snakesnake
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I'm currently an ACA trainee in audit at one of the Big Four however I really want to be an analyst in corporate finance or asset management/equity research once I qualify.

As such I've been looking into how I can prepare myself for this future career and what I can do to make myself stand out against other candidates.

I've already decided to do Level 1 CFA but then I also started reading about the CISI exams and I was wondering: are they worth it if I already have an ACA and CFA L1 under my belt?

They're not that expensive (compared to CFA) but obviously not a drop in the bucket either. If I do say 1-2 of their exams, will it add a lot to my CV or is the CFA L1 sufficient for the initial leap into this industry?

Also how difficult are these exams? What kind of hours would you need to put in to pass?

Thanks!
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James222
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You need work experience not exams
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7M33R
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(Original post by snakesnake)
I'm currently an ACA trainee in audit at one of the Big Four however I really want to be an analyst in corporate finance or asset management/equity research once I qualify.

As such I've been looking into how I can prepare myself for this future career and what I can do to make myself stand out against other candidates.

I've already decided to do Level 1 CFA but then I also started reading about the CISI exams and I was wondering: are they worth it if I already have an ACA and CFA L1 under my belt?

They're not that expensive (compared to CFA) but obviously not a drop in the bucket either. If I do say 1-2 of their exams, will it add a lot to my CV or is the CFA L1 sufficient for the initial leap into this industry?

Also how difficult are these exams? What kind of hours would you need to put in to pass?

Thanks!
You are far better off moving to CF and just learning your trade there. I'm at KPMG and I know that all the CF grads do the ACA.
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AW1983
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I asked some of my colleagues this question and the general consensus I got was that CFA was a broader qualification, generally more respected in the industry and would suffice for an excellent CV.

However, that is not to say that CISI does not have a useful purpose or cannot compete with the CFA. What my colleagues told me is that CISI does very well in certain niche areas and they're an excellent resource for development and CPD. In particular, they say some exams can be harder than CFA (they all cited the Derivatives paper, shortly to be withdrawn and replaced with a capital markets paper) and very respected in their niche. Also, they are of course UK centric and cover local financial regulation in more depth than the CFA will.

So I would say get your broad base first and then when you know more specifically where your long term career is going, then give CISI a look.
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snakesnake
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(Original post by AW1983)
I asked some of my colleagues this question and the general consensus I got was that CFA was a broader qualification, generally more respected in the industry and would suffice for an excellent CV.

However, that is not to say that CISI does not have a useful purpose or cannot compete with the CFA. What my colleagues told me is that CISI does very well in certain niche areas and they're an excellent resource for development and CPD. In particular, they say some exams can be harder than CFA (they all cited the Derivatives paper, shortly to be withdrawn and replaced with a capital markets paper) and very respected in their niche. Also, they are of course UK centric and cover local financial regulation in more depth than the CFA will.

So I would say get your broad base first and then when you know more specifically where your long term career is going, then give CISI a look.
Thank you for your reply.

I guess for now then I'll focus on the CFA and leave the CISI for later (if at all).

What do you think are the chances of an ACA from Big Four audit (plus about a year's worth of financial analyst work in industry) with CFA Level 1 breaking into equity research (buy or sell side) or capital markets/IB/M&A?
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AW1983
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Difficult question for me I'm afraid. I'm back office (middle office if you believe in it) and work in a compliance role. I touch on front office but not enough to have a detailed knowledge of their recruiting practices. There's a separate forum on TSR that focuses on investment banking that would be worth a try.

However, what I do know that is worth following up is:

1) If you go to a class to study CFA, other students will already be working in these areas and will present a networking opportunity;
2) All the Big 4 have Corporate Finance divisions. Try doing an internal move first before an external one to get the right experience. Generally, I have heard the Big 4 are very good at supporting internal candidates moving into new areas of their businesses.
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Tokyoround
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As someone who has completed the CFA, if you can't get interviews without it, it won't help you all that much. Have you even started applying for stuff yet? What has been the feedback so far?

You need to finish your ACA, look at moving internally, if that doesn't work then look externally. Don't start shelling out £1,000+ for CFA with no idea what you're doing. If you play your cards right you can get a future employer to sponsor it.
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snakesnake
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(Original post by Tokyoround)
As someone who has completed the CFA, if you can't get interviews without it, it won't help you all that much. Have you even started applying for stuff yet? What has been the feedback so far?

You need to finish your ACA, look at moving internally, if that doesn't work then look externally. Don't start shelling out £1,000+ for CFA with no idea what you're doing. If you play your cards right you can get a future employer to sponsor it.
(Original post by AW1983)
Difficult question for me I'm afraid. I'm back office (middle office if you believe in it) and work in a compliance role. I touch on front office but not enough to have a detailed knowledge of their recruiting practices. There's a separate forum on TSR that focuses on investment banking that would be worth a try.

However, what I do know that is worth following up is:

1) If you go to a class to study CFA, other students will already be working in these areas and will present a networking opportunity;
2) All the Big 4 have Corporate Finance divisions. Try doing an internal move first before an external one to get the right experience. Generally, I have heard the Big 4 are very good at supporting internal candidates moving into new areas of their businesses.
Thanks for the feedback guys.

I'm not going to class for CFA, studying it on my own.

I want to use a Level 1 CFA pass to have something on my CV that will differentiate me from all the other newly qualified ACA candidates that are looking to move. Otherwise I won't stand out at all. This will hopefully show my commitment to being an analyst and not remaining an accountant. Is this not true?

I have considered a lateral move within my firm and that is my default course of action to move into transactions/Corp Fin internally and then jump to a bank/fund later. However if its possibly to make the move straight from audit, then I'd definitely go for it.
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Tokyoround
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(Original post by snakesnake)
Thanks for the feedback guys.

I'm not going to class for CFA, studying it on my own.

I want to use a Level 1 CFA pass to have something on my CV that will differentiate me from all the other newly qualified ACA candidates that are looking to move. Otherwise I won't stand out at all. This will hopefully show my commitment to being an analyst and not remaining an accountant. Is this not true?

I have considered a lateral move within my firm and that is my default course of action to move into transactions/Corp Fin internally and then jump to a bank/fund later. However if its possibly to make the move straight from audit, then I'd definitely go for it.
Do you have any contact in those teams? Set up an informal coffee and have a chat to them. Most CF/TS groups have people doing CFA, they can tell you their thoughts.
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snakesnake
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(Original post by Tokyoround)
Do you have any contact in those teams? Set up an informal coffee and have a chat to them. Most CF/TS groups have people doing CFA, they can tell you their thoughts.
Yeah I know someone who moved there from my department. I asked about the CFA specifically and the reply was that the firm doesn't pay for it. Not an official reason but his guess was that anyone with a CFA and Big Four Corp Fin background would just jump ship to a much better paid role somewhere else.
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Tokyoround
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(Original post by snakesnake)
Yeah I know someone who moved there from my department. I asked about the CFA specifically and the reply was that the firm doesn't pay for it. Not an official reason but his guess was that anyone with a CFA and Big Four Corp Fin background would just jump ship to a much better paid role somewhere else.
Hmm that's interesting. PwC have CF/DCM/VDD/TS etc. and some of them have CFA, but only a few make the move, it's not as easy as you think, or maybe PwC offer a better balance that banks etc. cannot.

I'm surprised they don't pay for it, don't GT have a CFA grad scheme? They should have capacity to fund it for managers etc. who wish to study.

Edit: not GT sorry, getting myself mixed up with another thread here.
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compliance
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Hi guys, can anyone please help give some advice....Am a Law Graduate and will like to go into compliance, I am considering doing some training with CISI, i would like help with which of the training would be suitable for a starter as i have no banking experience at all. Am currently working with a local council at the moment as a customer service advisor.. Thanks
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