Sunday 11 August 2013

The FinQuiz Benefit

During my journey to the CFA Program, I have experienced a lot in terms of time management, resource accumulation and utilization, questions, mocks, the marathon routine to complete the course etc. One important thing which not only I but a lot of candidates experience is the decision to choose the exam preparation material provider. Throughout in all these levels I have been using FinQuiz as the primary exam preparation material provider and at this point in time I feel confident that its worth giving a try!

To reciprocate the benefit which FinQuiz has provided in this program, I have decided to share with you the samples of their study material for all three levels.

Curriculum Notes (Simply Awesome!)

Friday 26 July 2013

CFA Level II Curriculum Changes 2013 - 2014

• Ethics, Quantitative Methods, Economics and Corporate Finance are pretty much exactly the same.
• Three of the Financial Reporting and Analysis Readings, “Inter-Corporate Investments”, “Multinational Operations” and “The Lessons we Learned”, have been revised.
• Two new Readings have been added in the Equity section named“Your Strategy Needs a Strategy” and “Industry and Company Analysis"
• One new Reading, “A Primer on Commodity Investing”, has been added to the Alternative Investments Section.
• One Fixed Income Reading, “General Principles of Credit Analysis”, has been deleted. A new Reading, “Credit Analysis Models”, has been introduced.
• One Derivatives Reading, “Credit Derivatives” has been deleted. A new Reading, “Credit Default Swaps”, has been introduced.
• One Portfolio Management Reading, ‘The Theory of Active Portfolio Management’has been d eleted. Two new Readings, ‘Residual Risk and Return: The Information Ratio’ and ‘The Fundamental Law of Active Management’ has been introduced. 

Changes in CFA Level I Curriculum from 2013 to 2014

1. 4 new readings have been incorporated, only Fundamentals of Credit Analysis has been retained in Fixed Income.
2. Derivatives Markets & Instruments has been revised under the Derivatives section.
3. Alternative Investments Reading, Investing in Commodities has been deleted.
4. Remaining areas including Ethics, QM, Economics, FRA, Corporate Finance, Equity, Portfolio are almost the same in 2014..

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Who said time isn't an issue in Level III morning?

Congratulations folks you are normal beings if you were unable to complete your morning exam (level III). You are perfect humans if you have left the last 20 or 30 mins. For geeks who completed their exam in time, well wait for the result if you were able to pass through, consider completing it in time THE BIG REASON!

On a serious note, time has never been an issue in LI, LII or Evening III but it is certainly the biggest constraint in morning session. May be it is so we haven't practiced well or we don't organize ourselves according to the minutes allocated to each question. Sometimes its our 'factory setting' that once we see a question we know more off we keep on writing despite knowing the fact that, and ignoring it, question only requires 2 reasons or 1 reason to support it and the time advised is 3 or 4 mins. We should remain focused on one thing: To allocate each question the mentioned time so that one may complete it in time. If I happen to appear again, which certainly I'm not thinking of right away, I will pay particular attention in completing the exam in time and with desired level of details. It, who must not be named right away, is set in a way to require adequate information, not to check all the info we have got. I can link it with the psychometric stuff which CFAI utilizes while setting questions. Certainly they aren't about knowledge only but also about skills.

I may be not confident this time that i'll pass but considering my experience I am quite sure that the next time, if unfortunately I appear, I'll nail it.

Sunday 2 June 2013

After the exam...

Ok we can't speak about the contents of the exam... But yea.. we can share our feelings. It was one hell of a day. Certainly I'm feeling quite low as the morning session had a lot of questions and they all required some input unlike mcqs on which you are 33% sure but in structured writing... you dont know much about what you are writing as its more of a subjective stuff. Even after the evening section I wasn't having the same feeling which I had last year in June 2012. Fingers crossed lets hope for the best and be ready for appearing again... I hope I'll nail it down but if I couldn't I'm not gonna give up and appear again and again unless I nail it down. Though I am not thinking in that way but if I couldn't, I have identified several areas which I know to give more importance off. But again... hoping to nail it down...

Tuesday 28 May 2013

How my broker account is helping me?

Last month I opened my broker account and started trading in Karachi Stock Exchange. A part from trading what I was able to do was to connect the topics of reading 39, Execution of Portfolio Decisions. Although there is fair detail regarding order types in Level I but the way I am able to understand the importance of market orders, limit orders and the types of markets is really something worthwhile. As the exam approaches and I am revising the whole stuff, while going through reading on Execution of Portfolio Decisions, I did not find that much difficulty which I used to find while initially I was going through the reading. The primary reason which I can spot is access to the stock trading. Right away its just one example but I can assure you there are multiple instances where I really found the trading exposure I got, helping me immensely in making my concepts more clear and enabling me for true understanding of key areas of the Level III curriculum. I, therefore recommend all of you who are the candidates or potential candidates of the CFA program to open your brokerage account and start trading. It will dramatically improve your ability to understand what's actually is going around.

Good Luck for the exam.

Sunday 7 April 2013

Revision Kick Start

I may have mentioned it earlier but I am using FinQuiz notes, as I used them in Level II, along with Schweser study notes to prepare for LIII. The whole week I spent on revising Fixed Income (reading 23,24,25,26) and IPS for individual investors. As I have been discussing it earlier the simple way to check our retention level is to note the time one takes to revise the stuff. If we are taking the same time as it was taken during the first reading again then the situation is a bit worst. If we are taking less time while revising the same area then we are progressing in terms of retention. It is very important to follow the same study material which was used to cover the topics at first place. Like I used the FQCN for reading 10 to on wards till 14, I was able to revise the stuff in quite less time and more efficiently. Similarly the areas which I've covered through Schweser, I will revise from there to save my time & increase their effectiveness.

The next week I'll be doing readings on making IPS for institutions along with the section covering Equity (Reading 27 to 30).

Monday 11 March 2013

Done with 2/3 of IPS Section

I have completed 66% of IPS section and the area related to Institutional Investors is left. First reading has been done and I've come across the examples of curriculum. Properly going through the examples and chapter end questions can help me in making the difference. Now a days I am in the process of developing a case study for myself and after that I will make my IPS considering all the stuff. The RRTTLLU, Risk Objectives, Return Objectives, Tax Considerations, Time Horizon, Liquidity Needs, Legal Requirements, & Unique Circumstances. First I'll make a complete vignette, a kind of case study which will have information which I can share publically and after that I'll analyse it. I think going through this strategy can help effectively in understanding the stuff while evaluating ourselves.

Saturday 23 February 2013

IPS - First Tip

Asset Allocation has been intense in terms of calculations, reminded off Level II... Study Session 4 is entirely different. The first thing I've faced that the material isn't questionable directly. I mean I've looked across some questions and unfortunately they aren't straight forward. The material provided in Reading 10 is more or less a background of what could be tested indirectly through a case study... The temperament of going trough these readings is not exactly as the way it was related to other areas. 

Thursday 24 January 2013

Apple Inc's. Income Statement Extracts 2012 (Form 8K, Unaudited)

These results are unaudited and taken from Form 8K filled by Apple Inc on 23rd January, 2013. So we have Operating Margins dropping, Net margins dropping, Cost of Sales increasing, Other Income increasing. The share price of AAPL has significantly fallen on 24th (10.5% so far by 12 EST). I cannot say whether its after the SEC fillings but definitely these numbers does count. For a Technology stock Net margins reducing by 4.2% has strong impact.

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Graph Search is what Facebook is building?

So its not the facebook phone but the graph search which facebook had to show at its headquarters. It was a 'much anticipated' event which hiked FB above 6%. After Zuckerberg; wearing the hood, announced the graph search, the stock fell a bit... Dont know how the new search tool is a different experience than GOOGS but FB claims that it answers - not provide links to answers! Had it been facebook phone, it would have created an impact... I dont know they may unveil it someday but for now its the graph search and how it truly represents the much anticipated call will be reflected in the stock price soon..
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