Dear Chartered Accountant,
Congratulations! You have passed one of the most arduous exams in the country and have become a part of an elite club. You are now an expert in accounting, taxation, audit, law or/ and finance. According to Mr Jain, a CA & CFA qualification, “be it formulating the BS of a company or computing the EPS under any complexity, CAs can do it all easily”!Big Four auditing firms, taxation advisory companies, banks and others are ready to offer you a great career.
When it comes to financial services (like investment banking, equity analysis, advisory, trading), CAs lag in leaving a mark. Global banks do not mention CA as a required qualification in their job profiles.
Well, through the following questions, Mr Jain provides some food for thought:
- What happens to the leverage ratio of the firm when it decides to change the inventory valuation method from FIFO to weighted average?
- Where is the standard deviation practically used?
- How is a floating rate bond valued, especially when interest rates become negative (for example in Japan)?
Even after successfully completing CA, did you have the answers to these at your fingertips?
Here is another thought. Have you ever dreamt of becoming the “Wolf of Wall Street” or working in the treasury of a multinational bank? Well, in that case, a chartered accountancy may not be the right platform for you to take off from.
So what are your options?
Well, this is where Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) comes in.
The Chartered Financial Analyst is a globally recognized professional credential and is offered by the CFA Institute based in America. It has 3 levels which can be completed in 2- 2.5 years.
Each level has 10 subjects that cover all the possible facets of financial learning. The subjects are structured in line with the most relevant, practical and updated knowledge. Additionally, each topic requires analytical thinking and has a practical approach. The examination pattern is structured to test the depth of knowledge, logical understanding and emotional mindset of a candidate. All these give an edge to a CFA over other financial professions. Consequently, global corporations acknowledge and accept that CFAs can lead their organizations.
The advantage of doing CFA® Program after CA
1. The world is your oyster
CFA® Program opens the door to job opportunities in investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, equity research and all other financial services. If you are interested in working as a research analyst in credit research, corporate finance official, wealth management associate or a portfolio manager etc., then CFA might help you to score brownie points. According to Mr. Yogesh Sakunia, an equity research analyst, “a CA might get you the job, but a CFA will keep you there.” This is the reason Mr. Sakunia enrolled for a CFA certification while working in Crisil soon after completing his CA. The following data can shed more light on recognition of CFA across globe:
2. The floor belongs to you
It is because of the rising demand for financial analyst professionals that many CAs and MBAs choose to complete the course. Currently, the trend at some of the top companies like Crisil, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, HSBC, CitiGroup and others, is to hire a charter because of their assured competence. Furthermore, the extra edge that the certification provides helps you to become industry-ready and cash in on the opportunities.
3. Fantastic jobs and where to find them
There is no dearth of jobs for qualified individuals in this ever-growing financial sector. You can look at job profiles from probationary officer to managing director&chief executive officer, project finance manager, equity and fixed income trade specialists, compliance officer, and many others. Additionally, most popular international hubs are banks like ABN AMRO, Deutsche Bank, Barclays Plc, N.A. Dresdner Bank, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Standard Chartered Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland etc. The following data from naukri.com shows the number of jobs currently offered in India:
4. All about the money
Many people are under the impression that working in the financial sector is all about money. Well, it is partly true! According to the Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley- “the Indian economy will more than double to $5 trillion in a matter of few years”.With opening up of economies and globalization of operations, the demand for qualified/semi-qualified Charter is expected to rise considerably in India. Currently, a person who has completed a level I certification gets a mean salary of INR 4.5-5.5 Lakhs while a complete charter holder (one who has completed all III levels) enjoys a starting salary of INR 6-15 Lakhs.
6. Becoming a complete finance person
Since you are already a chartered accountant, it shouldn’t be too difficult to crack Level I of the CFA® Program exam. With the right guidance and by putting your best foot forward, it should be a cakewalk. According to Mr Sakunia, “Approximately 60% of the CA syllabus is reflected in the Level I examination. Therefore, most CA professionals who want to get into Investment Finance should go for CFA® Program”.
To sum up, the combination of CFA and CA gives you an all-around knowledge and global recognition. The rigorous curriculum will add deeper layers to your training. That is what distinguishes great finance professionals from the good ones. Your learning curve will improve sharply and this will enable you to meet high commitment levels. As Mr Jain (a fixed income and interest rate dealer) described, “the combination of CA and CFA qualification makes a person the most desired candidate forefront-office (trading/advisory) roles. Typically, investment banks/treasuries prefer an MBA (with engineering) for the same because of their analytical thinking. However, these candidates lack sound financial understanding. This is where a financially sound candidate (CA) who has analytical skills and knows how to apply them practically(CFA) comes into the picture.”
So, why wait?
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