Regardless of their reputation for hiring and firing, you want to work for a hedge fund. Which qualifications are most likely to help you fulfill your dream?
We've looked at the eFinancialCareers CV database and pulled out the CVs uploaded by hedge fund professionals over the past year. From these, we've identified the key qualification that will make a difference to your hedge fund application. And it is....a CFA exam pass.
[efc_twitter text="20% of the hedge fund candidates in our system cite a CFA qualification on their CVs"]. By comparison, just 10% of them have MBAs and only 4% have a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) qualification - despite this being targeted at the hedge fund industry in particular.
If you want to work for a hedge fund, does this mean you should rush out and enroll for the next CFA Level I exams in June? Maybe. However, it's worth remembering that 80% of candidates don't have a CFA qualification - suggesting it's not exactly imperative. Equally, just because candidates are working in hedge funds, this doesn't mean they're portfolio managers, analysts, or execution traders. - They might just as well be working in trade support, risk or compliance.
Barry Seath, managing director of hedge fund-focused recruitment firm Mirage Recruitment, says he comes across candidates with CFA passes "all the time." He also says that a CFA pass is becoming a must for candidates going into front office roles in hedge funds. "[efc_twitter text="If you have a CFA I or II pass, it's a definite benefit if you're going for an analyst role"]," says Seath. "And if you want to be a portfolio manager, it's increasingly expected that you'll be a full CFA Charterholder," he adds.
Seath confirms that the CAIA is less popular, even in its target market: "The CFA is more universally regarded and looked upon more favourably than the CAIA," he concludes.