Vinay Gupta, 29, gets a kick out of knowing what so many people itch to know: Which stocks to invest in. “Any kind of analysis of stocks you read in tomorrow's newspaper, an equity analyst knows it first; it's done by an equity analyst. It gives you a kick. He knows where to invest,” says Gupta, talking about his job profile as associate vice president with a knowledge process outsourcing firm in Gurgaon.
“I wasn't interested in accounting, so I took up equity research (two years back),” he says. After an MBA and a chartered financial analyst programme from ICFAI University, he earned the CFA qualification from the US-based CFA Institute. (ICFAI and the CFA Institute are engaged in a legal dispute over the designation.)
“I guess it’s a good option,” says Gupta. Many investment banks and other companies reimburse fees to encourage employees to earn this title.
Though the economic slowdown has jolted the financial sector, the CFAs we spoke to said it’s a promising option. Mumbai-based Mahesh Joshi, a 35-year-old CFA and an MBA, who’s started a finance training website, says, “India is a growing economy. So obviously there’s an inherent demand.”
Hong- Kong-based Ashvin Vibhakar, MD, Asia Pacific region, CFA Institute, says, “I do see an increasing number of job postings that specify ‘CFA charter-holder or CFA candidate’ either ‘required’ or ‘preferred’.” CFAs work for investment companies/ mutual funds; as private client wealth managers; hedge funds; pensions and foundations; and for academic organisations, consultancies or research firms.
Background in accountancy and working knowledge of maths and accountancy helps
Good analytical skills
Interest in financial investment
How do i get there?
You need a Bachelor's degree or equivalent or four years' relevant professional experience to enrol for the US-based CFA Institute's exams. To qualify as a CFA charterholder member, you must become a regular member of the CFA Institute and complete all three levels of the CFA exams. ICFAI University, on the other hand, asks for only a UG degree for its two-year programme. It also offers a one-year accelerated track for CAs, CWAs, CSs and certain MBAs (finance)
Qualified professionals become analysts, fund managers, portfolio managers, traders, accountants/auditors, investment bankers, CEO/ chairman/ partner/ principal/ CIO and CFO
Generally, they work as:
Equity analyst in sell side (with broker-dealer) or buy side (with mutual funds, insurance companies, pension funds etc)
Fixed income analyst:
Credit analyst (with a bank)
Rating analyst (with a rating agency)
Structured product analyst (analyses securitised products)
Risk analyst (mainly with banks)
The CFA Institute is fighting court battles to stop ICFAI University from awarding the Chartered Financial Analyst qualification and using the CFA title and other trademarks
Institutes & URLs
CFA Institute (USA)