There's a lot of information on the internet on thequalification and why you should do it, but most of them comes across as too 'infomercially', that is, they often are written by people trying actively to get more enrollments. What we really need is a bunch of people who've done the whole thing to give an honest skinny on what they really think is useful about the charter.
Here's a straight-to-the-point, frank list of reasons why acould be useful to you. If you're on the fence and seeking to know more, use this information to make a wise decision on whether this challenging set of exams is worth the effort.
Industry professionals. A charter can be useful as a career enhancer if you're already in finance, or to switch to a particular role. A charter would particularly help in these roles:
- Research analysts
- roles, including:
- Portfolio managers
- Private bankers
- Fund of fund managers
- Financial advisers
- Relationship managers
- Financial strategists
For more information, check out this handy tool from the Institute to see what roles are currently held by charterholders all around the world.
Non-investment professionals. Other professionals such as attorneys and accountants have also pursued the. Quite often these are gained as complementary qualifications to broaden professional expertise. Not particularly crucial, but it does help.
Students. If you're keen on being in banking, you may want to consider thecharter. If you can afford the time and money, it makes sense to add another notch to your CV, but don't make the mistake of thinking it will magically bring you a job. As a student, knowing how to network and getting good work experience will work better in getting you a job in banking.
2. It's Affordable.
The total cost of a charter is variable depending on type of prep materials you get and how many exams you end up taking, but it probably will range from $2,500 to $8,500.
That's still pretty cheap as far as professional qualifications go. Thecharter is more about the time commitment. It's definitely affordable.
3. A Good Grounding In Finance.
As you may know, the is tough to pass. Really tough.
And there's a reason - the material is very thorough, and very extensive. It's not that difficult to understand - it's retaining all the information all at once that often proves the challenge.
But it also means that if you succeed in obtaining the charter, you can be assured of a great, solid grounding in financial knowledge and expertise. The syllabus is also updated continually to account for recent innovations and events, so you'll always be learning from the most recent experiences and discussions among industry experts.
4. Global Recognition.
The charter is one of the most recognized professional qualifications in finance in the world. The great thing about global recognition is that the charterholder becomes more easily transferrable across markets. If you were planning on moving to Asia, for example, employers in Asia would also recognize your charter earned in Europe.
It's the exact same qualification, and candidates are earning their charters all over the world. Today about 100,000 charterholders are working in 130 countries worldwide.
5. You Don't Have to Choose Between
It’s all about your personal goals and situation. If you’re looking for a qualification to enhance your career in finance or establish your finance credentials, the is highly recommended. If you’re looking for a qualification to boost your career outside of finance, or looking to move across industries, an MBA might be a better bet.
If you had to choose just one.
At the end of the day, there are many people who end up obtaining both acharter and an MBA. If you’re hell-bent on making your CV the best damn piece of paper the world has ever seen, by all means take both - it’s in no way a either-or situation.
6. It Helps You Get A Job. 'Helps', Not 'Guarantees'.
The charter is a great thing to add to your CV to boost your finance credentials. But let’s just get one thing clear - nothing on your CV ‘gets you a job’. And yes, this also applies to the CFA charter.
Nothing you can put on paper is a sure fire way of landing a job. Getting hired is a multi-stage process. Your CV and networking skills gets you the interview, and the interview is what gets you the job. No amount of CV padding is going to replace interview skills so you need to address all steps to successfully score the job you want.
7. Higher Pay, On Aggregate.
Pay is a very tricky question to answer. There are numerous surveys on member compensation, so you could go into the finer details of compensation of a typical charterholder.
However there are some recent studies on comparing the effects of compensation of roles with and without thecharter - that is to say, studies that attempt to place a ‘monetary value’ on the charter. The Institute last covered this in their 2005 compensation survey, where the concluded that charterholders’ median salary was 54% higher than non charterholders (a median annual salary of $180,000 for charterholders vs $116,850 for non charterholders). This was a higher effect that even MBAs. But note that this was back in 2005, so make your own conclusions.
Ultimately, suffice to say that acquiring acharter will open more opportunities in finance to you and make it easier for you to explore others. As a result you can expect your career to benefit from more flexibility and higher compensation compared to if you didn’t have a charter.
Agree? Disagree? Want to share your experiences? Shout out to us below.