Any CFA's here?

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I'm interested in trading/investment/portfolio management and was thinking about going up for it just for the education.

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Update- I'm finding a treasure trove of online finance classes that are quite a bit more user friendly than reading CFA ... (more)

TravelerMSY (Feb. 25, 2013 @ 7:13p) |

Yep they've always been out there. MIT is great, but for the good stuff you only get the slide show presentations(grr). ... (more)

dshibb (Feb. 25, 2013 @ 7:22p) |

In the micro cap space I would also consider looking at Perritt Capital Management out of Chicago. They run 2 micro cap... (more)

jackstone104 (Apr. 06, 2013 @ 5:36a) |

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I am. If that is your only goal, I would just read some books (including CFA prep, if you like). The tests are $$ (my employer paid for the tests and prep materials), and not everything in the curriculum will be relevant for your purposes (e.g., some extremely nitpicky and not always intuitive ethics rules, things specific to institutional investors, etc.). I understand the tests can be useful discipline, but it strikes me as overkill. You can pick up year or two old CFA materials (both official and unofficial) pretty inexpensively as they are always changing the curriculum ever so slightly.

any good book recommendations?

edrucker said:   I am. If that is your only goal, I would just read some books (including CFA prep, if you like). The tests are $$ (my employer paid for the tests and prep materials), and not everything in the curriculum will be relevant for your purposes (e.g., some extremely nitpicky and not always intuitive ethics rules, things specific to institutional investors, etc.). I understand the tests can be useful discipline, but it strikes me as overkill. You can pick up year or two old CFA materials (both official and unofficial) pretty inexpensively as they are always changing the curriculum ever so slightly.

I'm probably going to go through it here in the not so distant future.

The discipline aspect of it that you mentioned I sort of find more alluring especially given I'm the type that always reads, watches, and listens to what I find interesting and probably should go through the program to learn a little more of the stuff I tend to want to avoid. Plus it's a nice thing to have attached to your name in this business.

By the way how much quant work in the 3 levels?

I did the first practice test on ethics and missed 3 of 18, without reading any of the material. Seems very nit-picky about CFA ethics > securities law.

Taking the tests would just be to keep me honest. I have no dreams of employment, nor does my work history really qualify for admittance anyway. I'm 46.

dshibb said:   edrucker said:   I am. If that is your only goal, I would just read some books (including CFA prep, if you like). The tests are $$ (my employer paid for the tests and prep materials), and not everything in the curriculum will be relevant for your purposes (e.g., some extremely nitpicky and not always intuitive ethics rules, things specific to institutional investors, etc.). I understand the tests can be useful discipline, but it strikes me as overkill. You can pick up year or two old CFA materials (both official and unofficial) pretty inexpensively as they are always changing the curriculum ever so slightly.

I'm probably going to go through it here in the not so distant future.

The discipline aspect of it that you mentioned I sort of find more alluring especially given I'm the type that always reads, watches, and listens to what I find interesting and probably should go through the program to learn a little more of the stuff I tend to want to avoid. Plus it's a nice thing to have attached to your name in this business.

By the way how much quant work in the 3 levels?


I finished a few years ago now, but I'd say roughly 10% was stats/quanty and they rest was more conceptual or basic algebraic formula based.

edrucker said:   dshibb said:   edrucker said:   I am. If that is your only goal, I would just read some books (including CFA prep, if you like). The tests are $$ (my employer paid for the tests and prep materials), and not everything in the curriculum will be relevant for your purposes (e.g., some extremely nitpicky and not always intuitive ethics rules, things specific to institutional investors, etc.). I understand the tests can be useful discipline, but it strikes me as overkill. You can pick up year or two old CFA materials (both official and unofficial) pretty inexpensively as they are always changing the curriculum ever so slightly.

I'm probably going to go through it here in the not so distant future.

The discipline aspect of it that you mentioned I sort of find more alluring especially given I'm the type that always reads, watches, and listens to what I find interesting and probably should go through the program to learn a little more of the stuff I tend to want to avoid. Plus it's a nice thing to have attached to your name in this business.

By the way how much quant work in the 3 levels?


I finished a few years ago now, but I'd say roughly 10% was stats/quanty and they rest was more conceptual or basic algebraic formula based.


Alright. Good intro work into quant work? Because I sit through anything related to the first chapter of the first quant class of a Quant degree and my head is swimming so fast I think a dolphin is going to jump out of my mouth. I actually want to get stronger on the quant side, but I usually end up finding that it's either just an extension of a standard finance class or full quant without much in between. CFA a good step in the middle?

Also, I would bet this is even more rare, but eventually I want to get a CAIA mostly for a personal triumph(even though in some ways it may actually be slightly easier than the CFA). I understand that is at least a third quant and getting tougher each year(which means if I want a shot at passing I should probably get on it sometime soon).

I'd say it is pretty far from "full quant" - definitely manageable and self contained. If I recall there wasn't even anything that assumed calculus.

If you just want to learn about trading/investments/pm why would you take the exams and waste an inordinate amount of time and money learning minute things that don't even apply to your stated areas of interest (ex. you don't need to know how FASB and IASB accounting methods differ, or when you have to disclose to your employer that you are starting a side business etc)? Save your time, money, and relationships...get some good books on the particular topics that interest you and read those at your own pace and on your own terms. If you aren't convinced though, check out analystforum dot com, they will have answers to all your questions and more.

I'm studying for Level 2 right now - it's something you can do if you're interested in it. I would recommend setting aside a decent amount of time for studying depending on what your background is. What is your background?

TravelerMSY said:   I'm interested in trading/investment/portfolio management and was thinking about going up for it just for the education.
I'm coming from the trading side rather than the accounting one, but if you want to get better at trading/investing, I'd spend more time on that and only bother with the accounting and securities law side of things to the extent they're relevant to what you're trading involves. I know more about certain SEC rules than my brokers do, but it matters to me (sometimes) and they don't have to care very often.

I guess getting or studying for a CPA might be a nice luxury/recreation, but once you're good enough at trading I find that you can spend nearly all your available time making improvements or researching promising new ideas that add to the bottom line. I wouldn't mind getting a degree in tax law, but I don't think I can justify not doing 3 solid years of stock research the way things have been going for me. Maybe a few years from now I'll have enough millions I don't care or delegate lots of the research and trading I do to my (hypothetical) hedge fund's minions that I'd have time for that, but I don't see that happening soon.

edrucker said:   I'd say it is pretty far from "full quant" - definitely manageable and self contained. If I recall there wasn't even anything that assumed calculus.

You referring to CAIA here?

If so what did you think of it?

dshibb said:   edrucker said:   I'd say it is pretty far from "full quant" - definitely manageable and self contained. If I recall there wasn't even anything that assumed calculus.

You referring to CAIA here?

If so what did you think of it?


Sorry, no, still CFA.

edrucker said:   dshibb said:   edrucker said:   I'd say it is pretty far from "full quant" - definitely manageable and self contained. If I recall there wasn't even anything that assumed calculus.

You referring to CAIA here?

If so what did you think of it?


Sorry, no, still CFA.


Gotcha! Well good to know that it might finally be something that is good for someone to get a little stronger in the basic quant work.

By the way, anybody know any good books, video, or audio that is a good intro into quant work? I would probably prefer a video of some professor speaking the most, but a good book will work just fine as well.

dshibb said: Gotcha! Well good to know that it might finally be something that is good for someone to get a little stronger in the basic quant work.

By the way, anybody know any good books, video, or audio that is a good intro into quant work? I would probably prefer a video of some professor speaking the most, but a good book will work just fine as well.

My total layperson impression is that quant work and CFA requirements have very little to do with one another, if such quant work was of interest to you.. Don't quants typically come from an advanced mathematics/physics background? Perhaps wrongly, I think of quant as being short for quantitative, using (for example) sophisticated formulas for data modeling. I guess this could be done with less than an advanced degree in the above-mentioned subjects, but I bet it's fairly rare.

glxpass said:   dshibb said: Gotcha! Well good to know that it might finally be something that is good for someone to get a little stronger in the basic quant work.

By the way, anybody know any good books, video, or audio that is a good intro into quant work? I would probably prefer a video of some professor speaking the most, but a good book will work just fine as well.

My total layperson impression is that quant work and CFA requirements have very little to do with one another. Don't quants typically come from an advanced mathematics/physics background? Perhaps wrongly, I think of quant as being short for quantitative, using (for example) sophisticated formulas for data modeling. I guess this could be done with less than an advanced degree in the above-mentioned subjects, but I bet it's fairly rare.


Yeah they are people 'who come from an advanced mathematics/physics background" which is precisely the problem. Either you have a great background in mathematics and the introductory subject matter in a quant program is easily understood or you don't have that background and even the intro work in quant finance is a b!tch! I don't want to ever be a quant, but I would appreciate it if I could look at a 'no arbitrage problem' without having the feeling of "I get the general concepts, but all this Greek looks like gibberish to me". I wouldn't even consider myself bad at math(for a long time I was very, very good at it and I think that I'm still strong in advanced algebra type work, but I wasn't particularly fond of calc at all at the time and the $hit that you read in a quant book is just crazy complicated). I could use a good intro into that world that comes with a lot of the re-explaining of different Greek symbols that I never really wanted to remember or care for back in college.

I've been told that CFA has some basic quant work which is one of things I'm looking for.

Xerty you know anyone that has taken the CAIA?

Anyone else that has taken that or knows someone that does?

I am member of the AICPA does that mean anything?

ironfist99 said:   I am member of the AICPA does that mean anything?


If I remember that acronym correctly, it means you have access to decent life insurance that most people don't have.

dshibb said:   Xerty you know anyone that has taken the CAIA?

Anyone else that has taken that or knows someone that does?

Not that I'm aware of, sorry. Will let you know if any of my friends turn out to be overcredientialed that way.

i have the CFA finished in 2010
not that i care, but following their book: don't refer to people as "CFA's" - it's CFA Charterholders

I'm a level 3 Candidate and what you're suggesting is madness. Just get a decent book about trading or be ready to skip entire sections (like ethics) to focus on what you want. I sold my 1 year old books on eBay and they go for very cheap once they are outdated.

I have a co-worker with CAIA - he doesn't put it on his resume/business cards because it isn't well recognized and he didn't think it was all that helpful or difficult.

holds the charter, finished level 3 in 2007.

Back in the day the CFAI would just tell you which text books to buy, and if you are interested in any specific subjects in the program you can just read through the other materials not tested in the LOS. Now I think they just send the entire course material to you at a high price. I agree with other people in the thread. If you just want to learn, pick up some good text books.

Investment Analysis Portfolio Management by Frank Reilly was the go-to book when I was in the program and I still use it as a reference in my line of work.

Finished the exam and waiting for my 4-year experience requirement....

After July this year, I can finally claim that I have a superior stock picking ability for passing all three exams on my first try.

holv said:   Finished the exam and waiting for my 4-year experience requirement....

After July this year, I can finally claim that I have a superior stock picking ability for passing all three exams on my first try.


Remember to bold face, under-line, italicize the ", CFA" in a larger font on your business card..

OK guys you talked me out of it. I'll pick and choose the sections from the book I find helpful. A number of them are on the Internet for free anyway.

Seems lke the full charter is more applicable as a resume builder for someone on a career track.

Thanks to everyone who gave advice.

TravelerMSY said:   OK guys you talked me out of it. I'll pick and choose the sections from the book I find helpful. A number of them are on the Internet for free anyway.

Seems lke the full charter is more applicable as a resume builder for someone on a career track.

Thanks to everyone who gave advice.


You can find some interesting discussions and material in the bogleheads forums. Lot to be processed and learned over there. Kinda like FW finance on steroids without the good deals.

DamnoIT said:   TravelerMSY said:   OK guys you talked me out of it. I'll pick and choose the sections from the book I find helpful. A number of them are on the Internet for free anyway.

Seems lke the full charter is more applicable as a resume builder for someone on a career track.

Thanks to everyone who gave advice.


You can find some interesting discussions and material in the bogleheads forums. Lot to be processed and learned over there. Kinda like FW finance on steroids without the good deals.


I would never characterize Bogleheads as 'FWF on steroids'. I personally believe there are a lot more financially astute people on here posting than there are over there. Often times you don't see it because these forums are rather deal focused, but when you do see it many blow those guys out of the park.

Also, Bogleheads is extremely repetitive with 80% of threads focused on rehashing the same thing over and over and over again. Okay we get it passive investment and index funds. Don't quite get the desire of some people to constantly have their own views reinforced to them a million times over. Is it an insecurity thing?

Charterholder since 2009. I would not recommend doing it unless it's for your career.

If you want to read up on the CFA, check this forum: http://www.analystforum.com/forums/cfa-forums

However, I would agree with others that in your situation reading up on investing will prove more useful that trying to complete the exams.

Specifically, here is one thread regarding book recommendations for growth investing you might find useful.
http://www.analystforum.com/forums/investments/91316973

The reading seems to be the easy part. Already done extensive reading of most of the classics. It's time to start getting my hands dirty with the analysis going forward. I guess what I'm looking for is a sustainable edge that's low in capacity so that Wall Street isn't interested. For investing that seems to be nano-cap deep value. For trading, I dunno.

I'm kind of in a weird place in that I'm semi-retired. I'm transitioning out of a career in alternative investments similar to FWF-tactics. (PM me if you want to know exactly.) Low 7 figure net worth, but mostly illiquid. Too rich to get a job and too poor to retire for good. Motivation is a constant issue. Maybe an investment club or an internship with an accomplished full-time investor would help.

duplicate

dshibb said:   DamnoIT said:   TravelerMSY said:   OK guys you talked me out of it. I'll pick and choose the sections from the book I find helpful. A number of them are on the Internet for free anyway.

Seems lke the full charter is more applicable as a resume builder for someone on a career track.

Thanks to everyone who gave advice.


You can find some interesting discussions and material in the bogleheads forums. Lot to be processed and learned over there. Kinda like FW finance on steroids without the good deals.


I would never characterize Bogleheads as 'FWF on steroids'. I personally believe there are a lot more financially astute people on here posting than there are over there. Often times you don't see it because these forums are rather deal focused, but when you do see it many blow those guys out of the park.

Also, Bogleheads is extremely repetitive with 80% of threads focused on rehashing the same thing over and over and over again. Okay we get it passive investment and index funds. Don't quite get the desire of some people to constantly have their own views reinforced to them a million times over. Is it an insecurity thing?


The depth and technical tweaks they do would be of particular interest for someone wanting to learn about investing. It is not as creative and out of the box as methods here but has value. The scenarios and sculpting of portfolios there can give you a better understanding for approaches and methods used for people having 100k or 10M to work with. I am not going to pin a userbase against another, the disciplines differ greatly, I like it here but if I want to take another spin on an approach, do a case study, or sometimes be entertained I check it out. A compliment and by no way a replacement for FWF finance.

TravelerMSY said:   The reading seems to be the easy part. Already done extensive reading of most of the classics. It's time to start getting my hands dirty with the analysis going forward. I guess what I'm looking for is a sustainable edge that's low in capacity so that Wall Street isn't interested. For investing that seems to be nano-cap deep value. For trading, I dunno.

I'm kind of in a weird place in that I'm semi-retired. I'm transitioning out of a career in alternative investments similar to FWF-tactics. (PM me if you want to know exactly.) Low 7 figure net worth, but mostly illiquid. Too rich to get a job and too poor to retire for good. Motivation is a constant issue. Maybe an investment club or an internship with an accomplished full-time investor would help.


If that is the niche you're looking at then in regards to the other thread I created I would maybe take a look at David Nierenberg. He's really the only acclaimed large player in the micro cap value market that I'm aware of that is highly regarded. Most other big players get pushed out of micro/small cap due to their size and he really, really prefers to stay in that territory.

In terms of going down to 'nano-cap' i.e. penny stocks all I can say is good luck because that pink sheet and fraud laden land has left more financial bodies on the way side than anywhere else. There is a practical reason for it as well. There are large costs, hassles, etc. of doing an IPO and going on exchange. To a small firm with low revenues that can represent a big expenses. If you truly had a legitimately successful and growing business why would you negatively impact the position of your firm to go public? Of course if your a just a boiler room pump and dump scheme where the value is 0 and your cost of shares are near 0 than rushing into the exchange to find investors to take those shares off your hands makes complete sense. In the nano cap market the principal beneficiary(that comes at everybody else's expense) is the founders of many of these 'companies' who are able to unload valueless shares for a while until hopefully they get sent to jail.

I've worked on wall st for many years on both the buy and sell side. If your primary motivation is to become a better trader for your personal finances, the cfa will be invaluable because you'll learn that there's no way to become a better trader for your personal finances. Of course, you could save a lot of time and money and take my word for it but I'm just a random guy posting on the internet. Ditto for quant trader (as I understand you to mean it rather than the wall st. definition).

If your primary motivation is to become a better investor, you can get pretty close to optimal by investing in the vanguard target funds.

having said that, knowledge is good and with a cfa you'll definitely have a much better understanding of investing.

Update- I'm finding a treasure trove of online finance classes that are quite a bit more user friendly than reading CFA prep books and free. Plenty of offerings from Yale, MIT, etc. plus background stuff like Excel, Matlab modeling, etc.

TravelerMSY said:   Update- I'm finding a treasure trove of online finance classes that are quite a bit more user friendly than reading CFA prep books and free. Plenty of offerings from Yale, MIT, etc. plus background stuff like Excel, Matlab modeling, etc.

Yep they've always been out there. MIT is great, but for the good stuff you only get the slide show presentations(grr). Yale provides a decent amount of video, but I'm just going to come out and say it...they're professors are not that impressive and a lot of the subject matter covered is rather basic.

God I would give anything for Wharton video to become available for their hundreds and hundreds of business electives.

In the micro cap space I would also consider looking at Perritt Capital Management out of Chicago. They run 2 micro cap mutual funds (PRCGX and PREOX) that have done okay, but not great, and other institutional money for high net worth accounts, but the writings of Dr. Gerald Perritt and Michael Corbett the lead portfolio manager are rather helpful. Here's a link to their team:
http://www.perrittcap.com/institutional/team.html

I passed the Level 1 exam last year, and am due to sit for the Level 2 in June.



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