Dear readers, copiers and followers. Today I wanted to write a different post than usually. Not about investing itself, but more about life and how fulfilling education can be. Guess what?? Two days ago I got a call confirming that I have succefully passed the final exam for prestigeous CIIA charter granted by the Swiss Association of Certified International Investment Analysts (ACIIA)!!! It’s a great achievement for me personally and an acknowledgement that all my life’s efforts to become a better investment professional were a step in the right direction.
There’s less than 9 000 CIIA’s in the world and somewhat north of 50 people in Poland that hold this charter. It is widely acknowledged in Europe and Asia among financial institutions and confirms top quality qualitifcations and knowledge in the area of investments. It’s US equivalent is CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), which I tried to start passing 2 times, but because of my everyday work obligations (9-11 hrs/day), never proceeded with far enough. Until I quit corporation…..
Which was by far one of the toughest decisions in my life surely. But for a few years already I have been suffocating and not feeling that I develop myself as a person as well as a financial professional. I worked a sell-side equity Sales/Trader, but my ambition was always beyond it. As years went by I was always more into macro strategy investing, global asset allocation and portfolio management, rather than just trading and sales. Finally, at the start of 2020, I made the final decision to go my own way and quit the corporation I had worked for for almost 14 years. I was fed up and even though I did not know what my exact plan is going forward I had to make a change…
I definitely knew that it was possibly one of my last moments (yes I am over 40 now alerady!) to try and pass one of the financial professionals charters that was always my hidden ambition. I wanted to do it for myself. I decided to go for CIIA, as given the fact that I already own the Stock Exchange Broker Licence (No.1933) I could attend the final 3rd part of the whole process, without having to do all three stages, which would take years (as passing CFA does). The final part is obviously most complicated and voluminous. The test itself lasts 6 hours (3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon). The content involved: Corporate finance, Economics, Financial accounting and statement analysis, Equity valuation and analysis, Fixed income valuation and analysis, Derivatives, Portfolio Magement.
The effort, the work
There’s been a hell lot of it! Over 12 months of heavy learning. 3-7 hours a day plus tests and repeats from previous years. Understanding the material was one thing, putting it together into one compund knowledge was another thing and using it to solve complex problems and questions during the test was yet another. Frankly, as I walked out of the test after 6 hours, I was so exhausted that literally all my body was hurting! Including my jaws :). Never knew that thinking can be such a tough work phisically haha.
Chances? I was thinking less than 50% for sure. I felt like I have not spent enough time learning (yeah, after one year not enough I thought!). I have a lot of experience in equities, economics, derivatives, but accounting and bonds have never been my main point of interest. But accounting went well for me I felt. Bonds were the biggest problem. Durations, convexities, yield curves, etc. – it takes a lot of multilayer thinking.. Felt like I spoilt quite a bit in that area.
The waiting for results took 8 weeks for ACIIA to complete tests from all over Europe and check them. I was happy with the effort I have made, but was ready accept defeat with dignity. And then came the call 🙂 Yahooooo! Feels great when you get to know that all the work you have done over such a long time was worth it.
Stay working hard. Never loose your strategic goals off your sight. Keep your persistance and never stop dreaming!
PS: on this not-to-handsome and bad quality photo it’s me after I finished going throught all the materials :)))))