls, for example. They may seem to be informal ways to update clients and colleagues on what you've been doing, but they should not be treated casually. Conference calls help decision makers understand the quality of your work and how you contribute to the bottom line.

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