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CFA post ACA

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    • Denne
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      Hi, sorry I’m sure this has been covered before but any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

      I will be a qualified ACA (currently exam qualified) in September and am very interested into getting into an equity research role, has anyone made this move?

      In my favour I have first time times passes and work in financial services audit, however I don’t work for a big4 firm, nor do I have any relevant internships.

      To anyone who has done the ACA and CFA Level 1, how do they compare?

      Is doing CFA Level 1 before qualifying the best use of my time to position myself for this move?

      Thanks in advance for any advice

    • Sophie Macon
      Keymaster
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      Hi @Denne, welcome the the community!

      In fact, @kmd890 just recently asked the community about ACA vs. CFA, where there was some extensive discussions going on. I think you can both help each other out here.


      @Beancounter
      is an accountant (ACA equivalent I believe in the US? correct me if I’m wrong here) and a CFA candidate, he’d be able to shed some light.

      But given your interest in heading for an equity research role, CFA is highly relevant and your ACA background would help for the preparation as FRA sections should be a breeze for you. You can also directly apply for junior roles in equity research now, given your ACA background. But nowadays having a CFA seems to be the norm as an analyst anyway. Doing a Level 1 now would also help add an extra edge to your CV, though not necessary to get a research job.

      Have you been interviewing for positions in equity research? Any feedback so far?

    • Denne
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      Hi @Sophie, thanks for the quick reply!

      Unfortunately I would not be able to qualify as an ACA if I leave before September, and so I haven’t started interviewing. However I’m trying to make use of a few contacts and start a bit of networking in preparation.

      From what you say I will probably have to do the CFA anyway, so it seems now is as good as time as ever!

      Thanks again

    • BeanCounter
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      Hi Denne,

      I’m an ACA (ICAEW) and have quite a few friends who made the jump to equity research (I went in a different direction personally). You need to be aware that equity research is very, very competitive to get into.

      What this means in practice is that they are usually looking for:

      • A first class degree from a top university (Oxbridge, Edinburgh/St Andrews or very good Red Brick)
      • First time passes
      • Proven report writing experience
      • Relevant experience in the sector you want to research

      Your first time passes are a good thing, but your financial services audit background is unlikely to be a help and may in fact hinder you (the investment banks would prefer you had been in audit in the sector you would be covering). Starting the CFA is a good idea and shows you are willing and interested.

      The best thing you can do is get going on the CFA and use those contacts.

    • Denne
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      Hi BeanCounter,

      Thanks for the advice, I have now signed up for level 1 so going to give it a shot.

      If nothing else, if i pass at least it will provide plenty of options out of audit!

    • BeanCounter
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      Good luck – and any questions feel free to ask.
      Also, make sure you don’t ignore FRA on the basis they’re questions about financial statements: some of the CFA material is incorrect/takes an ‘interesting’ view of accounting. It’s also a very different way of looking at financial statements to auditing.

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