Opportunities amid turbulence

by Aldric Chau

Edward Fung, dean
The Community College and Further Education
Lingnan Institute of Further Education
Photo: Courtesy of LIFE

As businesses shrink and employers hunker down, people are more reluctant to invest in a volatile market. It is, however, a good time to invest in personal upgrade. Among the many professional financial designations, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is perhaps one of the most reputable for practitioners in the financial market.

The Chartered Financial Analyst programme was established in 1959, with nearly 100,000 members worldwide. In preparing committed talent for the challenging examination, Lingnan Institute of Further Education (LIFE) offers CFA Level 1 & 2 examination preparatory courses.

"In view of the current market situation, professional experts such as chartered financial analysts are in surging demand," remarks Edward Fung, dean, the Community College and Further Education, LIFE. "Candidates should obtain the necessary qualifications, skills and knowledge through our programme if they aim to work inside the financial services industry and make their contribution to the market."

The LIFE programme utilises market knowledge from experienced financial experts, with study materials from Stalla, a professional training company established in 1971 for the CFA examination.

"The Stalla system, our training modules and materials match perfectly with the syllabus of the CFA programme, helping to maximise candidates' performance significantly," reveals Oscar Tang, a programme instructor.

User-friendly study tools are important for part-time learners who may have to study on their own. LIFE provides a comprehensive set of integrated study resources including a Stalla study guide, practice workbooks and lecture notes. To create an interactive learning atmosphere, Stalla knowledge base, an internet platform, allows students to raise questions and discuss them with Stalla tutors.

"The lecture CDs we provide are another essential learning channel that help students manage their progress with greater flexibility. The 'Passmasters' CD contains more than 3,000 questions similar to those in a real CFA examination. When students incorrectly answer a question, they are guided to crosscheck with the reference notes," Mr Tang adds.

Passing CFA examinations can be an uphill battle because the syllabus covers a wide scope of highly specialised knowledge. Candidates should be proficient in a range of disciplines, including corporate finance, professional standards, global market instruments and portfolio management, among others.

Work experience is also required, Mr Tang notes. "Finance is fundamentally an experience-oriented profession. Theoretical knowledge alone is not enough. Knowledge application and real-life case studies are essential," he says. Therefore, experts from the respective areas are invited to lecture so that students can learn the latest market practices.

To help students digest all the course materials, classes are designed in a way that students are encouraged to engage in small group discussions. "This helps to consolidate all the knowledge effectively in an intensive learning environment," explains Mr Tang.

With strong support from teaching staff, comprehensive materials and dedication, CFA candidates should have confidence in passing the exam with flying colours, Dr Fung concludes.

Taken from Career Times 20 February 2009, p. A10
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