The CFA program is the most internationally recognized certification in finance. The CFA Institute and the CFA program’s mission is to promote the integrity of the financial markets and standards of professionalism, enhancing greatly the positive contribution of the financial sector to the economy and society. "The mission of the CFA Institute, expressed very simply, is to enhance the standards of the investment professions in all communities in which we have charterholders. Who says so is the former President and CEO of the CFA Institute, Paul Smith, who adds, addressing the community of Portuguese professionals, that working to be a charterholder demonstrates that "they are being prepared based on a global standard”. Specifically, Paul Smith highlights the fact that the exams Portuguese people take to acquire the CFA certification are the same as those taken by professionals and students in London, New York, Tokyo or New Delhi. "It's a genuine, global credential, which means that any Portuguese person who has the three letters CFA after their name is equivalent to any CFA certified professional in any country in the world," he adds.
The CFA program consists of three highly demanding exams and currently has more than 300,000 candidates each year, of which only a small percentage successfully pass all three levels. In this regard, one should also mention the high international recognition of the CFA program, both in academia and in the institutions responsible for financial supervision in different geographies.
For example, many academic programs in the financial area in national and international leading universities follow the CFA curriculum and are recognized by the CFA Institute as affiliated universities.
The recognition by the academic area and regulators in the financial sector can also be gauged by the different waivers they offer to CFA Chartherholders or even, in some cases, to candidates who have not yet completed the program, but who show intention and commitment to the CFA program. The CFA Institute website offers more detailed information.
Academic and professional national community recognition
More than an international reference, the leaders of the academic and professional world in Portugal see certification as proof of commitment to personal development, technical skills and a strong ethical sense in the development of professional activity. The CFA Society Portugal represents its members in the continuous development of these skills, but also in demonstrating the relevance and importance of certification to the national professional and academic community.
The Society and the CFA Charter value is recognized by the leaders of major national universities. Daniel Traça, dean at Nova SBE comments that "the relationship with the CFA is a relationship that is very important to Nova SBE" and sees the CFA as one of the most important certifications for students "to be able to make a difference. In that regard, Nova SBE has redefined the master's degree in finance to ensure that the university's training is recognized from the standpoint of what the CFA Charter criteria are. This demonstrates well the way we see the value of this certification," comments Nova SBE's dean.
For ISEG's Dean, certification is no less important. Clara Raposo makes it clear that the university's affiliation with the CFA program allows the academic institution to keep up to date in scientific and technical terms, as well as attracting foreign students who recognize in the three CFA letters an international standard of quality. ISEG's participation and success in the Research Challenge contributes to increasing this visibility. For Clara Raposo, the ethical components that the CFA standards establish are especially relevant "to ensure that we have professionals in the financial area who actually know the limits of their actions, how they should behave, and that they make the right decisions. Here, Clara Raposo highlights the close collaboration with the CFA Society Portugal in developing "enlightening" training sessions.
José Varejão, director of Porto School of Economics, comments, referring to the affiliation with the CFA Institute, that "the partnership developed together with the CFA allows us to have the notion that we offer our students very significant and very solid knowledge and skills in the financial area. Once again, the Research Challenge stands out. For the director of the Porto University it is not only the competitive aspect of the challenge that attracts its students, but also a training component and an important acquisition of technical skills. "A way to qualify our resources," but also a way to show the market the "knowledge and skills" of the people who have the certification.
"The existence of the CFA Society Portugal adds density to our capital markets ecosystem". Who says so, is Miguel Athayde Marques, vice-dean of the Portuguese Catholic University and professional who held the position of Chairman of Euronext Lisbon, referring to the perception of a piece that was missing in the national ecosystem before the creation of the national Society. "An employer, when hiring a CFA Charterholder is hiring a specific profile. Hiring a professional who has undergone an examination and knowledge tests, who has certain hard skills that are known, because they are covered in what are the international standards. For Miguel Athayde Marques, the CFA Charter has a global recognition that gives it "value, regardless of the nationality of the professional or the place where he is practicing his profession.
Charterholders are also recognized by recruiters and human resources professionals. Described as a program that is not easy and aimed at professionals who really want to invest in personal development, the CFA Charter is, for Fernando Neves de Almeida, Partner at Boyden Portugal, a certification that gives professionals operating in the world of finance and asset management a competitive advantage in the market. "A very solid technical training, or I would even say a 'state-of-the art' training, aligned with the largest international practices, which logically makes good professionals who want to invest in themselves even more talented people in the exercise of their activities."
Furthermore, having a CFA Charter is a guarantee of recognition by those who operate in the capital markets and among all finance area professionals. Manuel Ferreira da Silva, a member of Euronext's Supervisory Board, was for several years a director of Banco BPI and stresses how much he encouraged the bank's employees to work towards becoming CFA Charterholders. For him, the certification is "very respected in the capital markets environment", as well as in research, sales and brokerage areas. Internationally, "what we noticed is that, when in meetings and interviews with fund managers, the simple fact of having the three letters CFA on the card immediately generated recognition.
Tiago Forte Vaz, CFA and SVP at Pictet Asset Management speaks of a common denominator among all the people who went through the process of becoming CFA Charterholder in the different countries: "The willingness and hard work they had to have to receive the certification". For the professional, the CFA Society Portugal is promoting "in a very positive way, the recognition, but on the other hand also promoting the values with the regulators, where there is a very positive interaction". For Tiago Vaz, CFA, the Portuguese Society promotes the values that make up the ethical component of certification, encouraging the financial industry as a whole to adhere to these values.