Thoughts On The Claritas Investment Certificate

I recently obtained the Claritas Investment Certificate.  What is it?  If you work in the financial services industry, you may be familiar with the prestigious Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation that is deservedly bestowed by the CFA Institute to those who pass the examinations and meet other requirements.  The Claritas Investment Certificate Program is a recent offering by the CFA Institute for professionals who do not work directly with investment and research analysis or portfolio management, but collaborate or interact with the individuals or departments that do.

In a nutshell, if you work in the financial or investment services industry, the Claritas program is designed to give you a strong foundation on how the financial services industry functions.  From how money moves through the financial system between savers and spenders to ethics, rules, and regulations, it’s quite a bit of information.  The Claritas Program is broken up into the following modules:

  • Module 1: Industry Overview
  • Module 2: Ethics and Regulation
  • Module 3: Inputs and Tools
  • Module 4: Investment Instruments
  • Module 5: Industry Structure
  • Module 6: Serving Client Needs
  • Module 7: Industry Controls

Most of my career has been spent in the financial services industry.  I’ve always worked in a middle office role, interacting with those in the front, middle, and back offices.  However, I never had an opportunity to truly understand how the financial industry functioned.  I tried to self study, but that was boring.  When the opportunity came to enroll into the Claritas Program through my employer, I jumped on it.  After passing the exam, several questions popped into mind.

Do I need It?
To be honest, I don’t need it for my job.  However, I did understand my business clients better when they described the products and services that were offered to customers.  The value add comes from increased knowledge and being able to understand my clients on a deeper level.

Is it worth it?
Was it worth taking the time to study the material and to take the test? Yes, since my employer paid for it.  If my employer was not paying for it, would I have gone out of my way to spend $685.00 for the study material and to take the test?  Not yet, but probably after it gained more traction and recognition.

Is it going to help my career?
Honestly, I don’t know yet.  The knowledge gained helped me to understand my business clients better, but not in a way that that would lead to career advancement.  Unlike the CFA designation that holds a fair amount of influential weight on one’s career, I don’t anticipate Claritas Investment Certificate holders having any distinct advantage over someone who does not have one when it comes to receiving job opportunities or career investment.  At least not yet since the program is still relatively new.  I am sure that this program will become more popular and eventually be recognized as something that is recommended by employers within the financial services industry.

Was the exam difficult?
The pass rate is high, but you still need to study.  The multiple-choice test questions can be specific and are designed to test your understanding of the material. You can’t just memorize terms and definitions.  For example, you may be asked what happens to the demand curve when consumer taste preferences change, or what happens to an option if the market price of an underlying changes in the near future.  Financial calculations are not part of the exam, but you will need to understand how the formulas work and what they are used for.  The CFA Institute recommends about 100 hours of preparation time.  If you go through the study material two to three times, complete the end of chapter questions, and take the provided practices tests, passing the exam should not be difficult.  Just because it is not a CFA level exam, do not underestimate it.

Would I recommend it to others?
If your employer will pay for it, a resounding yes.  You’d be stupid not to take advantage.  If you have to pay out-of-pocket, consider how much interaction you have with individuals or departments that perform trading, portfolio management, and investment research analysis activities.  If you interact or collaborate with them often, then yes, I believe obtaining the certificate is worth it. 

All opinions and views on the Claritas Investment Certificate Program are solely’s and has not been paid or sponsored in anyway by any organization to write this post.

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