The Ethics area not only counts for 15% of the CFA Level 1 exam score (36 questions), but per CFA rules could be the deciding factor for candidates on the borderline between pass/fail.
Friendswood, TX (PRWEB) August 31, 2014
In the wake of systemic unethical behavior in investment firms, rating agencies, corporate boards, accounting firms, and financial technology products that created the 2008 financial crisis, the CFA Institute issued the 10th edition of its Standards of Practice Handbook in 2010 to include stricter ethical requirements. “Why Ethics Matter” is a newly added section along with other changes to the code of conduct for investment professionals.
Ethical and Professional Standards comprise a study session in Level I in the Institute’s famously rigorous, three-level exam for Wall Street’s most coveted professional credential, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Jane Vessey, CFA, uses her 25 years’ experience as a practitioner in global investment management, instructor in CFA exam preparation, and author of “ExamWise for CFA Q&A Workbooks” to give candidates 6 study tips for an area that counts for 15% of the score (36 questions) in the Level 1 exam coming up in December.
London-based Vessey says, “For many candidates the Ethics section is their least favorite, and they spend far too little prep time on a topic that can be critical to passing the test. This is a completely wrong strategy – ethics is core to the syllabus and not only counts for 15% of the marks (including questions on GIPS, or Global Investment Performance Standards), but it could be the deciding factor for candidates on the borderline between pass/fail.”
The CFA Institute website states, “Starting with the 1996 exams, the performance on the ethics section became a factor in the pass/fail decision for candidates whose total scores bordered the minimum passing score.” Consequently, Vessey advises that unless candidates are confident they will score well above the minimum passing score (MPS), it’s time to start preparing for the ethics questions.
Based on her CFA exam prep courses and books, she offers these 6 study tips:
1) Go back to the source text. Even if candidates are relying on study notes, this is the one topic vitally important to re-read in the CFA Institute curriculum materials. It takes reading about 140 pages to cover all of the Standards. In terms of exam questions per page of reading, this must be best ratio in the syllabus!
2) Candidates need to know the content in detail -- 15% of the exam is 36 questions, so a thorough knowledge is essential.
3) The exam will not just test knowledge of ethical and professional standards, but also the application of each Standard. Candidates will need to decide whether conduct conforms to or violates the Standards and recommend how firms or individuals can set procedures to prevent violations. Study carefully all the Examples that show how the Standards are applied.
4) Candidates find ethics frustrating if they feel answers are not ‘black and white’ with no obvious right answer. If in doubt, go for the “best” answer.
5) During the actual exam, some candidates may find it takes slightly longer to read through the ethics questions than other topics, so the advice is to not panic but keep an eye on the clock and keep moving through the questions.
6) Ethics continues to have a large weighting in exam Levels II and III, so time invested in learning the Standards today will also pay off in future exams. And in professional life!
Jane Vessey's two volumes of CFA Level I practice questions are available from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and other booksellers: ExamWise 2014 CFA Level I Volume 1 - The Candidates 450 Question And Answer Workbook For Chartered Financial Analyst Exam and the companion volume 2. The Publisher, TotalRecall Publications, offers CFA candidates free mock exams via a test engine download at http://www.FinancialExams.com.
Jane Vessey, CFA, graduated in Mathematics from Oxford University and is a CFA charterholder. She manages a training company in the United Kingdom specializing in financial analysis and investment. After 20 years in the investment management business in London, Tokyo, and Indonesia, she now lectures at leading business schools and trains investment practitioners in top financial firms. She has been a visiting lecturer at Cass Business School teaching classes in asset management and valuation and is a visiting lecturer at Cranfield Business School. She has developed online training programs for students taking the CFA examinations and teaches CFA preparatory courses at a number of universities.
Located in Friendswood, TX, near Houston, TotalRecall Publications, Inc. was founded in 1998 by Bruce Moran, a former NASA IT professional who transitioned into computer instruction and educational materials. The company began with the introduction of study guides and innovative Q&A testing software for numerous computer certification exams. In 2005, TotalRecall applied these successful formats to the financial industry and launched products for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams for Levels I and II. In addition to the ExamWise Q&A workbooks, the company also publishes the comprehensive CFA study guide A-Plus Study Notes CFA Level I Certification: A Complete Course of Study for Chartered Financial Analyst, by Samuel J. Gottlieb, CFP, CFA. Gottlieb also writes a similar book for Level II. TotalRecall publishes more than 200 non-fiction and fiction titles, all distributed worldwide through book retailers and wholesalers and via eBook databases such as ebrary, EBSCO, and Books24x7.com. See http://www.FinancialExams.com for a complete listing of financial books.