Monday, 23 November 2015

The Market Trading Education industry with qualifications

This is an excerpt from a discussion in my group on the Essex University FTA course. I am very happy with my course, and the other students seem to be as well. The discussion groups on there are like 'super' versions of the market chatter on Twitter. Anyway, this forms a brief summary of the ways you can get educated and qualified in financial subjects, including trading.

Let's talk in general terms about financial education.
CFA
The CFA institute is an accreditation body for general investment professionals, so that's fund managers and their teams, and of course independent financial advisors. It is not really anything to do with trading, which is, as we all know from this course, rather than different to long-term fundamental-based investment. They seem to have three levels of accreditation.
1. Claritas - a 6m course to diploma, about the same 'size' course as the one we are doing. No pre-requisites.
2. CIPM - a 12m course, with letters after your name. Must also have 2 years on the job pre or post. So no good for us 'trade from home' people.
3. CFA - this is 4 years, (300 hours x 3 parts) so in effect is a Master's Degree and then some. Most of it is on tailored portfolio management, although obvious all the basics of finance are covered.
The end result is that you are qualified as a manager of other people's money, and the certification will almost certainly exempt you from some or all of your own countries financial regulation authority's exams (eg the FCA QCF4 in the UK).
You would only want to do this course if you wanted to take the highly specific career managing customer's investments in a bank, hedge fund, or as an independent financial advisor, where everything is about tailored risk and ethics. Even the full CFA doesn't include anything about trading.
However, this is the big one. I found over 67,000 Linkedin entries for CFA but only 219 for CIPM
MBA / ACA
To be honest, if you want to commit to 900 hours of study to learn more about finance/business, you'd better doing an MBA, a much more widely recognised qualification. That teaches how to be a main board company director, with a lot of financial reporting and risk management thrown in. Or go the whole hog and just become a chartered/certified accountant in whatever jurisdiction you live. My business partner did a B.Sc degree in accountancy, and got the practice qualification thrown in.
CMT
The qualification which is purely based on technical analysis is Chartered Market Technician, run by the Market Technicians Association, a global body with HQ in the USA. This course is all technical analysis for Level I, adding risk management in Level II, and going on to portfolio analysis and fundamentals in Level III. Looking at the site, it seems to be a 'super' version of the course we are currently doing. I found 1,476 CMTs on Linkedin. This is certainly the main qualification for tech analysts in the USA. The course is entirely self-study.

Incidentally, the reading list for CMT is immense!
STA Diploma
A much smaller outfit, based only in the UK it seems, is the Society of Technical Analysts, who award a two-part Diploma. Their course is also self-study. The Society seems to be active in social events as well, as you would expect from a one-country organisation.
Others
There are numerous other financial education and award bodies such as
and many more. All of these do diplomas, there are University links, and I expect that many of these courses offer exemptions to higher degrees, and professional body membership. And of course they all let you put letters after you name, which of course is only useful when applying for jobs. An hour or so trawling Linkedin should give you an idea of the kind of jobs that these qualifications lead to.
'Get Rich Quick'
Finally to complete the course list, we mustn't forget the heavily advertised courses we all rejected to come on this one. There are far too many self-study courses to list, and many don't even offer examinations. You are getting close in some to just buying a textbook (ie with test questions at the end of each chapter).
The ones who do offer classroom teaching - the usual model being a free 'taster' seminar, followed by hard sell of a course include inter alia
Learn to Trade (Greg Secker)
The Wealth Training Company (Darren Winters)
MTA Live (£2,000, no tasters. Nothing to do with the MTA!)
and so on. I have nothing against any of these, but of course as standalone companies offering one course, without exams, and presumably just an attendance certificate, there is no way of knowing if they are good. Social media feedback is generally poor on this kind of training company, but that may be because the buyers had unrealistic expectations, due to the way the course was initially marketed.
In the end it all depends on whether you want to learn trading to make a profit, or you want some external recognised qualifications to enable you to get a good job in the finance industry. Most of the industry is portfolio and client management. Although trading involves big numbers, in the end there are nowhere near as many trading jobs.

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