CFA / / CFP Designations

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NumbersGeek's picture
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Joined: 2009-06-03

Should i? or is it a waste of time and money? Lots of people say I should focus on prospecting for the first 3 years, 500day war etc.

Squash1's picture
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Joined: 2008-11-19

Can you produce yet? If the answer to that question is no... stop worrying about it and go prospect.. If the answer is yes and you have completed the 500 days and are at $25Mil.. then go for it.

Moraen's picture
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Joined: 2009-01-22

When you start the CFA, the CFA Institute sends you postcards that you are supposed to send to your friends and family, which explains why you won't be talking to them for three to five years.

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

Every hour spent studying puts you an hour closer to failing out of the business.    CFA/CFP/ABC/DEF may all be helpful, but none of them should be pursued until after you survival is assured.  This is absolutely a business in which one must survive before they can thrive.   CFA/CFP/ABC/DEF may increase your chance to thrive, but will absolutely decrease your chance of surviving.

rcloug01's picture
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Joined: 2009-02-27

Does anyone think it would improve chances of survival if someone came from a related field with the CFP? Do you think it improves your appeal to prospects at all?

BerkshireBull's picture
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rcloug01 wrote:Does anyone think it would improve chances of survival if someone came from a related field with the CFP? Do you think it improves your appeal to prospects at all?What related field are you doing financial planning for 3 years in prior to becoming a Registered Rep that makes you qualified to get your CFP?

CashFlow's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-05

This is a sales job so those that succeed are the ones who can present solutions and plans to clients and prospects so they entrust you with more of their assets.  The credentials are great, but definately not necessary.  Don't waste your time until you get a book built.  I have been in the business for over 15 years and I am just now getting ready for test 5 of the CFP.  I truly believe in getting the certification, but also think that it will only take me to another level in a conversation.  The vast majority of prospects and clients could really care less what certification I have.  They look in your eye and make a decision on whether you are truly helping them accomplish what they are trying to do.
 
Bottom line focus on building a book and developing relationships.

Omar's picture
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Joined: 2009-03-19

Unless your planning on becoming an analyst, why bother with the CFA? I was once on the analyst career path and took to the first two CFA exams. I admit, I learned a lot, but that designation won't do you much good for your business. The time spent studying for that exam is better spent on marketing or prospecting efforts.

Moraen's picture
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Joined: 2009-01-22

I disagree. I think the CFA makes you a better investment advisor. The CFP makes you a better planner. ABC's make you a better linguist, and DEF's make you a better communicator.

That said, it doesn't mean D!CK if you don't produce.

Insideman's picture
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Joined: 2008-02-28

Moraen wrote:I disagree. I think the CFA makes you a better investment advisor. The CFP makes you a better planner....I agree.Most of the brokers I know got their CFP after a few years in the business, once they had an established book to bring in production. I understand it has a nice curriculum that isn't insanely difficult after you've spent few years in the business.However, the CFA is tough... no f%$&ing around. Only something like 33% pass the first exam. Take the CFA if you want to be more of a money manager or a portfolio manager for your clients, not a planner.

rcloug01's picture
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Joined: 2009-02-27

Salaried job, retirement planning mostly. Some incentives but only 25% of total comp. No prospecting was required. I have the experience and knowledge just never had to prospect before. I have had my 6,63 & 65 since 2001, 2001 & 2003 respectively. I found out today I passed the CFP exam in July. Started with Merrill last Friday so I will learn soon enough if it helps.

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

If you think that it will help, it will help.  

NumbersGeek's picture
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Joined: 2009-06-03

rcloug01 wrote:Salaried job, retirement planning mostly. Some incentives but only 25% of total comp. No prospecting was required. I have the experience and knowledge just never had to prospect before. I have had my 6,63 & 65 since 2001, 2001 & 2003 respectively. I found out today I passed the CFP exam in July. Started with Merrill last Friday so I will learn soon enough if it helps. Merrill is the reason why I asked. The Financial analyst that I worked for at Merrill recommended the CFP over the CFA. But I think there would be a point in time where I should get both. In the event that I do not have a fin analyst to conduct analysis for me. Both of the FAs that I interned for had MBAs in Finance, former barrons top 1000 advisors, $750mm AUM, and they charged a pretty penny but they were good, risk takers. Were good with numbers but of course, being an expert is not a requirement. Merrill requires that their reps join a CFP training program upon entry. So I thought it might be good to throw it out there and get some feedback from ya'll.Thanks, those 9 hours a week of studying would definitely be better set aside for prospecting/doorknocking.

franklin21's picture
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Joined: 2009-08-23

NumbersGeek wrote:

rcloug01 wrote:Salaried job, retirement planning mostly. Some incentives but only 25% of total comp. No prospecting was required. I have the experience and knowledge just never had to prospect before. I have had my 6,63 & 65 since 2001, 2001 & 2003 respectively. I found out today I passed the CFP exam in July. Started with Merrill last Friday so I will learn soon enough if it helps. Merrill is the reason why I asked. The Financial analyst that I worked for at Merrill recommended the CFP over the CFA. But I think there would be a point in time where I should get both. In the event that I do not have a fin analyst to conduct analysis for me. Both of the FAs that I interned for had MBAs in Finance, former barrons top 1000 advisors, $750mm AUM, and they charged a pretty penny but they were good, risk takers. Were good with numbers but of course, being an expert is not a requirement. Merrill requires that their reps join a CFP training program upon entry. So I thought it might be good to throw it out there and get some feedback from ya'll.Thanks, those 9 hours a week of studying would definitely be better set aside for prospecting/doorknocking. I assumed you were either a a extremely new newbie with statements such as "You can sell 5 policies in 2 days." Ahh, it all makes sense now.  Good luck bud. Your in for a RUDE awakening. Forget the CFA, CFP,MBA, etc. because if you don't make it past the next 6 months all your going to be earning is a SOL designation.

san fran broker's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-25

Both designations are appropriate for financial advisors. The issue is the assumed wealth of each clientele -
 
The CFA basically teaches you how to run larger pools of money. A significant portion of the curriculum includes the running of money for individuals. The running of money for people with enough to live off as a perpetuity is very similar to institutions.
 
The CFP teaches you how to analyze and address risks using best practice techniques. It doesn't teach you how to invest money, other than to apply basic modern portfolio techniques to select funds, etfs, subaccounts or SMAs.
 
So, he focus of the CFA, as it applies to what it calls "private wealth management", is against a backdrop of abundance. All of the material assumes that the client is very wealthy and has no particular need for budgeting, insurance products (except as some type of hedging tool) and that trust planning is largely handled by someone else. The use of leverage, borrowing and tax efficiency are the major considerations other than investment selection.
The CFP curriculum, in contrast, assumes a more "mass affluent" clientele, that must make certain compromises to achieve their goals and for whom catastophic risk must be addressed with insurance products, and for whom cost savings are somewhat of a consideration - making the advisor more of a generalist. This is particularly evident in the sections on estate planning - where the assumption is that most of the planning will be handled by the advisor.
In contrast, the CFA materials assume that the client can spend the substantial amounts of money that consulting and education by an attorney would cost. Part of this relates to the commonality of estate planning benefits for executives and the generous benefits packages that top employees in most large firms receive. Most C level employees in a Fortune 100 company will have unlimited use of an attorney for preparing their ep docs, unlimited use of an accountant for tax prep, huge insurance benefits. And all from the most elite firms (PWC, KPMG, etc). There's not much "planning" required because the issue is really how much income can / does the client want to spend, as opposed to "how are we going to pay for this."
Consequently, the CFP is more appropriate for the vast majority of advisors.

Gaddock's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

My manager told me if I start the CPA or CFP during my fist four years he would fire me.
 
No I totally understand why. Not to mention NOT ONE PERSON has asked me if I had either.

BerkshireBull's picture
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Joined: 2009-06-10

Quote: I assumed you were either a a extremely new newbie with statements such as "You can sell 5 policies in 2 days." Ahh, it all makes sense now.  Good luck bud. Your in for a RUDE awakening. Forget the CFA, CFP,MBA, etc. because if you don't make it past the next 6 months all your going to be earning is a SOL designation. In reference to your previous post, I'll raise you and say for most clients:Literate Salesman > Illiterate Rube

san fran broker's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-25

Gaddock - your manager is essentially correct. All the designations in the world won't matter if you don't survive. Almost everyone I know who took the CFA exams in they're first few years ended up leaving the business. That being said, all of them ended up doing pretty well.
 
The same isn't true for the CFP - most did survive and it tended to be a value to their business. In fact, the most successful younger advisor that I know built his practice while earning the CFP and CIMA (he already had an MBA from Chicago and had completed the first 2 levels of the CFA when he entered the business.)
 
I think the key issue is whether someone allows the training to distract them from the prospecting they need to do.
 
There is a logic to getting the CFA as a fallback, though. Of the guys that I knew who got their CFA, all of them still work in finance and tend to have high paying jobs (relative to your average FA). The CFA is pretty much money in the bank - I don't know anyone who doesn't make $150k a year or more who has it.
 
The value of designations, education is primarily demonstrated in competitive situations. FAs that have them will tend to make a big deal about them. But, utimately, the vast majority of clients will pick the advisor they like the most.

Gaddock's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

I'm working on the CMT. I figure it will help me with my primary mission, making money.

NumbersGeek's picture
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franklin21 wrote:

NumbersGeek wrote:

rcloug01 wrote:Salaried job, retirement planning mostly. Some incentives but only 25% of total comp. No prospecting was required. I have the experience and knowledge just never had to prospect before. I have had my 6,63 & 65 since 2001, 2001 & 2003 respectively. I found out today I passed the CFP exam in July. Started with Merrill last Friday so I will learn soon enough if it helps. Merrill is the reason why I asked. The Financial analyst that I worked for at Merrill recommended the CFP over the CFA. But I think there would be a point in time where I should get both. In the event that I do not have a fin analyst to conduct analysis for me. Both of the FAs that I interned for had MBAs in Finance, former barrons top 1000 advisors, $750mm AUM, and they charged a pretty penny but they were good, risk takers. Were good with numbers but of course, being an expert is not a requirement. Merrill requires that their reps join a CFP training program upon entry. So I thought it might be good to throw it out there and get some feedback from ya'll.Thanks, those 9 hours a week of studying would definitely be better set aside for prospecting/doorknocking. I assumed you were either a a extremely new newbie with statements such as "You can sell 5 policies in 2 days." Ahh, it all makes sense now.  Good luck bud. Your in for a RUDE awakening. Forget the CFA, CFP,MBA, etc. because if you don't make it past the next 6 months all your going to be earning is a SOL designation. I was just asking about whether I should allocate time aside towards some alphabet soup. An MBA may not help much FA wise. But you do know of the type of market at a good MBA school... don't cha? Average salary of UCLA's MBA grads, about $150k... Are those good clients? Everyone tells me that getting an MBA is just 2.5 years of networking. I think that's why some firms value MBAs who participated in a lot of school functions during their 2-2.5yearsI just wanted to know how relevant the CFA/CFP designations were to doing a good job. I'm not interested in losing clients immediately after i land them. IE, Blowing up a book. My boss used to tell me, "You can learn finance from a book, but books will never teach you mathesesszzzessese." Its like hitting two birds with one stone, a professional designation and education. Well atleast it seemed that way.Thanks San Fran broker. I understand survival is key, which is why i'm living at home instead of where 95% of my natural market is, friends and family. So I'm not too worried about bills and surprise mishaps that cause my bank account to sink. I want to focus on what the client wants instead of solely pushing A shares and annuities onto suckers to make the rent. And why I wanna work for EDJ because of their prospecting methods.

Moraen's picture
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Joined: 2009-01-22

NumbersGeek wrote:

franklin21 wrote:

NumbersGeek wrote:

rcloug01 wrote:Salaried job, retirement planning mostly. Some incentives but only 25% of total comp. No prospecting was required. I have the experience and knowledge just never had to prospect before. I have had my 6,63 & 65 since 2001, 2001 & 2003 respectively. I found out today I passed the CFP exam in July. Started with Merrill last Friday so I will learn soon enough if it helps. Merrill is the reason why I asked. The Financial analyst that I worked for at Merrill recommended the CFP over the CFA. But I think there would be a point in time where I should get both. In the event that I do not have a fin analyst to conduct analysis for me. Both of the FAs that I interned for had MBAs in Finance, former barrons top 1000 advisors, $750mm AUM, and they charged a pretty penny but they were good, risk takers. Were good with numbers but of course, being an expert is not a requirement. Merrill requires that their reps join a CFP training program upon entry. So I thought it might be good to throw it out there and get some feedback from ya'll.Thanks, those 9 hours a week of studying would definitely be better set aside for prospecting/doorknocking. I assumed you were either a a extremely new newbie with statements such as "You can sell 5 policies in 2 days." Ahh, it all makes sense now.  Good luck bud. Your in for a RUDE awakening. Forget the CFA, CFP,MBA, etc. because if you don't make it past the next 6 months all your going to be earning is a SOL designation. I was just asking about whether I should allocate time aside towards some alphabet soup. An MBA may not help much FA wise. But you do know of the type of market at a good MBA school... don't cha? Average salary of UCLA's MBA grads, about $150k... Are those good clients? Everyone tells me that getting an MBA is just 2.5 years of networking. I think that's why some firms value MBAs who participated in a lot of school functions during their 2-2.5yearsI just wanted to know how relevant the CFA/CFP designations were to doing a good job. I'm not interested in losing clients immediately after i land them. IE, Blowing up a book. My boss used to tell me, "You can learn finance from a book, but books will never teach you mathesesszzzessese." Its like hitting two birds with one stone, a professional designation and education. Well atleast it seemed that way.Thanks San Fran broker. I understand survival is key, which is why i'm living at home instead of where 95% of my natural market is, friends and family. So I'm not too worried about bills and surprise mishaps that cause my bank account to sink. I want to focus on what the client wants instead of solely pushing A shares and annuities onto suckers to make the rent. And why I wanna work for EDJ because of their prospecting methods.

As a former Jones FA, I can't see the point in the CFA at Jones, unless you want to work in research (you won't be getting paid the $150k that san fran mentions). Jones doesn't value it. And it doesn't help you sell.

The CFP, I also have a hard time wondering why you would get the CFP at Jones. A lot of the functions of a CFP don't apply to investment selling, which is what working at Jones is. Especially with the advent of Advisory Solutions - the Jones FA is simply selling platform, IMHO.

Jones FA's often don't sit down with clients and conduct budgeting and cash flow analysis - it doesn't make sense to, because they don't get paid for it.

I could be wrong, but our regional leader and others snubbed their noses at designations.

eman07's picture
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Joined: 2009-05-18

I'm laughing my tail off at all of you saying that you shouldn't spend time on these designations - just get out there and sell.1.  While this may help you make more money in the short run, sometimes you have to think about the long run.  I am a CFA Charterholder, and I know without a shadow of a doubt, that I will be able to manage money for my clients 10x better than 95% of this board.  It has nothing to do with arrogance, I simply have spent the first 5 years of my career as an analyst, working on the CFA and research.  Now, as I'm managing my own clients money, I actually know what the heck I'm doing, whereas I've met broker after broker who's 50 years old and still doesn't know what they're doing.2.  Along the lines of thinking long-term - all of you "sales" guys who don't really know how to manage money, how much fun is life going to be 10 years from now when you have 400 clients, all with about 50k each.  If you don't know what you're doing, you won't be able to get the big fish.  I'd much rather have a group of 50 clients with $1 mil portfolios.  I'll be making a hell of a lot more money, and have a much more enjoyable time at work.  You don't get million dollar clients (while avoiding the 20k clients) by cold calling.  You have to know how to manage money, and know how to articulate that ability, and network with your clients and prospects to generate referrals from the clients that you want to clone.Some people are so short-term minded, that it costs you in the long term.  I wish I could count on 1 hand how many 40-60 year old advisors, who've been doing this for 15-30 years, that I've met with in the last 6 months where it is CLEAR that they know half of what I do about managing a portfolio for a high net worth individual.  Its sad really.3.  Last point - don't compare the CFA and the CFP.  I have them both, and the CFP doesn't deserve to be put in the same sentence.  1 in 5 people who start the CFA program, complete it.  It's very challenging, and while they are different focuses, it's vastly superior to the CFP.

army13A's picture
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eman07 wrote:I'm laughing my tail off at all of you saying that you shouldn't spend time on these designations - just get out there and sell.1.  While this may help you make more money in the short run, sometimes you have to think about the long run.  I am a CFA Charterholder, and I know without a shadow of a doubt, that I will be able to manage money for my clients 10x better than 95% of this board.  It has nothing to do with arrogance, I simply have spent the first 5 years of my career as an analyst, working on the CFA and research.  Now, as I'm managing my own clients money, I actually know what the heck I'm doing, whereas I've met broker after broker who's 50 years old and still doesn't know what they're doing.  You are right but to focus on designations before you can make clients is not smart.  Yes, you are absolutely right that you can manage money better than I can, I'm not a money manager.  That is why I outsource it to the professional and institutional money managers who do that day in and day out.  Guess what? I get paid the same fee regardless.   2.  Along the lines of thinking long-term - all of you "sales" guys who don't really know how to manage money, how much fun is life going to be 10 years from now when you have 400 clients, all with about 50k each.  If you don't know what you're doing, you won't be able to get the big fish.  I'd much rather have a group of 50 clients with $1 mil portfolios.  I'll be making a hell of a lot more money, and have a much more enjoyable time at work.  You don't get million dollar clients (while avoiding the 20k clients) by cold calling.  You have to know how to manage money, and know how to articulate that ability, and network with your clients and prospects to generate referrals from the clients that you want to clone. We're all "sales" guys, no matter the designation.  Doctors and lawyers are in "sales" too, nothing wrong with that.  People in sales are the ones that make this economy work.  Without sales, people wouldn't buy anything and make our economy what it is.  Some people are so short-term minded, that it costs you in the long term.  I wish I could count on 1 hand how many 40-60 year old advisors, who've been doing this for 15-30 years, that I've met with in the last 6 months where it is CLEAR that they know half of what I do about managing a portfolio for a high net worth individual.  Its sad really.  Again, that is why I outsource it.  I'm not a money manager, I'm the relationship manager.  You are a CFA charter holder, that's great for you.  But do you honestly believe that you can do a better job than the institutional money managers day in and day out? Who is watching your clients money when you're on vacation? I can tell my clients it doesn't matter what is going on, someone is watching your money 24-7.  3.  Last point - don't compare the CFA and the CFP.  I have them both, and the CFP doesn't deserve to be put in the same sentence.  1 in 5 people who start the CFA program, complete it.  It's very challenging, and while they are different focuses, it's vastly superior to the CFP.  CFA and CFP shouldn't be compared because they're two different things completely.  That's like saying CPA is superior to CFA; it's two different things.  The CFP curriculum isn't meant to make you a professional money manager.  I glanced at the CFA stuff and it did make my eyes hurt, no doubt about it that it's a challenging curriculum. 
 
Not trying to be argumentative but stating my opinion. 

san fran broker's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-25

Wow. Come on. What's the point with that? That's just trolling.The reality is that the CFA institute is making a concerted push into private client and there's a certain professional courtesy that's appropriate to the dominant credential. We don't need a war of designations here (and yes, here's exactly where Archduke Ferdinand is located - a message board). The 'official line' should be that the two designations are different and represent different styles of investing. Yes, the CFA is harder to get, but the CFP guarantees an adequate level of competence and is certainly on par with the CPA. The CFA is ridiculously difficult to earn and there are many legitimate reasons why a hard working advisor would choose to devote the 280 hours a year to something else - like servicing their clients or surviving in the business. The CFA does not provide adequate training to advise 99% of the population - who have "real world" risks to manage. So, it's value is somewhat limited. Having the CFA alone doesn't qualify you alone to advise private clients. Additional training (e.g. insurance, trusts, retirement plans) is really what's required. In contrast, a CFP alone is adequate to function as a financial advisor.

Gaddock's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

I'll put my performance up against any CFA any day. A CFA doesn't teach you how to make money in the market. Not discounting it either, all education is good. The few CFA's that I know may be able to do one hell of a job studying a balance sheet but it doesn't teach you how to get a good fill, when to pull the trigger, place a stop, short sell, hedge, arb, use technical analysis, use pivot points, the tick ticki tickq vix, trin, delta, vega, theta, rhoe, beta calculate probabilities & odds, risk reward parameters in the context of making a profitable trade and the most important thing of all WHEN TO EXIT.
 
It's simply not a discipline that's designed for a broker.
 
If a broker needs info on how to do the above the CFA is invaluable and the guy you talk to to fill in the gaps since a broker can't spend a career studying one industry.

Ron 14's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-10

"It's simply not a discipline that's designed for a broker."
 
Exactly, it is a discipline for a trader.

Gaddock's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

Ron 14 wrote:
"It's simply not a discipline that's designed for a broker."
 
Exactly, it is a discipline for a trader.
 
The CFA??
 
Why toss in such a moronic statement?
 
Yeah Ron, traders are all working on their CFA, LOL.

san fran broker's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-25

Gaddock wrote:I'll put my performance up against any CFA any day. A CFA doesn't teach you how to make money in the market. Not discounting it either, all education is good. The few CFA's that I know may be able to do one hell of a job studying a balance sheet but it doesn't teach you how to get a good fill, when to pull the trigger, place a stop, short sell, hedge, arb, use technical analysis, use pivot points, the tick ticki tickq vix, trin, delta, vega, theta, rhoe, beta calculate probabilities & odds, risk reward parameters in the context of making a profitable trade and the most important thing of all WHEN TO EXIT.
 
It's simply not a discipline that's designed for a broker.
 
If a broker needs info on how to do the above the CFA is invaluable and the guy you talk to to fill in the gaps since a broker can't spend a career studying one industry.I'm not entirely sure what you've written is English, but I think what you're saying is that you're an excellent technical trader and you didn't need the CFA. The designation does, theoretically, teach you how to make money in the market in that you learn portfolio management using fundamental analysis. You, in fact, do learn how to calculate delta, vega and beta, but you don't learn technical analysis in the CFA program - other than to review the utter lack of proof that any technical analysis works. If you wanted to get an education in technical trading, I guess you might get a CMT. Quite honestly, if your such a big swinging trader, why bother with being an FA and start a hedge fund?

Gaddock's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

Sour Grapes?

Gaddock's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

"I'm not entirely sure what you've written is English, but I think what you're saying is that you're an excellent technical trader and you didn't need the CFA."
 
If you are  a broker it's sad you don't as you should"The designation does, theoretically, teach you how to make money in the market in that you learn portfolio management using fundamental analysis"
 
My understanding that they do not teach portfolio management at all."other than to review the utter lack of proof that any technical analysis works"
 
I guess you pay others to do your work then?"Quite honestly, if your such a big swinging trader, why bother with being an FA and start a hedge fund?"
 
Because I'm a broker.

Moraen's picture
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Joined: 2009-01-22

Gaddock wrote: "I'm not entirely sure what you've written is English, but I think what you're saying is that you're an excellent technical trader and you didn't need the CFA."
 
If you are  a broker it's sad you don't as you should"The designation does, theoretically, teach you how to make money in the market in that you learn portfolio management using fundamental analysis"
 
My understanding that they do not teach portfolio management at all."other than to review the utter lack of proof that any technical analysis works"
 
I guess you pay others to do your work then?"Quite honestly, if your such a big swinging trader, why bother with being an FA and start a hedge fund?"
 
Because I'm a broker.

Gaddock, for the record, the CFA does in-depth quantitative and probability analysis. In addition, the CFA program is designed to teach portfolio management.

Technical traders have been making money for quite some time - the ones who are disciplined and stick to their methods. THis is the wrong argument, I believe.

Still@jones's picture
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Joined: 2009-03-22

Technical analysis still works...but it's certainly changed. Information lag and the human condition were the primary cause of many of the technical analysis "patterns" in the past. Now, everything is instantaneous with a majority of trades being made by automated programs. That said, I'm still always on the look out for saucers...I believe they will always exist!

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