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Old 28-09-2011, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by tcyeric View Post
well my current salary is $2600, so after CPF i take home a little less than 2100

money for mother - $450
bills - $400
money for forced savings plans (S.O. is unemployed for 9 months, so i'm bearing full amt) - $600

Remaining : $550

this is even before deductions for transport and meals and savings (for 'disposable income')

you could say that i have unrealistic expectations but when i compare with my peers who have graduated with me, i am significantly behind all of them (i know i shouldn't compare but one should have a yard stick no?)
There is nothing wrong with comparing among your peers to get a sense on where you are, but the problem is most people have no way of getting first hand knowledge on what their peers are earning.

This results in a lot of hearsay, BS and big cannon stories floating around. Relying on such nonsense does nothing but generate unhealthy envy. For a start, I wouln't categorise making $2600 as "earning lesser than fresh graduates." Most non-technical degree graduates get $2500-$2800 for their first jobs while certain hot engineering disciplines do offer up to $3000 for a freshie.

Civil service tends to pay higher at first due to all that nonsense about paying for honors and NS, but their pay progression tapers off once you are in for 5 years. In short, I would say $2600 is a typical experience of a fresh grad, not lesser in any sense.

As for CFA level 1, i did both times with abt less than a month of full time studying :|(i.e. clear leave and study) and i am rather numerically inclined. first time i failed was due to FSA and Ethics, second time was due to Economics. Every calculation topic i had no issues.
Then really no choice, start the hardcore brute memorising route for these modules on your third try.

i get your point with regards to financial analysts and stocking picking, i would just say that i want to learn the skills etc, i mean surely investment firms rely upon their research analysts to pick investments for them no? :|
No. For a start, "investment firm" is a very broad based term that means different things to different people. Many trading houses rely solely on technical analysis (charting + indicators) that require zero understanding on finance. There are also many commodities based brokers that trade futures for oil, precious metals, coal, corn, sugar etc, they rely more on program trading and hardly any financial analysis other than a broad understanding of the global economy,

Then there are the many boutique hedge funds that invest in derivatives, swaps, futures, forex etc. who use esoteric complex modelling and trading rules which includes many economic and non-economic variables that has nothing to do with financial analysis of individual companies. Many ETFs or index funds invest based on indexing mechanics that once again, have also nothing to do with how good a financial analyst you are.

If you do in-house acquisition, financial modelling is usually a small part of a much wider due deligence process. No senior management is going to sit down and read your buy / sell report and base their acquisition decision on that. You can count yourself lucky if they even bother to include a Financial Analyst in the process.

I think what you have in mind is equity funds that adopt a value based investment approach. While many banks and research companies employ equities analysts to publish reports, it is also an industry open sercret that they don't really follow their recommendations.

In short, your perception of a financial analyst in an investment firm is a very small subset of the entire financial investment world. If you truly like Finance per se, by all means carry on with CFA. However, if what you are really interested in is to be in the investment action and reaping big bucks in the process, I urge you to keep an open mind and not be too adamant in your train of thought of getting CFA, publish buy/sell report, work in Research department etc. The investment world is much wider than that.

As for picking up skills for individual stock picking, I would say having some basic Finance knowledge is mandatory, but beyond that I do not see much value in being a successful stock picker. If that were true, I should be seeing a disproportionate number of successful retail investors from the Finance or Treasury department, but from what I can observe the good ones are all over the place from different backgrounds that most of the time have nothing to do with Finance.
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