Contributed by: Angela Palacios, CFP®
This summer Nick completed his first milestone on his way to completing his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation. Nick started as an intern with the Center in May 2014, eventually joining us full time after graduating from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) with a degree in Economics and Statistics. Almost immediately after starting full time he began the long road to achieving his CFA® designation.
What is the CFA® designation?
The curriculum is designed to build a strong educational foundation of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills. Upon completion the average designation holder has spent roughly 1,000 hours studying!
There are 3 levels that Nick will have to pass and several other hurdles before he can utilize the designation.
- CFA level 1 – Tests your basic knowledge and comprehension focused on investment tools and ethics. Congrats Nick on passing this level on your first try!
- CFA level 2 – Tests more complex analysis along with a focus on valuing assets.
- CFA level 3 – Requires a synthesis of all the concepts and analytical methods in a variety of applications for effective portfolio management and wealth planning.
Along with passing the courses and the exams, Nick must have four years of work experience in investment decision making which he is on his way to earning with his role as Investment Research Associate here at The Center and as an Investment Representative with Raymond James. He must also agree to follow a rigorous Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct and become a member of the CFA institute. After obtaining the designation he will be required to complete continuing education to hold on to it.
Is this easy?
While Nick may have made it seem easy to the rest of us, it is far from simple. It is a popular designation to seek out. Each year nearly 200,000 people from all over the world register to take one of the exams always offered in June (level 1 additionally offered in December) and 100,000 will fail because it is extremely difficult! In June 2016, only 43% of people taking level 1 passed!
It is not uncommon to see Nick at his desk early throughout the week studying! It took him roughly 300 hours of studying to pass Level 1. When I asked Nick his thoughts on the program so far he said:
It felt great to pass level 1 my first time through, and it definitely helped having the support of everyone at The Center for extra motivation (and those extra few days off to study as the test approached).
We will continue to be there cheering him on while preparing for the last two levels. His education already adds more depth to The Center’s Investment Department knowledge in order to serve our clients! Way to go Nick!
Angela Palacios, CFP® is the Director of Investments at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Angela specializes in Investment and Macro economic research. She is a frequent contributor The Center blog.