Anil Ghelani, CFA has been working with DSP BlackRock Group since June 2003. He is currently responsible for new initiatives and most recently was the Business Head & Chief Investment Officer at DSP BlackRock Pension Fund Managers. Prior to that he was part of the Risk & Quantitative Analysis team at DSP BlackRock Mutual Fund. He entered the asset management industry after having worked as a Chartered Accountant with S. R. Batliboi (a member firm of EY) where he was responsible mainly for clients in the financial services industry, including mutual funds, investment banks and broking houses. Anil also had brief stint with IL&FS Asset Management Company before starting a career with the DSP BlackRock Group.
How do you view the Finance/Investment management industry with regards to scope, growth and job prospects? How can CFA charter holders take advantage of it?
The Asset Management industry in India has grown steadily in the past. I continue to have a very positive view over the long term and believe that the next decade could see the industry growing manifold. A stable government and bullish economic outlook will provide an additional boost to the overall industry. The CFA Program provides a good overall knowledge to a Finance Professional and assists work in various areas, including but not limited to, portfolio management and research. At various asset management companies globally and also at DSP BlackRock in India, we have seen professionals with the CFA Charter occupying positions in many important roles such as product strategists, risk managers and sales or relationship managers.
How did CFA help in enhancing your career objectives?
Studying for the CFA Program provided a great knowledge enhancement which assisted in my day-job. After obtaining the CFA Charter there is a mandatory requirement of obtaining ongoing CE credits which ensures continued education and professional development. Networking with finance professional globally is another important benefit. The community of Charter Holders is very strongly knit. I have experienced the power of that unique network where colleagues can get connected from different areas of work as well as geography globally – either for seeking inputs about a specific industry or looking for employment opportunities or even simply seeking assistance for some professional introductions.
How would you rate the CFA course with respect to content and structure including the pros and cons? Also include aspects which give CFA course an edge over other courses.
The CFA Program is often referred to as the “Gold Standard” for a Finance Professional. The program material is dynamically updated and always has a very practical approach based on current market trends, incorporating inputs from active finance practitioners working in the industry. In my view, the mandatory requirement of completing the 3 levels of examinations and also possessing the relevant work experience, makes the CFA Program a unique professional certification which enables a finance professional to obtain knowledge enhancement together with the work experience being gained as a part of the day-job. While conducting hiring interviews, besides the past work experience and base education, one often considers the CFA Charter as an additional level of comfort or stamp of approval for the candidature.
What guidance you would give to CFA aspirants?
Keeping with the spirit of the CFA Program, while studying the course material, I strongly believe that if one is working in the industry then it provides a stronger base of theoretical knowledge built on a practical perspective.
Instead of seeing it as an “examination” one should read the material and curriculum as a knowledge enhancement which would assist in doing the day-job better. It certainly is not an easy task to handle routine day-job and other personal and professional commitments while working for the CFA Charter, but those who are truly interested in enhancing their career as a Finance Professional would enjoy this challenge of earning the Charter. Whether it is financial planning or strategic navigation of a nation’s government, the key is to have a steady focus on achieving long term goals. Similarly, for aspirants of the CFA Charter it is important to have a long term focus for career development.
Points noted above are personal views and not made on behalf of the employer organisation or on behalf of IAIP.
A part of Newsletter – Dec 2014