Author Post
Topic To CFA, or not to CFA . . .
@2013-05-20 09:11:19
Greetings board,

I need some advice. I'm 47 with 5 years in the investment industry. Did well with the insurance business but got burned out, took some time off and now pursueing hedge fund marketing. As a second career I'm finding this industry interesting and more my style.

My questions are:

1) At 47, will a CFA designation make a difference?
2) Is it appropriate for marketing?
3) even if I don't pursue an analysts position?
4) Is there a more appropriate designation to pursue?

Any insights would be helpful.

BTW - my experience thus far has been in financial planning and HF marketing, but I find myself drawn to the technical side.

@2013-06-15 05:19:42
1) At 47, will a CFA designation make a difference?

i would say that the cfa is great in helping to get established in finance, but you might be passed that stage

2) Is it apprpriate for marketing?

its appropriate for marketing yourself as a finance professional, but is very remotely connected to the field of marketing

3) even if I don't pursue an analysts position?

lots of finance positions are not analysts

4) Is there a more appropriate designation to pursue?

not sure

keep in mind that you might spend as many as 1,000 hours studying over the course of the program, and it takes 3 years to get, with four years of relevant experience. its not a decision made lightly. expect to be miserable while studying, no matter how much you like finance. at the earliest you will be 50 when you get it. i would advise against it unless you are bored, need a new hobby, and are fascinated with finance.
@2013-06-21 18:58:09
i think if you have an interest in learning and progressing then absolutely!! its the industry standard and well worth getting - but very hard work (time-wise)

Good Luck!
@2013-06-26 08:52:39
Your situation closely mirrors my own. I was in the insurance industry for five years, but found that I am drawn to the more technical aspects of finance (my undergrad degree was in the subject). I was contracted with one of the big three mutuals and was doing more mutual fund and stock sales than insurance--much to their disdain. At 37, I sometimes feel as if I'm a little too old to be changing career paths, but I've come to realize that's absurd. Since I already have a history with the company, I may try to hook up with my previous employer after I've achieved the CFA charter. Don't pay attention to naysayers concerning your the previous poster implied, if you have a thirst for knowledge and the drive to succeed, by all means you should pursue the CFA designation.
@2013-06-27 12:48:11
thank you for making me feel young again.
@2013-06-29 20:23:48
1) At 47, will a CFA designation make a difference?

I don't see why it wouldn't. Seeing as you have changed industry, letting your customers know that you have a solid background in finance can only help I feel.

2) Is it appropriate for marketing?

A fair few fund marketers have have this designation. It only helps in an increasingly competitive environment.

4) Is there a more appropriate designation to pursue?

I think that depends on your aims. I would do it, as it is more comprehensive as opposed to say a general BSc. in finance not to mention cheaper But wouold respect it with time to study as you can imainge a few of us are beginning to lose it.
@2013-07-29 18:12:06
1. It is better to have it than not to - but as others say at what cost?

2. Would give you something few marketers have, and is well regarded by 'professionals', so probably. Working on the buy side I am not aware of any specific marketing qualifications - but perhaps that's because I'm not supposed to!

3. As another poster said, it is a generalist qualification: can come in useful in many branches of finance.

4. Like another person said , depends on you aims.

But a question you didn't ask is 'what and how much will I learn'. While the brush strokes are laid out in the learning objectives, the detail, I have found, is somewhat disappointing. You will learn to do some basic calculations a spreadsheet can do, you will learn a way of thinking about problems by rote - which can be an important discipline - but the CFA is by no means a qualification that teaches you everything there is to know, infact many topics are incredibly outdated or plain wrong. So if you're into marketing and have a specialism that isn't just 'finance' - indeed yours isn't it is 'hedge funds', then what you talk about day-to-day on the buy as well as sell side is going to be far more advanced in scope, detail and development than the CFA, hopefully (will the ability to accrue cashflows in 20 seconds on a standard calculator really be that import, lather rinse repeat for every topic in the CFA). The CFA is a generalist qualification - you have a chosen specialism - while the CFA is nice to have, the cost of acquiring it, in time, could probably be better spent reading up and self researching 'hedge fund' topics - I think this will benefit your work and general impact far more than 3 letters which don't mean nearly as much now as they did 10 years ago.
@2019-09-24 07:41:58
There is a man named Richard Wilson whom can you easily find with google. He is a very knowledgeable, very experienced and very helpful member of the hedge fund industry, specifically in the marketing sector, and I think if you reach out to him with your concerns he will help. I think the CFA charter would only help your authenticity but I do wonder if there would be more cost effective paths for you to allocate time to.