The participants, usually students within university economics and finance faculties, then prepare an analysis of the company, also drawing on all public information. The managing director of the CFA Institute’s Asia-Pacific operations, Ashvin Vibhakar, says many students have told him they learned more from the challenge than from the entirety of their university courses up to that point. The CFA designation remains something of a long-term aspiration for these students – qualifying still requires four years of “eligible” work experience, which basically means it must involve analysis feeding into an investment decision-making process, or the teaching of same. Rogers says the CFA qualification has been shedding its “institutional” image over the past few years, with the demand from sophisticated retail investors for better financial advice meaning more financial advisers now seek the designation.
As a result, the CFA Institute has in the past few years begun advertising in publications perceived to have a high-net-worth audience, including The Economist, the Financial Times and The Times of India. CFA catching on in Australia The largest CFA society in Australia, Sydney, now has more than 1000 members and according to its president, Brindha Gunasingham, an independent investment strategy consultant, its growth has been strong. Indeed, part of John Rogers’ visit involved a dinner at which some of Sydney’s 105 successful new CFA applicants for 2010 were recognised. They were among the 145 applicants who gained the designation in Australia last year.