The CFA study program encompasses many areas of the financial industry, as well as a strong emphasis on ethics and professional responsibility. As we’ve discussed briefly, the CFA candidate must pass three exam levels. The CFA Institute recommends that each candidate spend at least 250 hours in preparation for each level. The curriculum is self-study, which means that the candidate can pace him or herself according to his or her own comfort level. However, as exams are only given on certain dates, the candidate must create the pace to fit within those timelines. From the organizational perspective, the fact that the program is self-paced is very important. The candidate that completes all three levels successfully will prove that he or she is dedicated, determined, and goal-oriented. From an education perspective, we know that any self-paced program requires this dedication and determination, not to mention the discipline to make study a part of every day life.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 19, 2012 NO COMMENTS
The CFA designation, or Chartered Financial Analyst, is a high-level certification for professionals in the areas of investment and financial analysis. The program consists of self-study, along with three exam levels that measure almost every level of learning. Professionals must also meet criteria for time in the profession, as well as a high level of competency and ethics. The CFA program, offered by the CFA Institute, is global in its reach and has been in existence since 1962. In the financial world, a CFA designation is considered to be among the highest of professional designations. In view of these criteria, the CFA designation is beneficial for both the individual and the organization in several ways, including the curriculum, the CFA standards and recognition, competencies, and in an overall sense at the organizational level. Before we examine each piece, let’s discuss in more detail what the CFA designation means, which professionals hold this designation, and what organizations look for CFA designated charterholders.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 12, 2012 NO COMMENTS
Becoming a certified professional in any field can be a rigorous process. Some designations require classroom study and preparation, while others simply require that a designee pass an exam based on his or her knowledge. Curriculum is also important, but also based on the field. If the field is a dynamic one, such as the financial industry, then a curriculum should be dynamic to match the field. In terms of the risk management certifications, both PRMIA and GARP offer self study programs, designed to be “at pace” with the individual. But both organizations offer examinations that are rigorous and that will test the ability and knowledge of the candidate.
The PRM program is comprised of four exams. As we discussed, PRMIA does not require that a candidate take all four exams at one time, nor does the organization require that the exams be taken in a specific order. PRM Exam I covers theory related to finance, as well as financial instruments and markets. In Exam II, the candidate will need to understand the mathematics that accompanies risk measurement. Exam III is a test of common practices in the risk management filed, and exam IV covers professional standards, conduct, ethics, and bylaws as set by PRMIA.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 5, 2012 NO COMMENTS
It’s very difficult to ensure that the individuals you hire into your organization have a recognized standard of knowledge, experience, and competency. You can certify internally, but this type of program does not have much meaning outside of your organization. That’s why it’s necessary to look for external certification sources. And in the case of risk management, the three certifications are highly visible, recognized, and set standards that will most likely improve your organization. Let’s look at how the PRM, FRM, and ERP standards look, and then discuss how those standards might impact your organization.
First, the Professional Risk Manager certification from PRMIA seems to have a high level of recognition throughout the industry. PRMIA defines its certification as the “benchmark” in global risk management. To begin with, the organization gives partial credit toward certification if you hold another designation, such as Actuarial Fellow, Actuarial Associate, or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), to name a few.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On April 1, 2012 NO COMMENTS
Professional certifications are important to both the individuals that obtain them as well as the organizations in which those individuals work. In the financial field, personnel involved in risk management can obtain several important certifications from two major international groups. In today’s uncertain financial environment, professional certifications can go a long way to calm investors and regulators, as well as restore faith in the financial system in general.