If you have CFA it means you are not working hard enough…

This post shares some of the life lessons I learned when I was working as an equities research analyst at investment banks.

Throughout my research career, there was actually not a lot of focus on the CFA designation. Although I did do Level 1 straight out of university.

After that, once I started in research, I actually didn’t hear a lot of talks about it and to be honest, I didn’t really get to apply a lot of what I learned but that is perhaps due to the job nature of what I did.

In fact, the title of this post is one of the comments one of our seniors told us many years ago, I guess, half jokingly.

As an associate, you are supposed to come in each day at around 7–8 am and stay until at least 8–9 pm so if you managed to pass your CFA exam, your boss would think you are probably slacking off or he can give you more work.

Another quote is “The best analysts are those that spend the most money”.

And this is because for the most part, finance is networking, relationship management. And some clients, companies management really enjoy that part. They would ask for more movie tickets for premiere nights and expensive dinners. So analysts that facilitate that as well will do better. These are the analysts that spend money but earn back more for the firm.

In fact, many analysts have personal relationships with their clients such as going out for dinners/movies together and going to gym/tai chi/exercise/football/tennis etc. It is very normal as both the analysts and the clients, ie, the buy side investors are really dedicated professionals so they could share market knowledge during these times as well. This should be similar in other industries/businesses.

Back in one Christmas, I also bought a small gift from a luxury brand for each of my closer clients and companies management that were within company and compliance budget. Although that budget has continued to decline over the years. It is also customary for us to prepare physical Christmas cards to our clients. I remember I spent many Christmas Eves at the Post Office to write out Christmas Cards for my boss to his clients. For some of the closer clients, we also prepared Christmas Hampers.

I would say client management is a fundamental part of the business in a way more important than producing quality research especially in this age where there are too much noises.


Categories:careers, investment banking

Tags: , ,

2 replies


  1. How I got from Back Office to Front Office in Banking – The Banking to Startup Diary
  2. Banking Wears Prada — what it takes to be a Star – The Banking to Startup Diary

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