Of the various topics to study in the Level I CFA exam, my favorite was the economics section. I’m a curious person that likes to understand the ‘why’ of everything and being able to identify the drivers of a recession or growth period in a country helped me look at potential investments with a fresh eye.
I also found that some of the material is great for my personal financial life – such as the wealth planning section. In the past 6 years of a volatile market, my personal investments have been invested in a diversified mix of equity, real estate, alternatives, and bonds and I have yielded an 18% IRR with a Sharpe ratio of 1.43.
Outside of the exam room, the ethics section is one element of pride I hold as a CFA charterholder – ensuring there is a code that we follow to gain and retain the trust of the public in what we do. The CFA Institute 2013 Global Market Sentiment Survey showed that the top factor that has contributed to the current lack of trust in the finance industry is "lack of ethical culture within financial firms" supported by 56% of CFA survey respondents.
Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. Theodore Roosevelt