The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Right Degree

If you’re interested in portfolio management, investment research, advisory services or investment banking, this may be the right career for you. The chartered financial analyst (CFA) programme offers a globally recognised standard for measuring the competence of financial analysts. The CFA examination measures your ability to apply investment principles at a professional level. One of the objectives of the programme is to provide insights into practical applications of financial analysis in a dynamic business environment.

The CFA programme has five focus areas: financial markets, analysis and valuation, portfolio management, mutual and other funds, and the code of ethics.

Financial analysts are responsible for financial modelling, budgeting, forecasting, supporting the launch of initiatives and taking a leadership role in defining new financial and operational processes. They may have to travel frequently to visit companies and talk to potential investors, while dealing with the pressure of deadlines.

What do I have to do'

Financial analysts provide investment analysis and guidance to businesses and individuals to help them with their investment decisions. They assess the economic performance of companies for investors. They work for banks, insurance companies, mutual and pension funds, securities firms and other businesses.

Financial analysts use spreadsheet and statistical software packages to analyse financial data, spot trends and develop forecasts. Those in the investment banking departments of securities or banking firms often work in teams. They analyse the future prospects of companies that want to sell shares to the public for the first time. They also ensure that the forms and written materials necessary for compliance with regulations are accurate and complete. They may make presentations to prospective investors about the merits of investing in a new company.

Financial analysts also work in mergers and acquisitions departments, preparing analyses of the costs and benefits of a proposed merger or takeover.

What should I study'

You should be a graduate in any discipline from a recognised university to seek admission to the CFA programme. Those appearing in the final year examination of their undergraduate programme are also eligible. However, MBAs, postgraduate diploma holders in management, chartered accountants, cost and work accountants, company secretaries and professionals in the banking, financial services and insurance sectors are eligible for waivers in certain subjects of the CFA programme.

What next'

Employment opportunities exist in sectors like banking, insurance, the corporate sector and companies dealing with finance and leasing. The Reserve Bank of India, the International Development Bank of India, the Industrial Finance Corporation of India and the Indian Railways recognise the CFA programme and employ trained CFAs. Besides these, a trained CFA can go into business as an independent business consultant or join an existing consultancy firm.

A chartered accountancy or a cost accountancy firm is another option for a trained CFA. He / she can work as an appraisal executive, a fund manager, an investment manager, a financial analyst, a manager, a financial consultant or an investment advisor.

Financial analysts work for security and commodity brokers, exchanges and investment services firms and for depository and non-depository institutions. Some also work for insurance companies, computer and data processing services, and management and public relations firms.

The deregulation of the financial services industry is also expected to spur the demand for financial analysts. Since banks, insurance companies and brokerage firms have been allowed to broaden their financial services, many firms are adding investment consultancy to their list of services and are expected to hire more financial analysts. The globalisation of the securities markets as well as the increased complexity of many financial products will also increase the need for analysts and advisors to help investors make financial choices. And business mergers and acquisitions will probably continue to require the services of financial analysts.

where to study

  • The ICFAI University, Agartala.
  • CFA Institute, Charlottesville, US.
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