Chartered Financial Analysts open doors

DANIEL MURRAY
EFG ASSET MANAGEMENT

DR DANIEL Murray, global head of research at EFG Asset Management, decided to undertake the chartered financial analyst (CFA) qualification when he realised that, although very well-qualified academically, he “wasn’t always speaking the same language as other people. There were some holes in my knowledge, so my reasons were educational,” he says.

Important to Murray is the weight the CFA designation carries. “It’s a very good, base level qualification that ensures everyone is qualified to a minimum standard.” It holds credibility for clients and employers.

Its particular educational benefits lie in the breadth of knowledge and experience it requires. “It doesn’t teach you to be an expert in anything, but it forces you to have a very broad understanding of the investment industry.”

As such, the CFA proves highly relevant to his career in multi-asset, macro-economic investment research. “It comes in useful on a daily basis as I’m always being thrown new and challenging things to think about. It’s good to have prior exposure to some of these things.”

Murray predicts that a CFA designation after a name will prove more and more important. “It’s increasingly essential, whereas ten years ago it was useful. For young people not to enroll in the CFA programme is a career-limiting move.” But “although it does open a door,” once you’ve got it “you then need to get practical experience.”

MARK PARSONSON
LIONGATE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT

CRUCIAL to Mark Parsonson’s decision to undertake a CFA was the “credibility it gives me with both clients and the investment professionals that I deal with.” It “acts as a signal. It’s a rigorous qualification and as such carries a lot of integrity in the industry.”

Parsonson, now executive director at Liongate Capital Management, decided to take part in the programme in the second year of his professional life. “It was useful when I was starting out. It was a signal to others that this was a job I was dedicated to.”
And when he received the CFA charter, it was a catalyst for an internal promotion. “It’s been very helpful in opening up the right doors.” He attributes this largely to improved credibility, and this credibility rests on the academics. The CFA “gives you a perspective of the industry as a whole and acts as a broad knowledge base.”

Parsonson admits that it’s not a qualification “you absolutely have to have, but it’s been essential in allowing me to develop my career at the pace and in the way I’ve wanted to.”

Post credit-crisis, with asset management as an industry shrinking, and the environment remaining difficult for the professionals within it, “the credibility of the qualification is becoming more important.” A CFA is a recipe for improved job security “by helping you stand out from the crowd.”