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#1 CFA?
13/04/2010 15:15



I know this is a consulting forum but people generally seem to have a lot of knowledge on various qualifications so thought I'd seek help from here.

I have 3.5 years' experience in corp recovery / insolvency and currently work outside London. I qualified as an ACA in 2009 and want to move down to London for personal reasons but it has proved to be difficult to date (no I do NOT want to take a product control role).

So thought I might give CFA level 1 a go, but unfortunately there are no courses being held here so I have the option of:

- Distance learning

- Saturday courses (will have to travel down to London for this but at least I won't need to take annual leave to attend the courses)

Which one would be the best option? I thought many people opt for the distance learning option but apparently my friends working at banks get sent to evening courses and it's really tough to pass if you take the distance learning option - is that true?

Also, having had no FS audit experience, if I have ACA and CFA level 1, would I have a good chance of getting into roles such as equity research or other investment roles? Or am I better off trying for a grad role?

Thanks for your help in advance.

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#2 RE: CFA?
14/04/2010 19:44

Bob to anon (#1)


I am not sure CFA Level 1 would add much to your CV really, given your experience and qualifications, unless you want to pursue a career as an investment analyst.

It would not make much of a difference if you want to keep working in corporate recovery or corporate finance, really.

Also, you should not aim for a grad role in my opinion. With an ACA I doubt many firms would consider you as a entry-level analyst.

Having said that, the CFA qualification is a great asset and I think that with your background you should not have any problem going through the curriculum by yourself, without the need to attend any courses.

I would encourage you to take a look at the curriculum and give it a go by yourself. I am sure you will be fine.

Lastly, please bear in mind that if you start, you should probably finish, and taking into account that you already have a professional qualification, you know the effort it takes to get one (especially if you get no study leave!).

All the best.

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#3 RE: CFA?
16/04/2010 00:06

anon to Bob (#2)

Hi Bob

Thanks for your advice, very much appreciated. I am thinking of getting into investments so think CFA should add value to my CV. Had a brief discussion with a friend, leaning towards distance learning now, apparently Level 1 has a strong focus on accounting so was told I should be okay doing it alone.

One more question, with CFA, do employers care whether you have first time passes or not? It matters for ACA but not sure if it's the same with CFA.

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#4 RE: CFA?
16/04/2010 07:48

Bob to anon (#3)

You are welcome.

If you are getting into investments then CFA is a great asset.

Contrary to ACA, CFA candidates rarely get any study leave, so in a way, employers do not care that much about whether you have first time passes or not. They know how hard it is to work full time and pass a challenging exam. Obviously it is important, but everyone knows than only 30%-40% of CFA candidates pass each exam, so it is not a big deal if you fail one or two levels (once). If you fail a couple of times, you should definitely reconsider your options.

But as I said, with your background you should be absolutely fine. The only things that might be new to you at level I would be statistics, economics and ethics, and perhaps a bit about investments, but I am sure it will not be a problem if you put the hours.

All the best


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#5 RE: CFA?
16/04/2010 10:11

Ned Flanders to Bob (#4)


I felt that the underlying message from your posting is that you want the CFA to almost break away from a quasi-accounting background and to avoid being pigeonholed by recruiters (especially your reference to a product control role)

Whilst agreeing with the logic I'd recommend doing one thing. Try applying now for a role you'd like to target post-CFA and see what the response is. You might find that you don't need the CFA after all and that the ACA is a good enough differentiator.

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#6 RE: CFA?
16/04/2010 12:26

anon to Ned Flanders (#5)

Hi Ned

You are spot on! I have been pigeonholed by recruiters and I think CFA might help alleviate the problem.

I have applied to a few investment roles but it has not resulted in any positive responses. A lot of the employers/recruiters specify experience in investments/sector knowledge or big4 background. I work for a corporate recovery specialist therefore have none of the above...

I have a couple more applications I am currently working on, but thought will have a look at CFA at the same time, since if I wish to enroll in time for December sitting, if I decide to do it.

Thanks for your encouraging comment. I had initially thought ACA would open many doors for me once fully qualified, but it hasn't happened yet due to the economy etc - was rather disheartened about the whole situation but maybe this is a good opportunity to really think about what I want to achieve in my career ultimately.

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