What actual jobs does the CFA get people?

As someone who's a bit further along in my career, and who's worked in multiple areas (IB, asset management, PE, VC) I get a lot of younger folks asking me for career advice.

One question I'm getting a lot the last few years is "so I just got my CFA, now what do I do with it?" 100% of the time these are juniors who already work in some sort of asset management or wealth management role, and they took the CFA to "open doors". Exactly what doors, they weren't sure, but they liked the idea of opening doors so off they went to get a CFA.

I don't have a CFA but I'm familiar with the material. To me, the material seems a mile wide and an inch deep; great coverage for a non-finance person trying to learn finance, but not designed to take someone to an advanced level in any particular sub-area of finance.

So I'm not sure what to tell these kids who are already working in asset/wealth management what doors are supposed to now open for them. What specific doors have people been able to open thanks to their CFA? Would love to hear examples.


Comments (2)

Feb 28, 2019

I have mine, and in my opinion, it doesn't 'open doors' as much as it 'keeps doors open'. I think it's kind of expected table stakes for a lot of jobs in asset management, wealth management, insurance investing, equity research, insurance investment management, etc. The information doesn't really make anyone a great investor, but at the very least it gives you a background in most topics and provides a good starting base off which to grow, depending on which path you take (equities, fixed income, insurance, pensions, personal wealth management, derivatives, etc). It also helps equity guys not sound like complete idiots when talking to fixed income or pension guys, vice-versa, etc.

I'd be curious to hear of any actual examples of "charter got me X job". My initial guess is there aren't a lot of those. Unfortunately, it's not THAT hard to get if you want to give up ~3 years of your life to studying, so prestige is falling a bit in my view.

Feb 28, 2019