Why CFA “Certified Financial Analyst”?

Dr. Mohammad Al-Shboul

  • Tuesday 23, April 2019 01:48 PM
  • Why CFA “Certified Financial Analyst”?
Sharjah 24: Living in the 21st century seems that we are living in a race. Everything around us is changing and moving so fast and we battle each other to see who gets to reach the finish line. The same goes for the road that we pave to our education. We begin with a bachelor’s degree but what comes next? Nowadays an innumerable amount of professionals and even your average students have been battling to reach to the top of the pyramid of expertise. But, what really makes a person better? What makes his CV outshine the rest? To be specific, for finance major why has the CFA certificate become of such great value?
Finance graduates contemplate the idea of what would enrich them educationally and in return add value to their CV. They keep going back and forth between the MBA or the CFA. However, recent research studies have shown that indeed obtaining the CFA shares almost if not the same value of holding an MBA and Ph.D altogether.

CFA is known as “Chartered Financial Analyst”. It is a professional credential qualification offered internationally by the CFA institute, mainly targeting individuals pursuing a career within the finance field. A CFA certificate is considered the most respected and recognized investment management designation in the world that measures the competence, skills and expertise of financial analysts. It relates to the educational benefits in which one would obtain strong knowledge and gain further expertise in areas involving asset allocation, investment analysis, portfolio management strategies and uphold a comprehensive code of ethics. Also, it definitely enhances one’s career path in finance, since business owners know that the CFA exam consists of three gruesomely difficult levels that require time and patience. Therefore, earning a CFA credential gives individuals a local and international reputation proving his/her dedication for hard work in the field.

Being a CFA holder would help in raising the chances of finding a job or being accepted in a highly recognized institute/company. However, one should keep in mind that it only helps but not guarantee a job. So, the CFA should not be viewed as the golden ticket to financial paradise. Financially wise, it was proven through surveys conducted by the charter institute that CFA holders tend to find better job positions, therefore, are paid much higher than those without the certificate. CFA credential is considered one of the few affordable types of certificates to obtain, costing less than 10,000 US dollars in comparison to other professional qualifications.

The only main issue in regards to obtaining the CFA would most probably be time. Seeing as it is not exactly an easy exam and is mostly dependent on self-study, it could be tedious, tiring and would require a great amount of patience to go through each and every level of the exams. However, passing the three levels exams is not the only requirement for being a CFA holder. The process of becoming a CFA holder also requires one to go through achieving 48 months of “acceptable professional work experience” and joining the CFA institute as a member where one would need to complete a professional conduct statement and affiliate with the local CFA community.

The CFA certificate is an important achievement and it comes with a great value with all the educational, financial and reputational benefits. But, does it really overcome the benefits of acquiring an MBA? In my opinion, each has their own benefit. The CFA and other similar professional qualifications might have more benefits than an MBA, but it would not completely replace it. In fact, it would be even better, difficult but possible, to complete both the CFA and MBA; that way one can get the best of both worlds. Note: I would like to thank Rania Yaser, a former finance student at UOS, for her effort.