< The Finance Professionals' Post: April 2014

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11 posts from April 2014


VP and Director: The New Worst Job Titles in Investment Banks?


Forget the harsh apprenticeships of junior investment bankers: pity the vice presidents (VPs) and weep for the directors. For, who would be a senior to mid-ranking investment banker now? On one hand, your job’s precarious as banks squeeze costs. On the other, you’re stuck where you are – you’re less likely to get promoted than in the past and there’s not much hiring. In the ‘up or out’ dynamic, ‘out’ is now ascendant.

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Four Ways to Prep for CFA Exam Day

CFA Exam Prep

By now, you should have completed the first pass-through of the entire curriculum, as well as prepared your own study notes and/or flashcards. Now it’s time to practice exam day survival skills.

Even if you’ve committed everything to memory, it doesn’t mean you are prepared to take the exam. The six-hour exam is grueling. Three hours in the morning, a cruel two-hour lunch break, and then back to another three hours round in the afternoon. This is no walk in the park. You need to prepare physically and mentally for that day.

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Video: Bitcoin and Virtual Money

Over the past year bitcoin has gone from a dark web science project to mainstream sensation. But what exactly is a bitcoin, what is it good for, and what future does the online "currency" really have? In this short clip from NYSSA's recent conference, Managing Director of ConveryEx Group Nicholas J. Colas gives a breakdown on bitcoin, including why it isn't a fraud as some speculate.


Practical Ethics: Introducing a New Framework for Ethical Decision Making

More than any other factor, investors look for individuals and firms they can trust when hiring investment professionals to safeguard and grow their financial assets. Earning trust goes beyond compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Developing trust can only be earned by engaging in ethical conduct.

Recognizing and understanding the relevant ethical principles is the first step. The CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct embodies the fundamental ethical principles applicable to the investment profession. These include fair dealing, full disclosure, loyalty, and diligence, among others.   

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Equity Opportunities in Canadian Capital Markets

Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) – Canada’s major equities markets – are home to more oil and gas and energy services companies than any other global exchange group. Ranked first in the world by the number of listings in the energy sector, TSX and TSXV are the world’s leading marketplaces for oil and gas companies to list and go public.

More than 360 oil and gas companies are listed on TSX and TSXV, with a total market capitalization of over $407 billion. About 10% of these companies are headquartered outside of Canada. Supported by reliable access to North American and global capital, these companies have operations on several continents and maintain strong ties to key markets globally.

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Flash Boys May be Yesterday’s Story


Michael Lewis’ newest Wall Street bestseller, Flash Boys, claims that equity markets are “rigged” by high frequency traders who invested millions in fiber optic cables that enabled them to shave microseconds from the time it takes to trade stocks. Launched just a week ago in a blizzard of TV interviews with unknowing, uncritical journalists, it is the latest bomb to drop on an industry still struggling to regain its balance after the financial crisis of 2008. 

Like his two other very popular books about financial firms and markets (Liar’s Poker and The Big Short), Flash Boys, tells a compelling, if improbable story of how a few really smart tech guys, investing millions in their own high speed cables, have outwitted the usual bunch of dull institutional investors by hijacking billions of dollars of other people’s trades. 

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Six Signs You Have to Quit Your Banking Job in the Next Six Months


Your bonus is (probably) in the bank. Should you stay? Should you go? Are you still ‘learning in your job’? Are you still climbing the corporate edifice? How can you determine, quickly, easily and with minimal sentiment that it’s time to move on? Banking headhunters volunteer the following six leading indicators.

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Five Reasons to Consider Mongolia As Your Top Investment Destination

Mongolia submission

It's the second fastest growing economy in the world: Strong economic growth is expected for the mineral resource–rich Mongolia, with rising mining output from world-class mining projects such as Oyu Tolgoi—a copper and gold mining operation, where Rio-tinto owns 66% and the government owns 33%. This project is expected to contribute 1/3 of Mongolia GDP alone. The Economist Intelligence Unit has projected that Mongolia will be the second-fastest growing economy in the world in 2014 with gross domestic product rising 15.3% thanks to the first full year of operations of Oyu Tolgoi. And, though IMF predicts that growth will slow down to 9.5% (owing to a slow-down in China, the main export destination for Mongolian minerals), the economic growth is high even by regional, let alone international, standards.

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Office Politics Surviving and Thriving—If You’re Savvy

Being politically savvy is a vital competence for anyone working in an office/organizational environment, but it’s not taught often and, in many cases, understood. In fact, in my practice as a coach the term “office politics” has received a bad rap. (Words like “Machiavellian,” “manipulative,” and “conspiratorial” come to mind.) Tales of political sabotage, power plays, and turf wars are part of any organization’s history. Nonetheless, political competence is the one skill everyone wishes to have more of—but no one talks about it. When you ask people how they achieve results within their organizations, they cite market analysis,strategic planning, and brainstorming. They almost never mention politics.

–Jeffrey Cohen

Jeffrey Cohen's services as a career and executive coach are now available to NYSSA members. Click here for more information.

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Rating Agencies


For decades credit rating agencies were viewed as trusted arbiters of creditworthiness and their ratings as important tools for managing risk. The common narrative is that the value of ratings was compromised by the evolution of the industry to a form where issuers pay for ratings. In this paper we show how credit ratings have value in equilibrium and how reputation insures that, in equilibrium, ratings will reflect sound assessments of credit worthiness. There will always be an information distortion because of the fact that purchasers of ratings need not reveal them. We argue that regulatory reliance on ratings and the increasing importance of risk-weighted capital in prudential regulation have more likely contributed to distorted ratings than the matter of who pays for them. In this respect, much of the regulatory obsession with the conflict created by issuers paying for ratings is a distraction.


 –Harold Cole and Thomas F. Cooley

Please note that the second author was previously a member of the Board of Managers of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and also serves as a consultant to the company. The opinions and views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC. We thank Steve LeRoy, Larry White for helpful comments. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

NBER working papers are circulated for discussion and comment purposes. They have not been peer eviewed or been subject to the review by the NBER Board of Directors that accompanies official NBER publications.

© 2014 by Harold Cole and Thomas F. Cooley. All rights reserved. Short sections of text, not to exceed two paragraphs, may be quoted without explicit permission provided that full credit, including © notice, is given to the source.

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Tips for Telling Your Story

Whether you’re launching a job search, lobbying for a promotion, taking over as the new team leader, or bonding with colleagues and customers, you may want to tell your story. Doing so builds people’s trust in you.    

The ability to tell your story is vital in your life, both personally and professionally. Below are tips to help you tell your story in today’s business world.

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