CFA Exam – What is it? Why do it? How to prepare

IT would be easy to forget that there are many fine people out there who have never heard of this “CFA Program”.

What is the CFA Program?

The CFA Institute describes the CFA Program as a graduate-level course for investment professionals. The course covers an extremely broad range of topics including:

  • ethics,
  • quantitative methods (read: basic statistics/econometrics),
  • economics,
  • financial statement analysis,
  • corporate finance,
  • portfolio management,
  • equity investments,
  • fixed income investments,
  • derivatives, and
  • alternative investments.

Why become a CFA Charterholder?

If you are a practicing or aspiring consultant, is it worth becoming a CFA Charterholder? In my opinion, CFA Level 1 is definitely worth doing as it provides a very good overview of economics, finance and asset management which will help you understand how a company should manage its assets. If you want to be able to provide a company with comprehensive advice, it is useful (if not essential) to understand how to value a business, deal with its assets, identify appropriate investment opportunities, manage cash flows, and obtain financing.

Preparing for the CFA Exam

Having just completed the exam, I thought it would be useful to provide some thoughts on how to prepare for the CFA Level 1 exam. However, I realise that this job has already been done.

James Cox provides a concise and easy to follow study plan for passing the CFA level one exam. If you are a CFA candidate, or considering becoming a CFA candidate, it is well worth reading.

Rejecting the rejection letter

IN THESE troubled economic times it may be difficult to obtain an offer of employment.  There are lots of skilled people competing for a small number of jobs.

Be bold, stand up for yourself, and don’t take no for an answer!

Dear Employer,

Thank you for your letter rejecting my application for employment with
your firm.

I have received rejections from an unusually large number of well
qualified organisations. With such a varied and promising spectrum of
rejections from which to select, it is impossible for me to consider
them all. After careful deliberation, then, and because a number of
firms have found me more unsuitable, I regret to inform you that I am
unable to accept your rejection.

Despite your company’s outstanding qualifications and previous
experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does
not meet with my requirements at this time. As a result, I will be
starting employment with your firm on the first of the month.

Circumstances change and one can never know when new demands for
rejection arise. Accordingly, I will keep your letter on file in case
my requirements for rejection change.

Please do not regard this letter as a criticism of your qualifications
in attempting to refuse me employment. I wish you the best of luck in
rejecting future candidates.


Tom Spencer

(Source unknown)