CFA Organizational Benefits

There are numerous benefits to both the organization and the individual in relation to the CFA designation. We have discussed many of these benefits, but let’s take a look at the benefits that the organization can gain and utilize if you are looking to bring in CFA charterholders. Keep in mind that you may also be considering moving some of your existing associates through the CFA designation, so all of the organizational benefits we are discussing would apply in either situation.
First, let’s examine the overall organizational benefit, the level playing field. Every organization looks for this leveling in terms of departments or individuals. Where it’s applicable, the CFA designation serves as a “leveler”. For example, you may place the designation as a preference in hiring. As other associates begin to leave the applicable areas, the new hires with CFA designations will take their places. On the other hand, you may want to place existing employees into the CFA program in order to topgrade them. In the process of topgrading, you may even weed out “B” or “C” level players within the organization. When you achieve the ultimate goal of having all applicable positions filled with CFA’s, you’ll have the people with the highest level of knowledge and competency.
As a natural segue from the level playing field, you can also consider building your leadership bench in relation to CFA charterholders. Financial organizations are probably running at a very lean level at this point in time. In view of that situation, organizational development leaders are looking for candidates who combine leadership with functional and technical competency. In other words, why hire for “or” if you can hire for both? With this need for leadership, we can look back at the expressed and implied competencies of the CFA program. Associates who are hired with the CFA designation or successfully complete the program have the competencies that are in need for your leadership pool. Not only this, you can look at your CFA charterholder pool and choose the high potentials for grooming into leadership positions in other areas of the organization, as well as your high professional leaders who can lead the areas they are already in.
The leadership bench is important, but let’s discuss retention of those associates. First, when you hire and top grade to the CFA level, you’re getting employees who are ready to do the work and most likely are ready to be promoted. This in itself is a retention tool. But in addition to this, the people who are hired in as CFA’s and the people who obtain their CFA designation from within the organization will be the ones who are in the right positions. These associates know what types of positions they are interested in and you know that you can utilize them in those positions. With a high-grade certification like the CFA, there won’t be much doubt from the organization or the individual when it comes to taking positions, staying in them, and getting promoted.
We have already discussed competencies in great detail in this series. But remember on an organizational level that the CFA designation will ensure leadership competencies. It does not seem possible that a CFA charterholder could make the decision to enter the program, stick to it, and move into an organizational position without applying his or her leadership competency. On top of that, the curriculum and the network that comes with the CFA designation will ensure that technical and functional competencies are introduced to the organization – and remain there in the form of retention, knowledge, and up-to-date information from around the world.
One of the issues we haven’t discussed is marketing in relation to the CFA designation. From and organizational standpoint, think about all of the areas we have to market: customers, employees, new employees. Think about who we have to satisfy: employees, regulators, shareholders, customers. In terms of marketing, showing one or two professional designations is probably not enough in any organization. But what if you can say that a certain percentage of your organization’s associates hold a “gold standard” financial designation? From customer perspective, this will create credibility at a time when credibility is much in doubt in the financial world. But what about employees and potential employees? The fact that the CFA designation is sought after will show them that the organization is concerned about knowledge, ability, and ethics on every level. Plus, consider the increased performance that may come with the knowledge level of CFA designees. This can only serve to satisfy the organization’s stakeholders and shareholders.
We usually don’t think in terms of marketing when it comes to regulators, but it’s also something to consider in regard to the CFA designation. Because there is a certain level of regulatory approval involved with the CFA program, oversight agencies may be inclined to believe that your organization is interested and concerned about its level of ethics, professionalism, and technical ability. Marketing with the CFA designation can be very powerful for the organization on many fronts if it is used properly.
In this series we’ve looked at the benefits of the CFA designation from both the organizational and individual levels. We began by defining the CFA designation and determining what qualifications are key for entering the program. We have analyzed the advanced curriculum and learning methods put forth by the CFA Institute, as well as the recognition and standards of the CFA program in relation to the financial industry. We have also defined competencies required by the CFA program, both at the expressed and implied levels. Because of all of these benefits, we can see clearly that bringing in CFA charterholders or putting existing associates through the CFA program where applicable is a good move in many different ways.

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Bryant Nielson is heavily involved in the Corporate Training and Leadership and Talent space. He currently is the Managing Director for CapitalWave Inc and the training division, Financial Training Solutions. He brings a diverse corporate experience of organizational development, learning and talent development, and corporate training, that also includes personal coaching of top sales individuals and companies of all sizes. For the prior 4 years, Bryant was the Managing Director and Leadership and Talent Manager for Lengthen Your Stride! LLC. In this position, Nielson was the developer of all of the courses for MortgageMae University (MMU), the Realtor Development Center (RDC), and of Lengthen Your Stride! (LYS). In that position, he developed material, refined over many years of use and active training, and condensed the coursework and training to be high impact, natural learning, and comprehensive. Bryant has over 27 years of Senior Management experience encompasses running his own Training and mortgage firm, in New York City. He strongly believes that the corporate training is not to be static but should 'engage and inspire' students to greater productivity and performance.