The CFA examination is one of the toughest exams but the results are very rewarding. A study published by the CFA Institute and Russel Reynolds found the median annual salary of a CFA charterholder is US$115,000, compared with US$78,000 for a non-CFA charterholder. But the overall pass rate for CFA examinations is not high, specially in Hong Kong, where only about 15 out of 100 pass the three levels in three consecutive years.
Thus expert guidance, plus confidence-building, is a must when preparing for this rigorous worldwide professional examination. Such help is available from the Lingnan Institute of Further Education (LIFE)'s Stalla CFA Review Programme which includes tuition by professional practitioners, multi-media teaching aids and sharing of real life cases.
Course consultant Oscar Tang, a lecturer, says the programme is tailored to assist participants in obtaining the CFA designation by gaining a far better understanding of financial analysis.
"When we reach maturity we must manage our own money, and so we ask ourselves, 'When will I have saved enough to buy a house, and to get married and start a family? Should I invest in stocks or enjoy travelling? When should I consider retiring?' These are basic examples of why we must think independently about how we should manage our money," says Mr Tang.
In this regard, the CFA programme can help those who are interested in joining the finance industry, or who wish to acquire skills in the financial field that will enhance the advancement of their careers. Then there is a third category － the shrewd person who wishes to invest intelligently. "Our course is invaluable for all these purposes since it teaches the principles of investment analysis and helps the subject develop sensible investment strategies," Mr Tang says.
LIFE's Stalla CFA Review Programme has been well-received since its launch in 2004. The 60-hour programme is designed for students who plan to sit for the CFA Level I & II examinations, covering these 11 subjects: ethical and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, financial statement analysis, corporate finance, global markets & instruments, equity investments, debt investments, derivative investments, alternative investments and portfolio management. The subjects are taught by a number of experienced professionals specialising in their areas of expertise, providing the linkage between theories and real life cases. In addition, small classes are used to ensure teaching quality.
Joe Leung, another programme lecturer, points out that while finance encompasses a wide spectrum of knowledge, all aforementioned subjects are inter-related. Thus, the sharing of experience among the professionals plays an important part in assisting the candidates to thoroughly understand the application of investment principles in real day-to-day situations.
Another aspect of the programme that distinguishes it from other CFA training courses is its use of cutting-edge multi-media teaching aids like the PassMaster interactive learning platform. As another course consultant Kevin Chan points out, candidates can access thousands of exam-like questions to monitor their progress and stay on track for achieving their best performance. With the assistance of LIFE's Stalla CFA Review Programme, the CFA examination would be an interesting and rewarding experience.