It takes a certain calibre of professionalism to be a chartered financial analyst.
This credential is not for everyone.
It is for a select group of finance specialists who can imbibe the teachings of the CFA course and apply them in the real world. The finance analyst tag is a badge of excellence bestowed on these talented individuals. If you have the making of an investment advisory expert, then you have the CFA skills that allow you to be a part of this elite community. To succeed in the industry, you need ten qualities to help you thrive in this competitive and volatile field. Some can be acquired over time, while others may be an inherent part of your personality. If you want to get through the rigorous CFA curriculum, clear the strenuous exams and work in the industry, you should have the right mix of these characteristics. It will enable you to improve yourself, strengthen your abilities and help you make a name for yourself in this field. So here below are some of the expected qualities and skills of CFA professionals.
About the CFA
The CFA program was established in 1962 when 284 students gave the exams and got certified.
That was then.
Today, there are over 190,000 charter holders in the world. There are several reasons behind the immense success of this finance program. The curriculum offers core industry knowledge, finance-centric concepts and CFA skills. The topics covered include portfolio management, economics, ethics and financial statement analysis. The course also helps develop essential technical and soft skills integral to every successful investment specialist. The CFA credential is the benchmark for excellence in the investment and finance industry. Mainly because the skills required for CFA credentials are of a high standard.
Benefits of the CFA course
- International banks and finance companies in over 160 countries recognise the value of the CFA certification.
- The program leads to more job prospects and higher salaries.
- Over 160 CFA societies worldwide offer charter holders networking opportunities and learning resources.
- Seven per cent of CFA charter holders have gone on to become chief executive officers.
- The CFA skills and training make you eligible for job profiles such as equity research analyst, risk manager, investment banker, and private wealth manager.
10 must-have qualities and skills required for CFA professionals
Do you have the ability to keep going even when things get challenging? The path to a CFA career isn’t free of roadblocks. The syllabus is rigorous, and the exams are tough. Even after you clear all hurdles and certify as a chartered financial analyst, there will be more obstacles along your way. Failures and setbacks are part and parcel of the job. You need to be able to shrug off the disappointments and move ahead. A self-motivated person can take stock of the situation, figure out what went wrong and then continue down another path till success is achieved. It is hard, but not impossible. It takes a dedicated personality to possess the skills of CFA professionals.
A methodical and steady mind is needed to take on the CFA exams. You need to hyper-focus and separate yourself from the various distractions of your life. Discipline is one of the major CFA skills. Proper preparation, a study plan and an organised schedule will help you stay on task. Even CFA professionals will need mental discipline to work in the industry. The capability to meet deadlines, stay calm in a chaotic environment and keep a cool head are all necessary skills required for CFA charter holders.
- Time management
In the investment and finance industry, time is currency. Managing it is one of the skills required for CFA. Many aspiring students may grasp the subject matter efficiently but struggle with time. If you lose track of your hours and can’t keep your commitments, you may be in trouble. Time management is a vital CFA skill as a student as well as a future professional. The CFA board recommends 300 hours of study prep before taking the exam. You must use your time efficiently and resourcefully. It takes effort, but once you have mastered control over your own time, you are ready to be trusted with your client’s time.
How quick is your mind? Can you make split-second decisions and stand by them?
Agile thinking is one of the most highly-rated CFA skills when you are on the path to the charter. The course helps to wire your brain so you can think fast. You should be a pro at quick calculations during the exams and answering the case study questions. While quick thinking may come naturally to some people, a healthy amount of practice and preparation can help others achieve a similar mindset. Remember, the finance world is full of fluctuations and changes. Alert and sharp thinkers have fantastic CFA skills to handle the complexities and irregularities of the industry.
If you can set a goal, implement the steps needed to achieve your target and work tirelessly towards it, you are guaranteed to do well in the exams and in life.
Abilities to stay focused and concentrate on end results are amazing CFA skills. Self-motivation, discipline and time management skills go hand in hand with focus as skills required for CFA professionals.
Checkout how IMS Proschool helps you inculcate all these skills in the CFA Course
- An eye for detail
If you can find a needle in a financial haystack, you are a master financial analyst. A CFA professional needs a sharp eye to spot the vital details in a sea of financial data. Companies want candidates who have a sixth sense for numbers and can use their curious and observant minds to good use. If you pay close attention to details, you have one of the highly demanded CFA skills.
Ethics and professional standards are some essential skills of CFA. Honesty and integrity are as important as industry knowledge and technical skills to your career. A responsible financial analyst is unbiased and trustworthy. You follow the rules and operate with complete transparency. This is crucial in finance when you work with large sums of money. Ethics ranks very high on the list of CFA skills needed to excel in finance.
- Communication skills
Your ability to present your ideas and persuade your clients is a large part of the job. Professionals often have to communicate with investors and high-profile clients. You must be clear, concise and intelligent when offering analysis and advice. Strong communication abilities are part of the CFA skills roster. Poor communication can lead to ambiguity, misinterpretation and loss of business.
- Strong writing skills
Your CFA Level III exams require you to write coherent and well-constructed essay-type answers. You’ll need a good grasp of formal writing to express your thoughts adequately. These CFA skills are also put to work when you send emails, reports and written presentations to your co-workers, supervisors and clients. It is not difficult to improve your written skills. It helps to be an avid reader and practice writing as much as you can.
- Life-long learning skills
We don’t know what the future holds. We do know that things are constantly changing. As technology advances and the latest market trends emerge, new CFA skills help you stay on top of your game. Charter holders know that you never stop learning. Whether it is cutting-edge developments or new industry knowledge, you need to keep an open mind and update the skills required for CFA. You don’t want to get left behind.
How IMS Proschool helps you become a CFA charter holder
As one of India’s finest professional institutions, IMS Proschool offers a stellar coaching program that helps students master CFA skills. The academic experience is powered by efficient learning techniques, a multitude of resources and an exemplary staff of trained experts. The school also ensures you imbibe the ten skills required for CFA. Every budding chartered financial analyst is taught about time management, effective communication and ethical practices. You are encouraged to be self-motivated and focused. Proschool ensures that all students get the perfect education to boost their CFA skills.
- Students are mentored by qualified teachers who have considerable experience in the industry
- There is a special emphasis on solving doubts and queries daily
- The school offers study resources such as mock tests, prep books, videos and practice papers to further enhance your CFA skills
- Coaching centres are available in most of the major cities across India
- If you are unable to attend a live classroom, you can always opt for an online course
- You receive certificates from IMS Proschool and NSDC
- You obtain the necessary qualities and skills required for CFA charter membership
The CFA course is a well-rounded and comprehensive study of the world of investment advisory services. The standards are high, and the expectations are greater. It takes grit, determination and hard work to pass all three levels. Once you are through, you use your training and CFA skills to work in the industry. If you can showcase all or most of the qualities listed above, you will enjoy a long and thriving career.
Find out how to get the skills of CFA professionals here