Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by roscko, May 29, 2006.

  1. roscko


    Some say you don't need it and others swear by it... My question is to the ones that at least passed level 1, did it help you in your career? Which exam prep do you recommend?

  2. I'm taking L3 this year. Let me ask you this, what's the downside, what's the upside?

    Downside is money and time.

    It's less expensive than an MBA. Worst that can happen is you lose a little time and some money (less than $5K all-in, depending on what you use/buy to study with) and you actually learn something. Upside, it gives you knowledge, respect and helps you in your career. That's the way I see it. It's a low-risk trade with an assymetric payoff.

    I've used both Schweser and Stalla -- which are the two standards in terms of study notes. (I just bought the notes, which run about $300 or so -- didn't use any courses, etc). I'd say they are quite comparable.
  3. P.S. In regards to the "You don't need it response" I would also ask: Do you need to graduate from high school to be successful? No. Dave, the founder of fast-food chain Wendy's didn't. But, does it stack the odds in your favor? Yes. Does going to college stack the odds in your favor? Yes. Does getting a CFA give you an additional edge? No doubt.

    In my opinion, it's all about creating options. Better to turn down the job that requires the CFA than to be unable to land the interview in first place.
  4. I got a business card from a guy that had the most letters following his name I had ever seen....He doesn't know jack about trading....

    Michael B.

    P.S. These letters are expensive and also must be maintained with yearly licensing fees...its getting ridiculous
  5. Maybe that's because he's a vascular surgeon...


    Yeah, letters behind a name alone don't mean anything. Barron's had an article (or was it Forbes) about this topic. It outlined which designations were actually meaningful. CFA was one of about three. I think CPA was another and I can't remember the last one (CFP?).

    I guess my earlier comments should disclaim that a CFA is only helpful depending on how you want to use it. Is it helpful if you want to be a buy-side or sell-side analyst? Yes. An i-banker? Maybe. An investor? Yes. A trader? Depends on your time-frame and what you're trading.
  6. cknucks


    I have it. My career is in corporate finance for a mid-size i-bank, and it has proved to be very helpful.

    As for my trading, I've found many of the concepts taught on the exam, especially on level 3, with regards to structuring hedging strategies and determining risk on debt futures positions to be extremely helpful. There are dozens of ways express a trading idea that can make a few bucks. Studying for the designation gave me a few ideas that I otherwise might not have happened upon.

    That being said, you don't need the CFA to discover these ideas. I could've read Fabozzi and gotten to some of the same conclusions.

    In the end, it will definitely help a corporate finance or securities analysis career, but if you're going into sales and trading, it might not be worth all the aggravation and loss of 3 springs studying for the exams.
  7. some good points..

    the way i see it:

    generally, in the banking sector there is an academic hyper-inflation.. to be a trader in some places u might even need a phD.

    I've seen many people in London who talk about you don't even need a degree to be successful in trading etc. they laugh at people with MBAs.

    the truth is, you can't ignore the trend. at end of the day, if you apply to a job with 100 others applying, everything is inflated and those with the 'extras' have the edge.

    this over-qualified theme is a big issue in todays financial sector. there are people with good masters who r in back office operations. and i quote "jobs that even monkeys can do".

    but this is simply because lot of people want these "Good jobs" or more accurately, jobs that pay good money, may not be the best jobs in the world.

    note this however. there are some fund management firms that specifically require you to have the CFAs etc.. and if u don't have it they'll pay you to sit it and you MUST pass it. it's not a choice.

    it very much depends on where you're applying to. there are some places in london that say it don't matter if u don't have ABC. but once u turn up to the interview round, you'll see everyone has ABC and those that make it to the next round generally have XYZ too.

    surely it will also help you in the longer run. you're ultimately selling yourself, and whatever 'extras' you have, it a selling point u can highlight. it dont matter if its CFA or bla bla bla.. wot it reflects is motivation, determination and committment.

    my advice is, if you can afford it, if you have the time to study it and pass it, whether be it CFA or whatever that can make u stand out go for it.

    CFA is one of the best professional qualifications u can have and is internationally recognised.

    going back to the success topic, the underlying truth is, having a drivers licence does not necessary mean you drive better than someone who doesn't. that is true. many top traders left school at 16. but that was then. u need to follow the industry. unless you'r the CEOs son or the luckiest guy on earth, you really need everything u can put ur hands on to.

    hope that helps.
  8. roscko


    Thanks guys for all comments..

    Any of you got better job offers as you were completing the charter?

  9. Yeah - I notice the same correlation when I see someone's name on ET and they have 9,000+ posts.
  10. Hey great post there snoop...Thanks...

    #10     May 29, 2006