T Nation

Chartered Finanical Analysts

Is anyone here a CFA? For those that are, what kind of jobs did you find it useful for? Useful for, say, a company that specializes in hedging in energy commodities?

Also, how much work was it to acquire one. Obviously it requires different amounts of work depending upon one’s proclivity for learning, but what was your personal experience? For the record, I did pretty well on a graduate level in mathematics, so should this be notably easier? How difficult is it to study, work a full-time job (and train)?

All information is greatly appreciated.

I am a CFA charterholder. I liken the CFA to getting an MBA with a focus on investing. If you have strong math skills, you will have a head start (I received my undergrad in math), but there are a lot of additional skills you need (accounting, economics, etc.). I think the format may be changing, but the format I am aware of is 1 test date every year (May/June). You must complete a level before going to the next and there are 3 levels, so you have 3 years of tests.

I was able to pass the exams on my first try while working FT and training. It is simply a matter of setting a schedule and sticking to it.

I would be happy to answer any other questions you might have. Good luck.

I too got my undergrad in math and did a year’s worth of grad work in it. (I didn’t fail out, I just decided to work.) I don’t have a strong knowledge of econ, etc. right now, but I was figuring it would be pretty easy to learn compared to set theory.

What do you think of the CFA’s utility for hedging in energy commodities? Any role for it in this kind of work?

I think the CFA will give you a good basis for understanding various derivative instruments and also understanding how to hedge; however, the CFA curriculum is fairly general, so I do not think it will prepare you specificually for hedging energy commodities. For something specific like that, you need to do it to learn it. That said, a CFA might help you get a foot in the door, but there are LOTS of energy traders looking for jobs right now, so there will probably be a lot of competition for jobs.

Yeah, they’re plenty of energy traders out there looking for work. No, I don’t want to be a trader. I work for a fairly young energy consulting company, and our bread and butter is hedging and financials. I was just curious how applicable it would be for this particular endeavor.

In that case, I don’t think the CFA would help much. I think it is great general knowledge and could be a way to open some doors in the future, but for the specific knowledge you are seeking, I think the CFA would be overkill and still wouldn’t get you where you need to be. If I can be of any other assistance, let me know.

I’m currently a level III CFA candidate and (hopefully) will be a CFA charterholder by this time next year. I’ll second Maverick that it would probably be overkill for energy hedging. However, if it may help provide a slight edge and may be worth looking into if you like financial/investment analysis. The CFA covers equity, debt, portfolio theory, derivatives, statistics, accounting, economics and has a big chunk of the exam on ethics/standards of practice. The amount of effort depends a lot on your background. I have a PhD and teach finance and still found myself studying relatively hard for about 2-3 weeks for each of the first two levels (mainly to pick up the standards/accounting/econ). The amount of the CFA that involves hedging activity is probably about 10-20%. The graduate level mathematics tells me you have the ability to handle all of the material, but there is little math (more number crunching) so it would probably be a lot of new material. I’m going to be working with some of our undergraduates this year to help them prepare for Level I, so if you have any other questions about the CFA just ask.