Congratulations to our CFA Level 1 exam passers!

Six of our Financial Services Risk Management (FSRM) professionals recently passed the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level 1 exam and are one step closer to earning the CFA charter. Associates John Arididon, Jennifer Erma Calaor, Troy James Palanca, Rafael Alexis Sison, Kyle Jemmric Velasco and Ron Lester Yu successfully completed the Level 1 exam, which consists of basic knowledge and comprehension questions focused on investment tools.

From left: Rafael Alexis Sison, John Arididon, Jennifer Erma Calaor, Ron Lester Yu, Troy James Palanca, and Kyle Jemmric Velasco

Offered by the CFA Institute, the CFA program is a globally recognized self-study program for investment professionals. Passing the three-level CFA exam series on 10 subject areas (e.g., equity instruments, fixed income, quantitative methods, alternative investments), as well as meeting professional and ethical requirements, will earn candidates the designation of CFA charterholder. At least six months of preparation for each exam level is recommended and successful candidates take an average of four years to complete the program.

Aside from their personal development, the passers believe that enrolling in the CFA program will have a significant impact on their contributions to the Firm, helping them improve the quality of their work. In Rafael’s case, having a better understanding of the topics covered allows him to support his teammates. He says, “I feel that I could better explain our valuation methodologies to other members of the valuation team because I’m now more familiar with the underlying concepts of our work in FSRM.”

The passers each had their own strategies in preparing for the exam while juggling work, and they were allowed to take time off a few weeks before the exam to focus on studying. “It’s all about time management. I made sure all work was done in the office and I studied for at least an hour every night,” Ron shares. A new hire during the preparation period, Kyle first answered mock exams to identify his problem areas: “For the remainder of my time off, I focused on these areas by reviewing the text to get a better score in every practice exam.”

With undergraduate degrees ranging from Accountancy to Applied Mathematics or Applied Economics and Management Engineering, the passers believe they have a good foundation for a number of the topics covered. But their work in FSRM, including those with other groups in the Firm, also gave them hands-on experience. “For instance, Financial Accounting Advisory Services (FAAS) as well as risk and capital engagements involve financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, and equity and fixed income topics while my derivative valuation engagements were also helpful,” John specifies.

Given the length of time it usually takes to earn the CFA charter, aspiring charterholders are encouraged to enter the program as soon as possible, while they are associates. Troy advises, “Remember that the first few years of our career are investing years, so the time to grab these certifications is now, not later.” But candidates must add hard work and faith to the time they are investing. “In order to gain something, something of an equal value must be given. Study hard. Pray harder,” Jennifer explains.

Good job, everyone! We wish you all the best on the remainder of your CFA journey.

Stay tuned for the next issue of the SGV eNewsletter for an article on the CFA Level 2 exam passers.