A Who's Who Guide to Financial Advisers
Chartered Financial Analyst
CFAs specialize in investment strategies that are more advanced, more analytical and more market-centric than those CFPs or CPAs work with, but the average consumer isn't likely to run across one in the quest for financial knowledge.
"There are not too many of these people working with the public," says Johnston at Mohler, Nixon & Williams.
Some of this has to do with how long and difficult it is to earn this particular designation.
"A [CFA] has worked very diligently for a number of years to study and pass a series of three exams that have quite a low number of people who pass them," says Scott Whytock, a CFP with August Wealth Management.Unlike the exams required to become a CFP or a CPA, the CFA tests are administered by only one institution, aptly named The CFA Institute. They are offered only twice a year and, as such, can take up to three years to complete. Upon completion, most CFAs become employed by banks or investment managers who operate mutual funds, pension funds and hedge funds to crunch numbers, analyze data and coalesce the vast amount of financial information into a more usable form relevant to a particular investing decision that needs to be made. "They're stock pickers," Johnston says. For instance, a CFA working in Merril Lynch's oil and gas sector might comb through financial statements from Chevron to determine whether it's a good financial investment, Johnston adds. It is also a designation sought out by many chief financial officers (or prospective CFOs) and high-level financial managers in a larger company "as their enhanced ability to study the fine details of securities and a company's financial statements can be invaluable," Whytock adds. This isn't to say the expertise of CFAs is totally inaccessible to consumers, since there's almost always one on staff at a local wealth management company. "I, as a CFP, could envision hiring a CFA to assist me in defining and maintaining an investment plan that would fit the needs of my clients, as their area of specific training could be a great addition to my more generalized practice," Whytock says. Clients looking for a financial adviser who has similar expertise to a CFA and who specializes in working with individuals can look for someone who has a Certified Investment Management Analyst certification. "This is a high-quality designation that indicates the person knows how to select investments for individuals," Stacy says of CIMA certification. >To submit a news tip, email: email@example.com. Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV