Word of wisdom2017-08-22T10:01:56+00:00

Word of wisdom

Word of wisdom

Is the ESG Investing Certification Worth Taking?

November 10th, 2022|Tags: , , , |

ESG investing has been around for some time and juniors were asking if it is worth taking the certification. My answer is simple: Do you just want another cert to try to land a role, or do you sincerely hope to make some sort of impact in the world you live in today? If it is the former, you don't need this cert to work in the field. Nowadays, if you have some environmental science or engineering background, plus a little bit of knowledge in finance, many companies today are looking for talent to do carbon sequestration projects, GHG reduction projects,  develop green technologies, deal with data audit to data collection...and the list goes on. If it is the latter, then things get a little interesting. The syllabus gives a good overview of global initiatives, humanitarian disasters leading to the development of policies/regulations, lingering ESG issues, and challenges facing ESG integration for the investment industry and stakeholders. Integrating ESG factors into the investment process is a major portion of the syllabus, and serves as a useful guide from an analyst or portfolio manager perspective. If you had studied portfolio management in your CFA Level One course or others, the background knowledge helps. Integration is challenging due to lack of explicit alignment with asset owners, varying scopes of disclosure, and/or different reporting standards used. The good news is that the industry [...]

How Meeting My Mentor Upped My Game

August 3rd, 2022|

For those who don't already know me, I'm Valerie, one of the senior mentors at Springboard. One of the defining moments of my life came when I met my mentor (Ms F) some years ago. Someone who had successfully managed multi-million dollar businesses and is now an author and consultant for C-suites on sustainability issues. We did not start out with a mentor-mentee relationship.  At first I thought of her as a 'cheerful neighbouring worker' sharing the same co-working space. She usually has her headphones on -- to stay focused, or, to dial up for meetings. Still, she smile at me whenever our eyes get a chance to meet. She has a deep cheerful voice and a kind of 'gentleness', but don't let this 'gentleness' fool you about her finesse  --- i will get more into that later. I really got to know her more closely during one of those "Friday tea-break" networking party that co-working spaces sometimes organize for fellow members /tenants. During one of those conversations where we introduced ourselves, she shared a bit of context for the generous party (yes, the spread was a bit more than usual). It turns out that the founder sold the space for a good price, after engaging her as a consultant, AND before all the WeWork saga crushed the valuation of many smaller co-working spaces. Outsiders call it luck, but those of us in the finance/business industry know that it was her foresight and ability to see what the founder might not [...]

Interview Tips: Wow The Interviewer With Self-Introduction (Junior Investment Analyst Roles)

December 22nd, 2018|

Interview Tips: Wow The Interviewer With Self-Introduction (Junior Investment Analyst Roles) How do you introduce yourself during interviews? Have you ever wondered about the traps during your introduction? In our recent meet the mentor session, I shared with our students how you can introduce yourself and quickly relate critical skillsets (financial modelling, market research, industry research) and the relevant investment research experiences to impress the hiring managers. Having interviewed many juniors in my career, most of their self-introductions are sadly unimpressive, or even dull. You might just do it like the answer below after being asked to introduce yourself: I am a third-year student at NUS/NTU/SMU’s Business School/Finance Degree Program. I am interested in investment research and looking for a job as an investment analyst. What have you done? Basically, you *described* your academic background, and what you are looking for. Some of you may add one more line to intro your current career. What is wrong? Nothing is technically wrong. But it is not impressive, and not good. You sound like a mediocre candidate. This is the norm for a fresh grad looking for a job as an investment analyst. Some Springboard graduates who did not attend our Interviewing Prep speak in this unpolished manner as well. What can I do better? First, put yourself in the shoe of your interviewers. What do you think they are looking for? They [...]

Fund Managers Say Technology Adds Jobs, Here’s How

October 1st, 2018|

Job seekers need not fear robo advisors, number crunching softwares, and artificial intelligence killing jobs in asset management, experts say. Here are some experts' views from a recent conference in Singapore.  Job Creation "The theory that technology in the asset management industry is going to be a huge job killer is both inconsistent with economic theory and the evidence," said Eddie Fishman, managing director of The D. E. Shaw Group, who was speaking at the Milken Institute 2018 event held in Singapore. "Years of labour theory has predicted that years of job destruction has led to job creation. So we see in the data that asset management employment is at an all-time high," said Fishman, whose firm is involved in global investment and technology development for the industry. Traditional Barriers Gone "The amount of capital stock in the form of technology, that complements the human capital in the industry is at an all-time high. People are getting more productive every year, they make more money every year, and the amount of technology support they have is greater every year," said Fishman. Technology has enabled asset management firms today to recruit talents globally, which they otherwise could not. One example was WorldQuant, which held an international quantitative competition using a web platform. Astounding Results "The results were astounding. There was a team of three young women in France who ended up winning [...]

Is Technology Eating Our Lunch?

August 25th, 2018|

Is Technology Eating Our Lunch? Take-away from Kuala Lumpur CFA Career Day This was the topic presented by  Th’ng Beng Hooi, who is the Managing Director at AB Maximus. He presented in the CFA Career day on August 4th, 2018, about the fast pace of technology in recent years and the impact on the career in finance. From the simple calculator in the 1960s to the Bloomberg terminals in the 1980s, technology has made finance simpler and faster. Today, we have cloud computing and iPhone X to help us with investment-related work. Timely Questions During the CFA career fair, many students came to ask us whether topics such as cryptocurrencies, digital analytics, and artificial intelligence will be covered in the curriculum. These are excellent questions, said Mr Th'ng, because exploring these topics will help one to appreciate the AI and Blockchain content in the 2019 CFA curriculum. Updated Curriculum Unlike typical modules found in Bachelor of Finance, the CFA curriculum is developed based on industry practitioners, who are currently working in the investment industry. The CFA Institute takes inputs from investment professionals, regulators, university faculty and member associations before they formulate global practices and content for the CFA syllabus. With a holistic body of investment knowledge, they are always in touch with the latest investment and regulatory trends. With this vigilance, you can be pretty assured that CFA can help you prepare for [...]

Investigative skills for investment analysts

August 23rd, 2018|

Investigative skills for investment analysts Takeaways from our expert seminar held on August 16th, 2018 As an intelligent investment analyst, we must be able to verify facts and understand the management of those companies we are researching on. Our guest speaker, Thomas, presents some pointers during the recent "Investigative Due Diligence Workshop" organised by Springboard. Below, we have summarised some tips for students who have missed the event. 1. Use more than one search engine When you search about an entity or person, using Google search is not enough. You may wish to try Yahoo, Bing, or even a local language search engine. Some of the content regarding a particular person could be purged by public relations people in one search engine but not in another. Therefore there's a chance that one of the search engines still keeps a cache of the content that you are interested in. 2. Be patient when unlocking clues Some wealthy people may employ an army of public relations people to 'bury' their bad news, you may only be able to find some negative news about them after digging through more than 10 pages of search results. 3. Use your charm and talk to different sources   You could be chatting up the salespeople from a company, who are residing at an overseas branch. By asking them their sales target for the year and how it [...]

How to build credibility before a junior investment job? (Part 2)

August 18th, 2018|

How to build credibility before a junior investment job? (Part 2) Make it happen, don't be oblivious to opportunities Young people looking to join the investment industry often encounter this challenging question: what relevant experience do you have?  In our Part 1 post (link to part 1), we talked about two levels of expectations that we expect a junior to possess if he/she is pursuing an investment career. By achieving these expectations, you will have an edge in the job market. In this Part 2 post, we will touch upon where some candidates fail, and how to avoid them. Take one step back and look at the bigger picture of your life. You generally have one or a few good (or even great) opportunities every three to five years appearing in your life. They are your life boosters. If you manage to capture one or two, you will be able to enjoy what you do, feel fulfilled, and even become financially free earlier than the rest. Being a mentee in the Springboard program is also an opportunity in your life. If you grab the opportunity, you should aim to exceed our expectations, and prove that you can value-add to the investment decision making process. It is natural that you are getting close to an investment career. Otherwise, you simply miss many powerful referral opportunities. In many cases, you might not be aware [...]

How to build credibility before a junior investment job? (Part 1)

August 15th, 2018|

How to build credibility before a junior investment job? (Part 1) Young people looking to join the investment industry often encounter this challenging question: what relevant experience do you have? This is a chicken and egg question. How would one be able to accumulate experience if nobody gives a chance first. Fortunately, for every graduate of Springboard, you are already guaranteed an edge when interviewing for an investment role. We always believe that if a person has enough commitment and passion, she/he will definitely find a fulfilling job. Our students are the best examples of how to build credibility prior to joining the front office After running the Springboard mentorship program for almost a decade, we are well- positioned to understand the success factors required for junior or entry-level investment roles. Here, we pen down the common traits of successful graduates. They have landed their dream job in private equity, research, or asset management. A dozen success stories have been posted on our website (link to testimonial). While each student is unique, the common traits amongst successful job candidates are their dedication, their eye for details, and a passion for the industry. Aside from learning the basics of financial modelling and investment research, these candidates continue to do their best for each assignment during our program. When given research projects by their mentors, they adopt a can-do attitude instead of making excuses. [...]

5 Tips to pass all CFA exams on the first try! Resits incur huge opportunity costs

May 26th, 2018|

This article is a continuation of an earlier article: Wish to pass all CFA exams on the first try? which talks about the importance of passing all three levels of CFA exam on your first try. There are certainly huge opportunity costs for not being able to pass each level on your first attempt. In particular, we highlighted three pitfalls one should avoid, in order to pass CFA exam in one go: 1) Being penny wise, pound foolish, 2) Forgetting to calculate the opportunity costs, and 3) Being overconfident when it comes to CFA exam prep.  CFA Exam Tip 1:  Set a CFA Level 3 pass-date for yourself Remove the false sense of security from having multiple chances to clear the exams. Remember – failing it means you have to spend some extra money and extra time to re-study for that level. If you graduate after the usual hiring window which is typically at the beginning of the year, your chances of landing a front office job in the same year get slimmer. In addition to passing your CFA exams, you will still need to factor in preparation work, including learning how to build a professional grade financial model, pitch stock ideas at interviews and building your network that can lead to your interview. Our nearly one decade of experience suggests that this preparation could take you anywhere from six months to one year. For [...]