CFA CFA General 7 Must-Know Tips to Getting Your CFA Work Experience Approved (Plus a Bonus Tip!)

7 Must-Know Tips to Getting Your CFA Work Experience Approved (Plus a Bonus Tip!)

  • This topic has 51 replies, 20 voices, and was last updated Mar-18 by Yepyeps.
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    • Zee Tan
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      7 Must-Know Tips to Getting Your CFA Work Experience Approved (Plus a Bonus Tip!)

      Now, seriously, what on earth does CFA Institute mean by ‘relevant work experience’? In the whole CFA process, passing the 3 exams is without question the hardest part of the entire shebang. But if…

      Read the full story here

    • shane
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      So i’m looking at starting the CFA exams this winter. My biggest concern comes from the work experience.

      “#7. Managing your own investments does not qualify. So does running investment clubs, managing your family/friends’ investments, and so on. You need professional experience, i.e. you do this for a living.”

      I understand that managing your own investments does not qualify.
      However, besides 2 years of Wall Street experience, i have now been an Independent Day Trader, full-time, successful (couple thousand trades/year) for more than 4 years now. I do this from home, would anybody say this satisfies the work experience or not?

      I’m not “managing my own investments” i’m trading actively for a living… investments are longer-term in nature than a couple minutes or hours.
      I understand the spirit of the rule that the CFA posted, where they don’t want everyone and their mom saying they manage their own money.

      Any ideas? Has anyone heard of a Prop Trader having a CFA?
      Thanks guys!

    • BobBarkerPlaysPlinko
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      I was told that CFAI can be lenient on the experience requirement.

      I was a financial advisor for 2 years and I’ve been in commercial lending for six. Can anyone weigh in there?

    • clwcain
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      Work experience is actually my biggest hesitation to starting this process. Exams can be studied for…but getting the work experience approved strikes fear into my nearly-middle-aged heart. I suspect my time in FP&A won’t be as acceptable as I’d like it to be.
      :((

    • Zee Tan
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      @shane I think your experience should qualify – the issue is with getting the necessary references. I must say I’m not sure how references for an independent day trader would be. If you can find suitable references it should be fine.


      @bobbarkerplaysplinko
      that sounds pretty alright to me.


      @clwcain
      Can you give us more detail on what is your FP&A experience? That sounds pretty relevant to me.

    • clwcain
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      @Zee: Over 7 years of budgeting (annual and rolling), forecasting, variance analysis, GL account recons, providing portfolio stats to rating agencies, preparation of operations reviews for management, incentive compensation plans, building dashboards, etc. Most of my experience is in mortgages, either origination or servicing.

      Am I just construing the requirements too narrowly?

    • Zee Tan
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      @clwcain budgeting and forecasting sounds relevant, so does rating agency data prep. It’s very similar to writing a cover letter – there is a degree of subjectivity and as long as you can clearly state how your work experience is relevant it should work.

    • clwcain
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      @Zee
      Thank you. That’s very encouraging. The thought of getting to L3 and then having to find suitable work experience has held me back from pursuing this for several years. But the more time I spent discerning what direction I’ve felt called to, the more frequently the CFA has continued to present itself as one of the next steps.

      Everyone I know IRL who has a CFA either got it after doing M&A work or spending a couple of years with a bulge bracket bank. Perhaps my expectations of what is required are skewed as a result.

    • Zee Tan
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    • clwcain
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      Thanks, @Zee. I had missed that thus far.

    • clwcain
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      Okay. According to their Work Experience Assessment widget my experience is “VER…”. Since it isn’t “NOT” (pardon the double-negative) it’s probably worth talking to some of the CFAs I know IRL about the local chapter, etc. and beginning the prep cycle for L1 in 2014.

    • Brentgolf
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      I am a full time option trader. Besides trading my own money of course, I also have a full service website and manage money for a handful of other clients. This is my business and my full time job as I do receive management fees from my clients. 100% of my day to day work involves analyzing markets and making trading decisions for me and my client portfolios.

      Does this sound like something that would be considered relevant work experience? It’s certainly 100% trading oriented. But since it’s my own business, does that count?

      Thanks

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @Brentgolf , welcome to 300HC 🙂 That sounds like relevant experience to me!

    • Brentgolf
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      Thanks for the reply Sophie. I’ve been thinking of starting the CFA course to enhance my existing business, but that work experience part really scares me because i’ve never had an industry job and I’m just not sure having my own investment fund would qualify.

      Could I ask a few follow up questions? I know there is no cut and dry rules for this, but do you think my investment fund would have to have a certain number of paying clients or achieve a certain amount of capital under management to qualify as relevant?

    • Sophie Macon
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      @brentgolf – From my understanding, as long as you have references (e.g. clients, etc) that would act as your sponsor upon passing Level 3 to answer a few questions about you, that should be fine. Size of investment fund isn’t relevant, someone who would testify about your relevant finance experience is the key.

    • Boon
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      Hi, thanks for the article, between this and the “how to check” post I have a pretty good idea what to expect. My question is, as a budget analyst in the public sector, a significant part of my work does relate to the “investment decision making process”, however the investment here is with capital, human and equipment resources, and not anything to do with the trading market. Would this still qualify?

    • Zee Tan
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      Hi @boon – I don’t see why not! Investment decisions can also mean asset purchases, project investments, not necessarily securities investments.

    • aliza_khan
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      I belong to Pakistan and am going to be an overseas student for CFA Level 2 in London. I already have 2 years of relevant professional experience in Pakistan. I read your article, which says, “internship experience won’t count in relevant professional experience”. Based upon my student status , I am afraid to get a full time job, whereas an internship would be possible. Can you please guide me regarding making my work experience to be qualified?

    • Zee Tan
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      I am afraid to get a full time job


      @aliza_khan
      Why would you be afraid to get a full-time job?

      I’m afraid you’ll have to have a full-time job for work experience to be counted towards your CFA charter.

    • Boon
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      Thanks that is good to hear.

    • aliza_khan
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      @Zee Because of my immigration status of an overseas student….i am afraid i wont be allowed a full time job.

    • gtmchdhry
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      How long can u take to meet the four yr requirement after finishing the levels

    • Zee Tan
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      How long can u take to meet the four yr requirement after finishing the levels

      You could already meet the requirements – work experience and passing the exams are entirely separate issues.

    • pkrathi
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      Hi,

      I have recently passed Level 3. Have experience of 40 months in Investment Banking as Lead Advisory (client advisory for M&A and Private Equity Raising) and 23 months for venture start up with a aim to develop and profitably divest. In these 23 months my role includes the following:
      Business start up’s strategic activities including feasibility study and execution planning; Advising new businesses on company formation and business structures, drafting policies, structuring, operational procedures; Evaluating acquisition opportunities; Strategic Consulting, including business plan & marketing and sales strategy development; Business development and associated activities.

      Need to ask: Whether I can include 23 months as a part of relevant experience as per CFA guidelines?

      Thanks

    • Sophie Macon
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      @pkrathi, welcome to 300HC. Your experiences would count as relevant, so no worries there! Congratulations on passing your Level 3 and getting the charter!

    • agarwalvasudha
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      I have cleared all 3 levels and also have four years of work experience..but I am not currently employed. Will that be a hindrance in getting my CFA charter?

    • Sophie Macon
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      I shouldn’t think so @agarwalvasudha. Have you applied for your chartership yet? As long as you have referrals for the relevant work experience I don’t think state of employment would matter.

    • agarwalvasudha
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      No i haven’t applied for the charter yet.

    • Sophie Macon
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      Go for it, there shouldn’t be a reason to wait right @agarwalvasudha? Your long awaited reward 🙂

    • misswhiplash
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      Quick q – I passed level 3 this year (yay), have just paid up to be a member of the institute and local society and have had my work experience approved (per the CFA website). How do I get the actual letters after my name? I was kind of expecting just to automatically be awarded the charter, but I’m not in the member directory (or list of new members) as a charterholder…
      Do I need to do anything to apply? There’s nothing obvious on the website as far as I can see…

    • Zee Tan
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      @misswhiplash, welcome to 300 Hours! I think your question’s been answered in the other forum thread (http://forum.300hours.com/discussion/729/references#latest), so come Sept 4th hopefully you’ll get a nice big charter certificate 🙂

    • MattyJ
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      @misswhiplash I think I read on the website that you should receive your charter by post within 20 days of getting the confirmation email…unless you want them to send it to your society for a formal ceremony (I.e. the UK society does an annual formal ceremony like a graduation, and you can opt in to receive it there).

    • Sophie Macon
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      @misswhiplash, welcome to 300HC – there’ll be a CFA certificate (that’s larger than life) also on your way to keep (somewhere) as a reminder of your hard work 😉

    • misswhiplash
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      @Sophie Awesome! I was going to to say that I shall stash it away with my ACA one (also ridiculously large), but I realise that I have no idea where that might be or even if it still exists 🙂

    • misswhiplash
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      @MattyJ Formal ceremony – hmmm – not sure that sounds very fun. Though I guess you never know 🙂

    • misswhiplash
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      @Zee Gottit – ta!

    • Sophie Macon
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      Wow awesome @misswhiplash – we’d love it if you’re happy to share your experience with us through an interview actually, given your ACA + CFA. I’m sure the 300HC is keen to hear about your experiences (like how you’d survived :)) ), how helpful was ACA for FRA etc etc. Let @zee know by PM if you’re keen!

    • Ethuriel
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      During my studies for my bachelor’s degree in business administration (major in finance & banking) I was employed at 80% for four years, amongst others as a assistant in a wealth management provider. Do you think there is no chance that this is accountable as work experience? and if not, what happens if i would every pass Level III?

    • Sophie Macon
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      Yes it should be fine @Ethuriel‌!

    • Ethuriel
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      Hi Sophie, thanks for getting back to me. What do you mean by fine? Is the bachelors degree sufficient or do you also need work experience?

    • Sophie Macon
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      Sorry I wasn’t clear @Ethuriel‌ – what I meant is your work experience would count. So when you pass level 3, you’d have sufficient work experience to apply for a charterholdership (from a work experience perspective at least, there are some other requirements like joining the local CFA society etc). Bachelor’s degree is not enough (without work experience) for charterholdership.

    • Ethuriel
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      thanks, Sophie. Could you answer me one last question? It’s unclear to me why my work experience would count, although working time part is not counted. What happends if the CFA institute declines an application for a charterholdership?

    • Sophie Macon
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      Can you tell me more about being “80%” employed for 4 years in wealth mgmt? I’m sure your experience would count, but just need to check why it’s 80% (as part time normally is lower than that), and how is this segregated over 4 years? Would you explain your work arrangement for that past 4 years? Is it partly full time for X years, then part time for Y years?

    • shaikhanal
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      Can you please let me know if Bank credit officer, Investment (Mutual Fund) accountant and Mutual Fund Financial reporting specialist professionals count for work experience for the CFA?

    • hairyfairy
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      @shaikhanal‌ that all sounds fine to me…

    • TeaTree
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      > @Sophie Hello Sophie, My name is Tea Tree. By this month finally get my 48 hours work experience in US, but all of them are in cooperate financial analysis area, forecasting, budgeting, profitability analysis,inventory analysis so we know where to invest by category and inventories. Also some credit analysis for for account receivable functionality. Do you think these will pass the work experience test? I pass level 3 last year, but very scared of my not that finance industry work experience hours. I really appreciate if you give me some suggestion.

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hey @Teatree, welcome! 

      I presume you meant 48 months, rather than 48 hours work experience? 🙂
      Yes, your work experiences are very relevant, no worries at all. Congrats, you’re en route to getting the charterholdership!

    • TeaTree
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      @ Sophie.. you are right, 48 months… see how much I worried about this:P

      another concern: I will have my previous job team lead as reference, she is a senior accountant. and my current supervisor who is a VP for a division in our company. they are not CFO or Treasury. it that sounds okay to you? I also have an CFA friend in another country who want to be my reference, but she never worked with me, is that okay to have her reference or no? thanks again.

      Sophie said:
      Hey @Teatree, welcome! 

      I presume you meant 48 months, rather than 48 hours work experience? 🙂
      Yes, your work experiences are very relevant, no worries at all. Congrats, you’re en route to getting the charterholdership!

    • Farooq
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      About point number 5. Teacher! Hopefully I will be starting out as a Finance teacher by the end of Feb 2015. However, just to make it clear (and not waste time), does it make you eligible if you teach finance for 4 years (say at a college) to BBAs or MBAs? Also What kind of subjects in finance qualify. Assume I teach corporate finance or Portfolio or derivatives for 4 years will that be good or do I have to teach all the areas of CFA over time. Or anything else that I am missing
      Also does teaching fulfill the requirement in point 4?

    • JollyAtLife
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      I have a qualifier question. I have 15 years of business and corporate finance experience in the technology and defense sector and I am interested in taking the CFA Level 1 for several reasons. My question is this: how does the Institute treat the experience of those responsible for writing, analyzing, and conducting peer reviews of financial models and business cases outside of investment banking? ie comparing CF analysis to rank new R&D and strategic efforts? In addition, I currently have been responsible for reporting EVMS (earned value) on programs to our customers as well as supplying documentation for revenue and expense accruals. Will the CFA institute discriminate against this type of experience b/c it is outside the realm of investment banking? Thanks

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hey @JollyAtLife‌ , your experience most certainly count as relevant work experience for CFA charter purposes – I was in CF when I took and finish my CFA exams too.

    • Yepyeps
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      “#7. Managing your own investments does not qualify. So does running investment clubs, managing your family/friends’ investments, and so on. You need professional experience, i.e. you do this for a living.”

      I don’t understand what you mean by professional and do this for a living. I invest my own money for a living, so it’s probably qualified as professional experience?

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