Financial Analysis Course A Boost For Females In Investment Industry

A financial analyst course run by the Association for the Investment Management and Research (AIMR) is helping to boost the number of young women in the traditionally male-dominated world of investment.

The 2000 intake of Australian students to complete the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) course graduated this month (November 16) and range from a high-profile Chief Executive to younger participants in the industry.

At the senior management level is a graduate Justin Wood, CEO of Barclays Global Investors Australia Ltd, and a former faculty member at the Australian Graduate School of Management.

Among the younger women graduates this year are 33-year-old Victoria Rati of Lazards Asset Management, 29 year-old Olivia Howell from the Commonwealth Financial Services.

Victoria Rati found the CFA course invaluable and says both the knowledge and the contacts from the 3-year course will significantly boost her career.

"I thought the standards were high. I chose the CFA course over a Masters in Finance because it was more geared to investment financial and the level of knowledge would be specifically useful to global funds management.

"It also gives you the confidence from the depth of the subjects covered in the course" she says.

Approximately one year ago Victoria moved from Frank Russell to Lazard Asset Management and believes the CFA program helped in the transition.

Lazard's equity analysts undertake detailed financial and fundamental analysis and the depth of knowledge in level 11 is very useful in understanding this analysis", she says.

Yvonne Ooi, Senior Consultant at Frank Russell says the CFA gives instant credibility, both locally and internationally, as it demands mastering a certain body of knowledge and this is very helpful for career progression.

"The good thing is that the course teaches you how to apply and think about the accounting concepts, in security analysis for example, rather than just learning about the rules", she says.

Yvonne finds the self-learning, self-pacing approach to the course suits her bettering juggling the demands of work, study and family.

She noted that Frank Russell employs many female investment professionals at various levels of the organization. Olivia Howell, Analyst, Strategy and Research, from Commonwealth Investment Management, believe that although the ratio of women and men employed in investment management and related subjects at university.

"It's exciting to see more and more women are discovering the personal and professional rewards to be gained from this industry", she says.

The CFA course was first administered in 1963 in the US and is now recognised globally as the definitive measurement of knowledge and integrity in the investment management community.

The CFA program is divided into three levels - starting with the tools and concepts of investment valuation followed by asset valuation and culminating with portfolio management and asset allocation.

Each level takes around 250m hours of study and leads to a written examination held once a year in the first week of June.

The course is low cost and the CFA designation gives its global reach is portable and can be referenced through the website:

AIMR is a non-profit investor and advocacy organization, with members in over 90 countries. In Australia, the Sydney Society of Financial Analysts is the member body representing Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA's).