ABC of MBA, CPA and CFA
Deciding which banking and finance qualification is going to provide the best career development opportunities can be an overwhelming experience. With so many qualifications to choose from, it is generally recognised a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation could lead to a career as a chief financial officer or even a chief executive officer. Meanwhile, a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) could be more appropriate for someone set on becoming a portfolio manager or financial products engineer.
While a quality MBA is considered another way of making headway in the banking and finance industry, it is also considered a useful tool for those aspiring to be a corporate executive. With employers looking for value-added abilities from job seekers, front-line sales candidates who passed an Insurance Intermediaries Qualifying Examination (IIQE) are preferred. The qualification is for those who advise customers on insurance matters.
Increasingly, experience and exposure in Basel III is also considered an advantage for job-seekers. For those looking for a career in financial planning, the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) qualification offered by the Institute of Financial Planners of Hong Kong through approved institutions is considered a leading qualification in the industry. Certificate candidates must develop their theoretical and practical financial planning knowledge by completing a comprehensive education programme.
With Islamic banking and finance expected to continue growing in Asia, job-seekers looking to equip themselves with a niche qualification might consider studying for one of several options, including a Certified Islamic Professional Accountant (CIPA) track, which is available to non-Muslims.
Martin Cerullo, managing director, development for Asia-Pacific with recruitment firm Alexander Mann Solutions, notes that leading banks are placing more emphasis on soft skills in addition to qualifications.