Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Living in Switzerland > Daily life  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 28.01.2018, 18:31
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: zurich
Posts: 36
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
jodeen has no particular reputation at present
Question about the CFA

Hello again.

It seems, based on my research online into the CFA that it is not particularly valuable to employers (and therefor to someone looking to break into the financial sector) in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany or India for example. I have read, however, that it is quite helpful to have when job hunting in Spain. The investment banks there seem to value it even though it is more a qualification for AM than banking.

My question is, how does this qualification fare in Switzerland/Zurich amongst employers in AM/banking and is it actually helpful to take for an "outsider" to get into the industry?

Jo
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 29.01.2018, 14:49
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: zurich
Posts: 36
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
jodeen has no particular reputation at present
Re: Question about the CFA

Anyone?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 29.01.2018, 15:41
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: London
Posts: 65
Groaned at 15 Times in 5 Posts
Thanked 95 Times in 30 Posts
Brian1985 has become a little unpopular
Re: Question about the CFA

Fellow charter holder here so naturally I will be biased. The qualification is huge in the US and the UK so I have no idea where you got the idea that it is not useful in those countries. Almost all trainees entering the asset management or sell-side research business today in London and NYC are expected to do the CFA. Having said that, the qualification is only really useful for fundamental research positions and has no real use in sales & trading, macro research (FX, commodities, rates, etc.) and private equity positions. I've found that most fundamental research roles in Switzerland (and tbh there aren't that many here) require the CFA or at least look positively on those who have it. I will just add, having the CFA doesn't make you a good investor and vice versa.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Brian1985 for this useful post:
  #4  
Old 29.01.2018, 21:35
Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Zurich
Posts: 176
Groaned at 12 Times in 10 Posts
Thanked 163 Times in 105 Posts
terrifisch has slipped a little
Re: Question about the CFA

I agree with Brian. As background, my son had a history degree from a very good university in the US (UVA) where he had pretty good grades (3.5 out of 4.0) but had a tough time breaking into Ibanking/finance as most assume (incorrectly I might add) that a history major has no quantitative skills.

He worked for an international law firm for a year and studied for the CFA during this time. He passed the Level 1 exam and was able to secure an Equity Capital Markets position at a mid tier IBank as an analyst in NYC and two years later, he is an Associate.

If you are interested in portfolio management or Private Equity, the CFA may be your best bet as it is much more cost effective vis a vis Business schools. FYI, Level 1 is easier to pass than Level 2, which is the most difficult of the three exams from what I have read. Best of luck to you!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 29.01.2018, 23:56
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: The World
Posts: 1,393
Groaned at 283 Times in 153 Posts
Thanked 1,115 Times in 636 Posts
Capo is considered unworthyCapo is considered unworthyCapo is considered unworthyCapo is considered unworthy
Re: Question about the CFA

Quote:
View Post
I agree with Brian. As background, my son had a history degree from a very good university in the US (UVA) where he had pretty good grades (3.5 out of 4.0) but had a tough time breaking into Ibanking/finance as most assume (incorrectly I might add) that a history major has no quantitative skills.

He worked for an international law firm for a year and studied for the CFA during this time. He passed the Level 1 exam and was able to secure an Equity Capital Markets position at a mid tier IBank as an analyst in NYC and two years later, he is an Associate.

If you are interested in portfolio management or Private Equity, the CFA may be your best bet as it is much more cost effective vis a vis Business schools. FYI, Level 1 is easier to pass than Level 2, which is the most difficult of the three exams from what I have read. Best of luck to you!
You didn't properly read what Brian1985 wrote:

Quote:
View Post

...Having said that, the qualification is only really useful for fundamental research positions and has no real use in sales & trading, macro research (FX, commodities, rates, etc.) and private equity positions.
Contrary to what you have said, in fact for private equity CFA has no value but going to business school is mandatory for associate level.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 30.01.2018, 00:44
Don Molina's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Zurich
Posts: 793
Groaned at 33 Times in 21 Posts
Thanked 1,116 Times in 480 Posts
Don Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Question about the CFA

Everything that goes in a CV is a signal to the prospective employer.

If you can effectively signal that you have the necessary skills, you will increase your chance for the other party to understand that, and thus increase your chance at getting the job you're after.

Thinking it like "this works in this or the other country" is not hugely useful when you're looking at Switzerland, and you're not really discriminating between AM and banking.

They are very different, you can end up in very different shops, and even in very homogeneous shops you can end up being interviewed by very different people. You can go to a small international (in terms of employees) AM business with a very Swiss manager, or to a standard Swiss bank with a very international manager.

In the end it boils down to having the appropriate knowledge and then signalling that fact. If you don't have something very specific in mind job-wise, then a blanket solution to "break it in banking/AM" is not easy or even feasible. Unless you know someone that will take a limp on you.

When you have something specific in mind, then you can start thinking if it makes sense to have a charter, a degree, some experience, or whatever combination of the above.


If you're young, just try to get an internship somewhere. If you work your ass off while "in", and someone sees something in you, you'll find your way.
__________________
Nothing is fool-proof to a sufficiently talented fool
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 30.01.2018, 16:48
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: London
Posts: 65
Groaned at 15 Times in 5 Posts
Thanked 95 Times in 30 Posts
Brian1985 has become a little unpopular
Re: Question about the CFA

Just to add some further points to the discussion:

1) For classic investment banking (advisory, M&A, DCM and ECM) the CFA is rarely studied by incoming analysts as they just don't have the time to do it. Analysts are working up to 100 hour weeks and just won't have the time or energy to do the exams. After a 2 year stint in an IB program an analyst will know almost everything there is to know about corporate finance and valuation and would be able to breeze through those parts of the CFA exams.

2) For private equity most (almost all) analysts come from investment banking analyst programs. As almost no IB analysts take the CFA exams during their IB stint, you will see almost no CFA charter holders in the junior ranks of PE shops. Almost all PE shops have a "2 and out" policy where analysts work for 2 years before heading off to do an MBA and hoping to rejoin as associates at the fund.

3) For public markets research positions in both sell-side research and buy-side asset management (both equity and credit research) you will see almost all junior analysts doing the CFA these days. Partly this is because companies are too busy to train their own employees and just want to outsource the training through the CFA exams. Partly it is about marketing as funds often like to tell their clients how "smart" their employees are.

4) In private banking and wealth management I am seeing more and more people take the exams. The level 3 exam (the final one) is heavily focused on wealth management and risk/return from a client perspective. A lot of private bankers hope to signal two things to perspective clients: (1) their investment knowledge, and (2) that they follow the ethical codes preached by the CFA Institute.

5) In sales & trading and macro research I see hardly anyone with the charter. It's just not that useful for those roles.

6) In real-estate focused investing I hardly see anyone with the charter. I think there are more specific qualifications for that field.

Again, all of this is just my experience and mainly from a US/UK perspective although I do work in Zurich so I am familiar with the scene here too.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Brian1985 for this useful post:
  #8  
Old 30.01.2018, 19:11
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: The World
Posts: 1,393
Groaned at 283 Times in 153 Posts
Thanked 1,115 Times in 636 Posts
Capo is considered unworthyCapo is considered unworthyCapo is considered unworthyCapo is considered unworthy
Re: Question about the CFA

Quote:
View Post
Just to add some further points to the discussion:

1) For classic investment banking (advisory, M&A, DCM and ECM) the CFA is rarely studied by incoming analysts as they just don't have the time to do it. Analysts are working up to 100 hour weeks and just won't have the time or energy to do the exams. After a 2 year stint in an IB program an analyst will know almost everything there is to know about corporate finance and valuation and would be able to breeze through those parts of the CFA exams.

2) For private equity most (almost all) analysts come from investment banking analyst programs. As almost no IB analysts take the CFA exams during their IB stint, you will see almost no CFA charter holders in the junior ranks of PE shops. Almost all PE shops have a "2 and out" policy where analysts work for 2 years before heading off to do an MBA and hoping to rejoin as associates at the fund.

3) For public markets research positions in both sell-side research and buy-side asset management (both equity and credit research) you will see almost all junior analysts doing the CFA these days. Partly this is because companies are too busy to train their own employees and just want to outsource the training through the CFA exams. Partly it is about marketing as funds often like to tell their clients how "smart" their employees are.

4) In private banking and wealth management I am seeing more and more people take the exams. The level 3 exam (the final one) is heavily focused on wealth management and risk/return from a client perspective. A lot of private bankers hope to signal two things to perspective clients: (1) their investment knowledge, and (2) that they follow the ethical codes preached by the CFA Institute.

5) In sales & trading and macro research I see hardly anyone with the charter. It's just not that useful for those roles.

6) In real-estate focused investing I hardly see anyone with the charter. I think there are more specific qualifications for that field.

Again, all of this is just my experience and mainly from a US/UK perspective although I do work in Zurich so I am familiar with the scene here too.
Hey Brian, awesome post.

Although I agree with your item 4) on the perspective that it might signal something to the clients, in reality just a very tiny minority of clients will ever heard about CFA. Additionally, I think that a CFA is just "too much" for a private banker because 80% of the time it is a relationship job and the skills needed to do the rest 20% can be learned during in-house training.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 30.01.2018, 21:17
Neko's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Vaud
Posts: 68
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 44 Times in 26 Posts
Neko has earned some respectNeko has earned some respect
Re: Question about the CFA

Like Brian says it depends a lot what sort of job you are looking for too.

I'd add it could help in that it signals how keen you are to learn and work hard, eg if you have spent a year in night school before aceing the first levels (like terrifisch's son above). Otherwise if you spend the daytime studying for it I might suggest this time could be better spent, eg in a graduate scheme inside a bank (or an accountancy firm where you're paid to learn the same things and get a blue-chip name on the CV).
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01.02.2018, 12:09
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: zurich
Posts: 36
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
jodeen has no particular reputation at present
Re: Question about the CFA

Quote:
View Post
Fellow charter holder here so naturally I will be biased. The qualification is huge in the US and the UK so I have no idea where you got the idea that it is not useful in those countries. Almost all trainees entering the asset management or sell-side research business today in London and NYC are expected to do the CFA. Having said that, the qualification is only really useful for fundamental research positions and has no real use in sales & trading, macro research (FX, commodities, rates, etc.) and private equity positions. I've found that most fundamental research roles in Switzerland (and tbh there aren't that many here) require the CFA or at least look positively on those who have it. I will just add, having the CFA doesn't make you a good investor and vice versa.


Hello Brian, thank you for your reply. I just keep reading on forums and such that employers don't care much for the CFA and that it doesn't help much "getting in".
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01.02.2018, 12:20
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: zurich
Posts: 36
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
jodeen has no particular reputation at present
Re: Question about the CFA

[QUOTE=Neko;2904401]
I'd add it could help in that it signals how keen you are to learn and work hard, eg if you have spent a year in night school before aceing the first levels (like terrifisch's son above). QUOTE]




Quote:
View Post
Again, all of this is just my experience and mainly from a US/UK perspective although I do work in Zurich so I am familiar with the scene here too.
Quote:
View Post
Everything that goes in a CV is a signal to the prospective employer.

If you can effectively signal that you have the necessary skills, you will increase your chance for the other party to understand that, and thus increase your chance at getting the job you're after.

Thinking it like "this works in this or the other country" is not hugely useful when you're looking at Switzerland, and you're not really discriminating between AM and banking
.


I would actually like to work in AM and am hoping that the qualification will at least provide me with the theoretical knowledge/skills that I would need to do the job at an entry level. I hope it would also demonstrate that I am willing to do the work and am dedicated to working in the industry. I have a feeling however that AM is moving more and more towards being purely/heavily automated with there will be less emphasis on discretional investing skills and much more emphasis on high level quantitative and programming skills...
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01.02.2018, 14:45
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Zurich
Posts: 1,236
Groaned at 3 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 599 Times in 387 Posts
axman has a reputation beyond reputeaxman has a reputation beyond reputeaxman has a reputation beyond reputeaxman has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Question about the CFA

I heard from somewhere that Switzerland has one of the highest number of CFAs per capita (or something to that effect) in the world, so yes I would say it is quite important here, but it still won't guarantee you a job.


One issue with the CFA is that the exam itself is not enough as you need to demonstrate that you are working in the relevant area for a few years. So if you are doing the CFA to try to get into the relevant area, it is like a chicken and egg question...
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01.02.2018, 14:51
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: London
Posts: 65
Groaned at 15 Times in 5 Posts
Thanked 95 Times in 30 Posts
Brian1985 has become a little unpopular
Re: Question about the CFA

I think the best thing to do is to go on Linkedin and you will see that a sizeable proportion of people in the asset management industry have the CFA charter. I would say that over 50% of people doing active equity or fixed-income investing with a fundamental style will have it. I wouldn't just rely on some forum. Completely anecdotal but at my fund (EUR 2 bn AuM doing fundamental equities) all of the analysts have the charter.

Now, you are 100% correct that more and more active investing is being done through algo/quant strategies and almost all global macro funds now focus on math PhD's and people with programming skills. The AM industry is large and there are many different approaches to making money in the market. It's highly likely that quants will take over the most liquid investment strategies such as long-only equities but there are lots of other strategies where computers are unlikely to replace humans any time soon. For example, it's highly unlikely that a computer will be negotiating a debt restructuring for a distressed debt fund, or writing letters to company boards like activist funds do, or trading illiquid securities where there is not a lot of historical data (such as real-estate).

Anyway, why not do the CFA and also learn programming/coding skills? Then you have both bases covered!
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01.02.2018, 18:07
Don Molina's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Zurich
Posts: 793
Groaned at 33 Times in 21 Posts
Thanked 1,116 Times in 480 Posts
Don Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Question about the CFA

Quote:
View Post
For example, it's highly unlikely that a computer will be negotiating a debt restructuring for a distressed debt fund, or writing letters to company boards like activist funds do, or trading illiquid securities where there is not a lot of historical data (such as real-estate).

Anyway, why not do the CFA and also learn programming/coding skills? Then you have both bases covered!

Funnily enough, these are all cases where CFA is of little use
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01.02.2018, 21:27
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: London
Posts: 65
Groaned at 15 Times in 5 Posts
Thanked 95 Times in 30 Posts
Brian1985 has become a little unpopular
Re: Question about the CFA

Quote:
View Post
Funnily enough, these are all cases where CFA is of little use
I would say it depends. Any strategy that relies on fundamental analysis of the underlying business (and both distressed debt and activist investing do) would use techniques covered in the CFA.

Now, having said all this, you don't need the CFA charter to be an investor. It's not like a lawyer needs a law degree or a doctor needs a medical degree. There are many great investors out there without the CFA and plenty of very average investors with the CFA. Warren Buffet is not a CFA charter holder for example.

What having the CFA charter says to me is this: if you have the motivation to put in hundreds of hours of study after working a long day in the office, you're probably interested in investing and probably motivated enough to learn what I need you to learn to become a competent investor. Will the CFA teach you how to read a bond document so you can understand the legal process that will be used to restructure a defaulted bond? No, but if you have the charter I will assume you can plow through a 200 page indenture and understand what's going on with some help. I was very fortunate in that I knew from an early stage post university that I wanted to do fundamental analysis and so for me taking the CFA was just a given. To the OP, it's best that you decide what type of investing you want to do and then see if people in that field (via LinkedIn) have the CFA charter or not.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Brian1985 for this useful post:
  #16  
Old 02.02.2018, 14:37
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: zurich
Posts: 36
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
jodeen has no particular reputation at present
Re: Question about the CFA

I don't seem to have the option to thank people like others seem to have here so:


Thanks for the information everyone!
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 24.01.2019, 15:05
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Zurich
Posts: 1
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
JayVee has no particular reputation at present
Re: Question about the CFA

Sorry to revamp this year old thread but since I would like to work in the financial services industry in Switzerland I have to ask.

I was wondering if sitting and passing CFA level I could signal to potential employers that an MSc in Economics&Finance graduate, with no prior experience in financial services, has enough qualifications to cover a junior financial analyst position.

Do you believe that the above qualifications plus an intermediate knowledge of German (B1-B2 for reference) is enough to get one's foot through the door of the financial services industry, let's say at a medium sized firm/organization?
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 25.01.2019, 15:19
Don Molina's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Zurich
Posts: 793
Groaned at 33 Times in 21 Posts
Thanked 1,116 Times in 480 Posts
Don Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Question about the CFA

Quote:
View Post
Sorry to revamp this year old thread but since I would like to work in the financial services industry in Switzerland I have to ask.

I was wondering if sitting and passing CFA level I could signal to potential employers that an MSc in Economics&Finance graduate, with no prior experience in financial services, has enough qualifications to cover a junior financial analyst position.

Do you believe that the above qualifications plus an intermediate knowledge of German (B1-B2 for reference) is enough to get one's foot through the door of the financial services industry, let's say at a medium sized firm/organization?

I'd wager that most finance jobs in CH that could use CFA don't need German.

Additionally, if you have an MSc in Economics and Finance, that's enough qualification for a junior position. Not many grads have CFA. Additionally, as someone who has been involved in hiring an analyst, I'd prefer to see a CFA holder with a different background (e.g. math/physics/engineering) and that wanted to change course.

Your MSc should be good enough to get you into a grad programme somewhere
Reply With Quote
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
question about the reinsurance business user-name Insurance 4 19.06.2014 14:02
question about the top of the uetliberg user-name Travel/day trips/free time 4 05.12.2013 16:13
Question about finding the next tenant before the end of contract happyrobbie Housing in general 4 18.07.2013 16:08
question about the scarlet letter Desert Rat Transportation/driving 18 10.02.2013 22:02
Question about the net-income ITguy Employment 13 11.07.2006 19:56


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 04:07.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0