New Beginnings

New Beginnings

Well my LLC was recently awarded a new contract. Alongside my engineering consulting I’m now working as a stock analyst for a money-managing firm in New Jersey! Yaaaay Me! 🙂

My official title is independent investment research contractor. I work with a smart guy, who is a Buffett-style large-cap value investor with decades of experience. He is wanting to branch out into other asset classes and also just get second opinions on stocks he’s intrigued by, so I’m beginning to spreadsheet lots of that good CFA equity material: linear regression to predict growth rates, DuPont analysis to better understand returns on equity, and all those wonderful discounted cash flow models that each return very different intrinsic values. I am having a ball.

I’ve gotten numerous questions since beginning the CFA program about what doors the CFA will open regarding jobs in the investment field. Like you’ve probably heard numerous times, it’s maybe more about being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people.

It turned out that I actually had two offers come up almost simultaneously. Neither was due to an active search of submitting resumes and all that. But just in the course of daily life I interacted with, or bumped into, people working in the field and blabbered on and on about my engineering background, love of investing, status in the CFA program, matlab scripts, quantitative models, iphone finance apps, asset allocation backtests, etc. That turned into talking further, and talking further turned into employment offers.

Of course many ingredients must come together to get one’s proverbial foot in the door. From what I’ve been told, my enthusiasm for this stuff perhaps counts the most. Then the CFA studies say that I’m more than just a dabbler or a weekend warrior, but really committed. And finally the engineering degrees say “intelligent” to many people (but only “good at math” to the more savvy).

My initial contract is for six months of part-time work. I’m able to do it all from home (necessary at this point due to my wife’s health challenges) though I’ll probably be making periodic trips to the northeast. At this point my employer and I are just evaluating how compatible our approaches are and seeing if I prove to be more of a help than a distraction.

On another note, I’m really enjoying the Schweser supplementary materials but feel I’ve only scratched the surface of what I purchased. The online content saved me considerable backpack space and weight on a recent trip out west.

My main challenge now is to figure out how to keep the CFA studies chugging along with all the part time jobs that add up to be more than one full time job. You see, I’m getting my disclaimer in early should the Level 2 exam in June give me the bodyslam again.

11 thoughts on “New Beginnings”

  1. Nice to hear!

    Studying for level 2 at the moment seems impossible. After sitting at 7000RPM for almost 5 months before the level 1 exam, I’m finding it very difficult to rev myself back up for level 2. Maybe it’s the quant (not a big fan of quant, especially regression). Really looking forward to getting into the Econ.

    Hopefully, we can push each other through and into the next level.

  2. Good the hear from you yellowman. That’s funny about the quant – that’s actually the part of Level 2 I enjoy the most, probably b/c I’ve been able to use it for some engineering work too.

    I remember hitting a dry spell when studying for Level 2 and the most important thing I could do was just keeping logging time each day – even if it’s only 30 minutes or so – because sooner or later you arrive at a new chapter that you’re really interested in and it’s much easier to continue.

    My bigger problem lately is just finding the time. I begin each day meaning to carve out some time for CFA – then next thing I know it’s 11 PM and the day is gone.

  3. congratulations Lumilog. If I remember correctly, CFA was a means to get you into the investment world. You got that already. CFA is just icing on the cake.
    I am muddling through level 2 materials. Running behind schedule, as usual.

  4. On a brighter note…Xmas is coming and when we’re studying we can at least have some nice leftovers to eat while flipping through the material.

  5. Congrats Lumi,

    You are an inspiration to all of us who are currently outside the investment arena and are looking for a way to get in.

    You deserve it. Way to go !! 🙂

  6. pudocfa – good to hear from you. yes, the CFA was to help get a foot in the door and to also attempt to get a well-rounded investing education w/o going back to university. i’m sure your L2 studies will ramp up after xmas

    yellowman – good point. won’t worry about cranberry sauce on my study guides

    drymartini – thanks much! it’s fun to finally by using this stuff to do more than solve problem sets. best of luck to you!

  7. Trying to stay positive…things are moving. Just amazed at how much material is found in the CFA books. With 6 full volumes of material and shrinking the number of questions in half, it makes for a very intimidating test.

    Right now, I’m just trying to answer question after question after question. Hopefully, everything will stick and click come exam day.

    Have you changed your approach? Technique?

    Two months to go…oh crap!

  8. I have actually changed my technique. This time I’m doing an infinite loop:

    (1) Take a practice test (Schweser)
    (2) Identify Section / Reading where I performed worst
    (3) Study that section and re-work its problem set
    (4) Go To (1)

    How about you?

  9. 1 – Finish reading CFAI books. Answered questions after each reading.
    2 – Glance at a reading, do the questions.
    3 – Do step 2 over and over and over again.

    I did this in Level 1 and I was successful but with all the people over at AnalystForum saying this is another kind of beast, I’m very scared\worried.

    Not sure what else I can do except target LOS’s and do problems. Level 2 seems a little too overwhelming at the moment.

    Hopefully, come exam day, it all comes together.

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