CFA

07/01/2015

Review: The New Economics of Liquidity and Financial Frictions by David Adler

The New Economics of Liquidity and Financial Frictions is a book about a new branch of economics that is largely a synthesis of macro and finance. In many ways, it is a radical departure from the older, frictionless approach still prevalent in economic textbooks and most of academia. This book provides a new understanding and approach to asset pricing, risk measurement and management, central banking policy, and the overall working of today’s economy, including questions of financial stability.

Continue reading "Review: The New Economics of Liquidity and Financial Frictions by David Adler" »

05/21/2015

CFA Exam Taking Tips

June is near and CFA candidates all over the world are counting down the days until exam day. All of us at NYSSA wish the best of luck, strong composure, and laser focus to those members of the NYSSA community who took our weekly or condensed review courses, problem solving or essay writing workshops, bootcamps and mock exams!

Because luck is not always enough, here are some easy to remember exam-taking strategy tips from our Lead CFA instructor, O. Nathan Ronen, CFA for you to internalize before exam day:

Continue reading "CFA Exam Taking Tips" »

05/14/2015

Canisius College Team Wins International Competition in Financial Analysis

Canisius College
From left, Golden Griffin Fund financial team members Carl Larsson, Ryan Zimmer, Matt Coad, Kevin Monheim and Stephen Miller (not shown) won the CFA Institute Research Challenge Global Championship, emerging first among 4,000 students. Derek Gee/Buffalo News

Five students win international contest testing financial analysis skills

Commencement is around the corner and the real world is waiting, and now Ryan Zimmer can add an impressive credential to his résumé: world champion financial analyst.

Zimmer and four other Canisius College students recently won an international financial analysis skills competition that pitted them against 4,000 students from 865 colleges across the globe.

The Canisius victory marked the first time since 2007 that a team from the United States captured the CFA Institute Research Challenge Global Final title.

Continue reading "Canisius College Team Wins International Competition in Financial Analysis" »

02/16/2015

Life After the CFA Charter

I still remember the feeling of happiness, relief, and complete sense of accomplishment when I received a congratulatory email from CFA Institute on August 6, 2013 letting me know that I passed the Level III CFA exam.  I officially became a CFA Charterholder in November 2013. The certificate is very big, and I feel proud every time I look at it.  It reminds me that hard work and determination will help me overcome any challenges that I am currently facing, or will face in the future, as they did when I embarked on the CFA journey.

Continue reading "Life After the CFA Charter" »

02/03/2015

How the CFA Charter Helped Me Find A Job

Most of us took up CFA exams for career advancement and development opportunities—so did I back in 2009, amongst other reasons

Upon scraping through the last Level III battle and obtaining the elusive CFA charter, I embarked on a job search, not because I wasn't happy with my current role at that time, but it was in response to my boss' comment during my year-end review and salary negotiation that prompted me to look around to "benchmark my market value." It was an interesting exercise as there wasn't a strong pressure to leave per se (i.e., I didn't hate my job/work environment), but I was also incentivized to secure a real offer, as that serves as a true measure of my market worth (plus it was always interesting, to me at least, to find out what other roles there are). 

Good practice for interviews? Definitely. Stressful? Certainly (the goal is still to secure a job offer!). Useful? Very, because I also got a good sense of employers' view of the CFA charter. Here's my attempt to provide a qualitative assessment of the CFA qualification on my job hunting process. 

Overview

Here's a subjective account of my job search experiences upon obtaining my CFA charter a few years ago, right in the midst of the financial crisis. The purpose is to qualitatively assess the impact of having the CFA charter on my job hunting endeavours. I view the job search process as three separate stages:

  • Job applications - the number of relevant jobs for which I could apply, and am interested in;
  • Response rate - the number of positive feedback or calls for interviews I had as a percentage of number of job applications made;
  • Interview rounds - the final stage, certainly the trickier bit (but not impossible) to master

Of course, my experience is by no means a definitive guide to what will happen to every charterholder (as they are many varying characteristics between my situation and theirs, as caveated below), but I believe there are things that we all can do, and learn, in order to improve your chances to get the job you want. No one has provided a detailed account of their life post as a CFA charterholder so I thought I'd get the ball rolling!

Continue reading "How the CFA Charter Helped Me Find A Job" »

01/26/2015

Why Mock Exams Are Important

“Befitting its Greek roots, the marathon unfolds classic drama, carrying equal doses of comedy and tragedy, euphoria and agony.“ Take out the reference to Greece and substitute CFA exam for marathon and this line from Marathon Training Plan & Schedule by Josh Clark sounds like a perfect description for the CFA exam study experience.

Continue reading "Why Mock Exams Are Important " »

01/13/2015

How the CFA Charter Helped Me Find A Job

Most of us took up CFA exams for career advancement and development opportunities - so did I back in 2009, amongst other reasons

Upon scraping through the last Level III battle and obtaining the elusive CFA charter, I embarked on a job search, not because I wasn't happy with my current role at that time, but it was in response to my boss' comment during my year-end review and salary negotiation that prompted me to look around to "benchmark my market value." It was an interesting exercise as there wasn't a strong pressure to leave per se (i.e. I didn't hate my job/work environment), but I was also incentivized to secure a real offer that serves as a true measure of my market worth (plus it was always interesting, to me at least, to find out what other roles there are). 

Continue reading "How the CFA Charter Helped Me Find A Job" »

01/07/2015

Four Easy Steps You Can Do Right Now for CFA Success after the Holiday Season

The year has really whooshed by for me—only a week or so to the new year. 

As the holiday season is nearly upon us, we'd advise you to focus on R & R (step 4 in this article!), but there are also a few easy steps that you can complete in the next five minutes or so, which we guarantee will make a HUGE difference to the way you approach and prepare for your upcoming CFA exams.

If you do one more CFA-related task this year, make it these four easy steps below.

1. Be fully informed by adding the CFA Calendar to your personal calendar (two minutes)

We've added a new tool, free for our readers, to the 300 Hours website this year. The CFA Calendar tracks significant events in the CFA program - informing you of upcoming registration deadlines, results day, test days, as well as CFA workshops that may be in your area.

This is completely free for all readers, always updated, and you can add this to your personal calendar in minutes. Make sure you do, and you'll be fully informed while you prepare for the CFA exams in the coming year!

Continue reading "Four Easy Steps You Can Do Right Now for CFA Success after the Holiday Season" »

 

12/17/2014

224,640 Minutes

You can’t squeeze blood from a stone.

Count from the first minute of 2015 until you get to the last one on June 5th, and you ‘ll have 156 days, 3,744 hours or 224,640 minutes. That’s all the time you have before the next CFA® exam. This result won’t change no matter how hard you try. Given this, your assignment is to figure out how to best use your time.

Continue reading "224,640 Minutes" »

11/26/2014

CFA Comic: The 12 Steps to Answering A CFA Practice Question

If you're taking the CFA exams soon, you must be pretty tired of studying by now.

Take a break from your calculators, read on, and have a look at the 12 Steps to Answering a CFA Practice Question!

Continue reading "CFA Comic: The 12 Steps to Answering A CFA Practice Question" »

11/18/2014

Review: 300 Hours CFA Exam Insights 2015 Edition eBook

300-Hrs-CFA-Insights

Sun Tzu, the famous 6th century Chinese General and author of the timeless masterpiece, The Art of War wrote, “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight 100 battles without disaster.” 

While every CFA candidate hopes it will only take three battles to earn their charter, the concept is apropos. For the typical, newly enrolled CFA candidate, there is a general understanding about the demanding endeavor upon which they are about to embark.  They know that the test is difficult, that it takes a minimum of 18 months to complete and they’re probably aware of the subjects that will be tested on exam day.  

Continue reading "Review: 300 Hours CFA Exam Insights 2015 Edition eBook" »

Are You Ready for the CFA Exam?

If you are like many candidates, you’ve probably penciled in a few "super" study days right before the December CFA© exam. Maybe you’ve even asked your boss for a vacation week. On the surface, this sounds like a good plan, but it really isn’t. You cannot cram for this exam. You either know the material by now – or you don’t. To paraphrase a colleague of mine, it would be better to spend those last few days in prayer or meditation. But there are a number of things you can do to ensure you are prepared and to reduce exam-day stress. 

Continue reading "Are You Ready for the CFA Exam?" »

11/03/2014

Eight Facts You May Not Know About the CFA Exams

There are a lot of things you learn while taking the CFA exams. Some time back, Zee's written 20 points you should know about the CFA exams, especially if you're new to it.

And today I'll try and add on to that, adding eight more facts that certainly even candidates may not know. I must admit - I only knew about fact #7 before I started this article!

If you've got any to add to the list, don't forget to drop them in the comments below.

Continue reading "Eight Facts You May Not Know About the CFA Exams" »

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" »

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" »

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" »

06/24/2014

What Is CFA Good for?

Aren't you glad that the June exams are over? 

It's normal to feel a sudden void in your life now, having a bucketload of spare time in your hands while waiting for the big results day. Somewhere along the way, you'd wonder whether the CFA journey is worthwhile, or why you even took it in the first place. Even if you're a potential December Level 1 candidate, this is certainly a question of utmost importance.

According to a CFA Institute survey, 37% of us took the CFA challenge for career development and advancement. Not surprising. But when deciding whether or not CFA is right for your career goals, a common question emerges: would CFA work for me?

A Quick Look into CFA Charterholders' Typical Roles and Employers

To answer this question, the first port of call is to have a quick look at what current charterholders are doing and their typical employers. Luckily CFAI has summarized these information in a 2011 survey.

Continue reading "What Is CFA Good for?" »

04/28/2014

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.

Continue reading "Four Ways to Prep for CFA Exam Day" »

04/22/2014

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.   

Continue reading "Practical Ethics: Introducing a New Framework for Ethical Decision Making" »

03/31/2014

“Old-Fashioned” Study Methods a Hit

A recent Internet search for “online CFA exam prep” yielded over a million results, and included a dizzying array of study options. Test banks, mobile apps, instructional videos, digital study guides, virtual study groups, and forums just to name a few. Trying to figure out what works best can make your head spin, so to help cut through the noise, I reached out to people who should know. I asked current exam candidates, as well as those who recently earned their charter, for advice.

Continue reading "“Old-Fashioned” Study Methods a Hit" »

03/12/2014

The Paths to a Career in Investment Management

More than one third (37%) of all CFA® Charterholders are portfolio managers or research analysts. The remaining 63% are strewn across a variety of job functions. Before becoming a CFA candidate, check the CFA Institute website to make sure your dream career aligns with the job functions held by current CFA Charterholders.

Continue reading "The Paths to a Career in Investment Management" »

02/05/2014

Why You Should (or Shouldn't) Take a CFA Review Class

CFA Exam Prep

Most candidates do not get through all three exams studying on their own. But is a live review class right for you? Only you know if you can commit to a weekly schedule or whether a live class appeals to you, but there is another factor you should consider. CFA Institute states, “The progressive nature of the three different levels means that the questions at Levels II and III require higher-order thinking than the questions at Level I.”  So I suggest thinking about this based on your exam level.

Continue reading "Why You Should (or Shouldn't) Take a CFA Review Class" »

01/27/2014

How I Passed the CFA Level I Exam with Just 2 Weeks' Studying

My name is Scott, and in the summer of 2011, I passed my CFA Level I with just 2 weeks worth of studying. <

I started two Saturdays away from the actual test having done no more than a cursory glance at my books beforehand. And somehow, incredibly, I managed to pass. Zee wrote to me one day asking if I'd like to share my story with 300 Hours readers, and over the course of the Christmas holidays, I wrote my experience down.

Here is my story.

An Important Success Factor: My Job and Education

I believe a significant factor that allowed me to pull this off was my background, both in work and education

I read Economics at Oxford and did pretty well - that helped me save time in some of the basics of CFA Level I. I was also a management consultant for investment banks and wealth managers. Consultant projects range from several weeks to several months, and having 3 years experience at the time, I had a wide range of knowledge and expertise across several financial sectors.

Without a relevant background in work and education, I don't think this would have been possible for me.

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

I didn't choose to attempt to take CFA Level I with only two weeks' prep - I basically had no other choice.

My biggest mistake was to underestimate how little time and drive I would have for the exams. I always did well in exams in the past and thought that this would be just like the others. Although the exam itself was probably not too different in difficulty, balancing it with work was the problem.

I was rammed with a high-pressure project about 3 months before the exam, working 80-100 hour weeks. This meant that I didn't have any time to do anything else, never mind think about studying for the CFA exams. As the exams approached, I had two choices - either forgo the exam and waste the money I paid for the signup fees and materials, or try and pass with by the skin of my teeth.

Two weeks before E-day, I chose to push for it and see what happens.

My Two Weeks of Studying Hell

I took a full 10 working days off to study for the CFA Level I. That was already a very painful sacrifice, but nothing compared to what I had to endure in the following two weeks.

Through the entire two weeks, I dedicated all of my time to studying. I didn't leave my flat and lived off takeout meals. I had told my friends, girlfriend and parents that I would be incommunicado for two weeks so I didn't speak to any of them either, save for a few online chats here and there. Basically I became a hobo for two weeks in my own home.

And what did I get done? I'd say there were 3 important things that I got right, given my situation.

I started with practice exams, and did as many as I could
Starting with exam papers allowed me to roughly understand what areas I would need more studying in and what areas I could go light on. By the end of the two weeks, I managed about 4 papers under proper exam conditions, and speed-read about 6 more - reading the question and immediately going through the model answers. Practice exams really helped tune my studying - I would recommend it regardless of whether you're time constrained or not.

I outright binned a few topics.
Apart from doing the practice questions in the exams, I skipped these 3 topics:

  • Economics: light weighting in exam, and I could wing it a little based on what I learned in school
  • Corporate Finance: light weighting in exam, and I had a bit of experience from my job that helped me
  • Derivatives: light weighting in exam, and I also found the exam questions very confusing and not worth the time

 

–300 Hours

This exerpt was reposted with permission from 300 Hours, a site dedicated to CFA candidates and charterholders.

Continue reading "How I Passed the CFA Level I Exam with Just 2 Weeks' Studying" »

12/04/2013

CFA Institute - Global Policy Summit 2013

The Global Policy Summit is an annual event organized by the Standards and Financial Market Integrity (SFMI) division of the CFA Institute. It takes place in Washington DC and it brings together about eighty CFA Institute staffers as well as volunteers.

Similar to prior years, this year’s summit included members of the five global policy councils that are part of SFMI: Asset Manager Code (AMC), Capital Markets (CMPC), Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS), Standards of Practice (SPC) and Corporate Disclosure. In addition to the five councils, the attendees also included delegates from the Advocacy Committees of regional and local CFA Societies with the largest number of members.

Continue reading "CFA Institute - Global Policy Summit 2013" »

11/26/2013

CFA Topic Deep Dive: Your Guide to Understanding Diversification

CFA Exam PrepIn prepping for your CFA® exams, one of the most frustrating things that can happen is that your mind simply refuses to grasp a particular concept. Often, you may be forced into blind memorization out of desperation.

The purpose of the CFA Topic Deep Dive articles is to help you understand certain CFA concepts. By going into deep detail on a particular example, you'll learn all the nuances about each topic and go into your CFA prep (and exams) better prepared.

We'd love your feedback on this series, so let your views be known in the comments below. For this article, Miguel and Mykola from Financial Analyst Warrior take us through a detailed example of diversification.


CFA Prep Discount


–300 Hours

This article was reposted with permission from 300 Hours, a site dedicated to CFA candidates and charterholders.

Continue reading " CFA Topic Deep Dive: Your Guide to Understanding Diversification" » 

 

10/29/2013

Setting Your CFA Sights on December 7, 2013

CFA Exam Prep

The December Level I exam is right around the corner. My guess is you are probably viewing this looming date a bit like FDR’s "day of infamy." But if you created a study plan – and kept to it reasonably well – then December 7th does not have to be a day that makes you want to declare all-out war. So let’s see if you are on target.

Continue reading "Setting Your CFA Sights on December 7, 2013" »

08/21/2013

My CFA Experience (Level III): Vy Bui

What better way to close my CFA exam journey than by sharing my Level III study strategies, which helped me pass the June 2013 exam?

My first two articles talked about my CFA Level I exam experience and my third article talked about how my study strategies changed from Level I to Level II. So, this article focus on the changes (in detail) I made to surmount the difficulty of Level III materials and the essay exam format of the morning section. Hopefully, this will inspire current and/or future CFA candidates to pay special attention to their study strategies.

Continue reading "My CFA Experience (Level III): Vy Bui" »

06/10/2013

How to Pitch to Your Firm to Sponsor Your CFA Program

When I was attempting my Level II, I was feeling mighty poor. 

I had just left my role in finance and I wanted to try my hand at something else that had caught my attention - advertising. 

Weird, I know. 

Continue reading "How to Pitch to Your Firm to Sponsor Your CFA Program" »

06/03/2013

When Should You Be Entering the CFA Program: December or June?

Now that CFA Institute will be holding December Level II exams starting in 2014, this question is much easier to answer.

What? You hadn’t heard about this new December exam development? 300 Hours broke the news this past April in their blog. They also reference the related press release.

Continue reading "When Should You Be Entering the CFA Program: December or June?" »

04/29/2013

A “Calculating” Tip for Level I and II Candidates

CFA Exam Prep

If you have cracked open an exam curriculum book (or clicked open the e-book version), then you are familiar with the structure of the curriculum. You know that topics are divided into study sessions, assigned readings accompany study sessions, and learning outcome statements – or LOSs – are developed for each reading. I’m not really telling you anything new here.

Continue reading "A “Calculating” Tip for Level I and II Candidates" »

03/25/2013

Don’t Miss the Easiest 15 Points on the Exam!

CFA Exam Prep

Want to know the easiest way to lose 15 points on the exam? According to Michael Maestas, CFA, CPA, it is showing up with only a beginner’s understanding of how to use the HP12C or TI BA-II calculator. He says the difference between being a novice and a power user can easily be worth that much.

Continue reading "Don’t Miss the Easiest 15 Points on the Exam!" »

03/11/2013

How Your Work and Education Background Correlates to Your CFA Exam Performance

If you don't have a finance-related background, are you disadvantaged when it comes to the CFA exams?

In the December 2012 exams, we set out to find some clues to shed some light on just that. In our Analyze Results tool, we now include a question where candidates can input their work and education background, indicating whether their backgrounds were finance-related or not.

Given enough of a sample size, we could then compare the various background profiles with pass rates, and see how pass rates varied across candidates that had different backgrounds in work and education.

The results were quite surprising.

Continue reading "How Your Work and Education Background Correlates to Your CFA Exam Performance" »

01/02/2013

Ready...Set...Study! A Study Checklist for the June CFA Exams

CFA Exam Prep

You’ve registered for the CFA® exam* and opened the box containing six curriculum books from CFA Institute. Now what?

Plan your attack using this checklist:

Continue reading "Ready...Set...Study! A Study Checklist for the June CFA Exams" »

10/25/2012

Ethics Is Important

CFA Exam Prep

Core to the mission of CFA Institute is promoting high standards of ethics, integrity, and professional excellence. Those pursuing their charter are introduced to this early, as committing to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct is a requirement to enter the program. Furthermore, CFA Institute warns that this commitment should not be taken lightly.

That’s good advice.

Continue reading "Ethics Is Important" »

09/24/2012

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.

Continue reading "Maximize Your CFA Status on Your CV & LinkedIn" »

09/20/2012

When Should I Practice Item Sets?

AskInstructorLogo

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

Continue reading "When Should I Practice Item Sets?" »

09/18/2012

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.

Continue reading "Pursuing the CFA Charter – Candidates’ Perspective" »

09/17/2012

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.

Continue reading "Three Must-Know Tips to Nailing Ethics" »

09/10/2012

Should I Give Up on the CFA Exam?

AskInstructorLogo

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

–Nikita P.

Continue reading "Should I Give Up on the CFA Exam?" »

09/06/2012

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.

Continue reading "NYSSA Announces December 2012 CFA Scholarship Winners" »

08/23/2012

Dealing with Failure

CFA Exam Prep

The CFA® exam is no ordinary exam, so the high failure rates generally 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 II.

Here are the steps you should take if you didn't manage a pass this time around:

Continue reading "Dealing with Failure" »

08/20/2012

My CFA Experience (Level II): Vy Bui

CFA

After almost eight weeks of waiting from June 2nd to July 24th and another five terrifying hours of waiting on the day results were released, it was a great feeling to know that I passed the CFA® Level II exam. I couldn’t be happier knowing that all my hard work and support from family members, friends, instructor, and coworkers paid off in the end.

Following up on my previous two articles about my CFA Level I exam experience, this article will emphasize what did and did not change in my study strategies that helped me successfully overcome the daunting challenges of moving from the Level I to the Level II exam.

Continue reading "My CFA Experience (Level II): Vy Bui" »

08/01/2012

At the Institute

This posting marks the end of a very long series about CFA Institute’s annual conference. Today’s title doesn’t refer to that Institute, though, but to a post-conference visit to the Art Institute of Chicago and the musings about the conference, the business, and the profession that it triggered.

For insight, it’s hard to beat a world-class museum. You come face to face with beauty one minute and brutal reality the next. Your perspectives are altered and your beliefs are challenged. You see the sweep of history—the connections across time reveal themselves and the true innovations seem mysterious and remarkable. You think about notions of quality and the nature of genius, of art and craft, of inspiration and perspiration.

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07/24/2012

Everything You Could Possibly Want to Know about the CFA Results

EfinancialCareers

In the run up to today’s results from the June CFA® exams, you might find it useful to have some quick FAQs covering some of the questions most asked by candidates.

WHAT IS THE MINIMUM PASSING SCORE (MPS)?

Simply put, the MPS is the score you have to match or beat in order to pass. If you come in at anything below this score it’s a case of good try, come back again next year. The MPS is never known externally—but chances are it has a maximum of around 70 percent.

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07/19/2012

You Got Your CFA® Charter. Now What?

If you find out next month that you passed the Level III CFA® exam in June, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that, unlike 57% of the people taking all levels of the CFA exam in June 2011, you passed and have obtained your CFA charter. The bad news is that new charterholders face an uncertain economy and uneven job prospects, with an unemployment rate over 8% since February 2009.

Many financial companies are using a wait-and-see attitude towards expanding their workforce. So what comes next for the CFA charterholder about to enter a tough job market?

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07/17/2012

Which Level I CFA® Exam Should You Take—December or June?

CFA San Francisco

On the surface, it sounds like a no-brainer. Starting with the December Level I exam shaves six months off the time needed to take all three exams, right? Yes, in theory that’s trueif you pass all three on the first try. But let’s dive into this a bit more so you know what you’re against if you decide on this route.

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07/11/2012

A Call to Action

At the start of the first full day of the CFA annual conference, John Rogers issued a challenge to the members of CFA Institute. Rogers, the organization’s CEO, did not mince words.

“Our industry has forgotten what it takes to maintain the trust of clients, regulators, and the public as a whole,” he said. As a result, “Our profession has lost much of its good standing and public respect.” Alas, it has been “a failure of self-control” that has caused the damage.

So now what? According to Rogers, CFA Institute intends to be a bolder voice for reform of the investment industry. He said that finance came to be thought of as an end in itself, to the detriment of the industry, its professionals, and society.

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06/20/2012

Educating the Educated: More Requirements for the CFA Charter?

If you are a CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst) charterholder, congratulations on your hard work. To become a charterholder, you have earned a university degree, worked as a professional for at least four years, and spent at least three years taking each of the three required levels of the CFA exam—which only a minority of test-takers usually can pass each year (in 2011, 43% of June [all levels] and 38% of December [level I] candidates passed).

However, while just earning your CFA charter is a major undertaking, it’s what happens after the exam that you should consider. At a previous NYSSA panel, an attendee asked whether CFA Institute should require charterholders to pursue continuing education (CE). This discussion reflects a perennial debate among CFA Institute members regarding the importance of CE standards for ensuring high professional conduct.

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06/19/2012

They Call It Innovation

Two sessions at the CFA annual conference typified the nature of the discussion of “innovation” in the investment world.

The first was a plenary session that featured Harold Bradley of the Kauffman Foundation, Bill Hambrecht of WR Hambrecht, and Duncan Niederauer of NYSE Euronext. It was titled, “Has Innovation Helped or Hurt the Integrity of Markets?”

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06/18/2012

Is the CFA Charter Really Useful in Getting an Investment Banking Job?

EfinancialCareers

In September 2006, when I was a second-year Goldman analyst, one of my associates texted me to “show off” that he had just passed Level III of the Chartered Financial Analyst® program. I have to admit that I was jealous! I knew it was a definite plus on his resume because I’d heard that it was extremely challenging.

I thought, “If he has the time to study for the CFA [exam], I can make time too!” It was September already but I still applied for the December 2006 Level I exam. I passed. I passed the next two levels in June 2007 and June 2008, respectively.

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