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CFA: Careers For All
CFA Society Saskatchewan
CFA Society Saskatchewan Podcasts
Oct 18, 2021
CFA Career Chats: Mark Smith-Windsor, BA (Economics), CPA, CMA, CFA
Mark Smith-Windsor joins Jordan Wilson to discuss his education, career path, CFA designation, and much more. Mark is a Portfolio Manager and Investment Advisor with IA Securities in Saskatoon. Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Saskatchewan. Mark also possesses his CPA, CMA designation and is a CFA Charterholder. Mark provides his thoughts on: 0:00 Introduction 2:00 Why major in Economics? Did that education assist in your finance career? 6:00 Did you initially work in an economics related job or start straight in finance? 10:30 Did having an economics education help or hinder you in the CFA Program? 17:10 How has your career progressed since graduating from university? 23:25 What is the difference between a Team Approach and One on One? 32:00 What is the role of a Portfolio Manager? 38:45 What are “Know Your Client” rules and why are they important? 41:45 What “soft” skills are important to develop? 50:30 What complementary “hard” skills are worth adding to your repertoire? 55:45 What industries and/or skills may become important in the next decade? 58:15 What are some considerations when investing in small, resource firms? 1:05:00 How is investing in smaller, private companies different from large, public firms? 1:08:40 What advice would Mark give to his High School or University age self?
1 hr 14 min
Sep 13, 2021
Episode 9: Women in Finance
Women in Finance Veronica Gamracy, Robin Koroluk, and Juliana Wong join Jordan Wilson to discuss women’s issues in finance. Veronica Gamracy is a Portfolio Manager and Investment Advisor with CIBC World Markets in Saskatoon. With over 35 years of experience serving a clientele of affluent individuals, institutions, and corporations. Robin Koroluk is a Senior Wealth Advisor and Portfolio Manager with Scotia Wealth Management. Robin entered the industry about a decade ago. Juliana Wong is a Capital Markets Director at Concentra Bank, where she manages and monitors Concentra's investment portfolio and funding sources via capital markets. During the podcast, we discuss: 0:00 Introduction 3:00 How has the finance industry evolved for women over the years? 13:25 Is there a “wage gap” and how can women reach more senior positions? 19:25 Should people take a narrow focus early on in a career? 23:40 Is the CFA exam curriculum all about “financial advising” or are there more areas of study? 33:25 How is the CFA Institute doing in emphasizing “diversity” in the work force? 39:40 What are some career growth areas for CFA professionals? 49:35 What are the changing “dynamics” in the finance workforce and on teams? 55:35 What advice would you offer people listening to this podcast?
1 hr 4 min
Jul 5, 2021
CFA Career Chats: Veronica Gamracy, BFA, MBA, CFA, CIMA, CIPM
CFA Career Chats: Veronica Gamracy, BFA, MBA, CFA, CIMA, CIPM Veronica Gamracy joins Jordan Wilson to discuss her extremely varied education, career path, the CFA designation, finance, and diversity issues. Veronica Gamracy is a Portfolio Manager and Investment Advisor with CIBC World Markets in Saskatoon. With over 35 years of experience serving a clientele of affluent individuals, institutions, and corporations. She holds a BFA (Saskatchewan) in Studio Art, an MBA (McGill) in International and Corporate Finance, and a Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Veronica also holds CIMA (Certified Investment Management Analyst) and CIPM (Certificate in Performance Measurement) certificates. Veronica has served on the boards of several charitable organizations, provincial crown corporations, and industry councils, including past service as Director and President of CFA Society Saskatchewan. Currently, Veronica represents Saskatchewan on the Board of the CFA Societies Canada. In our lengthy conversation, Veronica provides her thoughts on: 00:00 Introduction 2:00 Where is Veronica from and what led to an interest in finance and investing? 8:00 How did industry experience help with finance and what lessons did Veronica learn in industry? 13:00 When did Veronica pursue her CFA designation and what did she learn from that experience? 18:10 How do the MBA and CFA designations compare? 28:50 Should one enter the CFA Program as soon as possible or wait a few years? 34:20 What does Veronica do as a Portfolio Manager and Investment Advisor? 43:40 What is an affluent investor? How do they differ other individual clients? 49:45 How do affluent investor needs differ from institutions and corporate clients? 54:45 What are the CIMA and CIPM programs? How do they fit with a CFA designation? 1:03:30 What non-technical “soft” skills are important in Veronica’s job? 1:12:00 What does Veronica look for in new hires? 1:20:15 What are Veronica’s thoughts on women in finance and changes over time? 1:28:00 What skills does Veronica think will be needed by future finance graduates? 1:35:00 Is the corporate world adjusting to allow for better work-life balance? 1:38:45 What advice would Veronica give to her High School or University age self?
1 hr 46 min
Jun 15, 2021
CFA: Careers For All
In this session, Robin Koroluk and Jordan Wilson discuss the CFA designation and career paths. While CFA does stand for “Chartered Financial Analyst”, it can also easily mean “Careers For All”. CFAs come from all educational and technical backgrounds. CFAs are employed in all types of roles in all types of business sectors. There are enjoyable careers available for all backgrounds, interests, and personalities. 00:45 𝐂𝐅𝐀: 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐀𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐲𝐬𝐭 What is a “Financial Analyst”? Is it all about crunching numbers in a back room? Or is there more to financial analysis than just numbers and calculations? 09:00 𝐂𝐅𝐀: 𝐌𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 “𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐌𝐚𝐣𝐨𝐫𝐬” Do you need a finance major or even a business degree to have a successful career in finance? If you have a non-finance education, is it possible to become a CFA and work in finance? If you have another professional skill set, such as accounting or law, can a CFA add additional value? 12:00 𝐂𝐅𝐀: 𝐌𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 “𝐀𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐲𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐏𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐬” Are all CFAS back-room introverts? Are there any finance roles for extroverts or those in-between? Do you want a stable “9 to 5” job or do you crave non-stop excitement with lots of job pressure? Do you prefer consistent salary and compensation? Or do you want to “eat what you hunt”? As the title states, Chartered Financial Analyst, yes. But also “Careers For All”.
Jun 14, 2021
CFA Career Chats: Paula Meier, CFA
Paula Meier joins Jordan Wilson to discuss her education, career, and juggling a young family. Paula holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Regina majoring in Finance, as well as the CFA designation. Paula Meier is an Associate, Fundamental Research, Public Equities at TD Asset Management. Paula provides equity research and investment recommendations for the Public Equity portfolios, covering the global Real Estate sector. She has prior experience in the utility, IT, and consumer sectors. Paula has served on the CFA Society Saskatchewan Board since 2017 and is currently the Board Secretary. Paula is also involved with a few charitable organizations in Saskatchewan. 01:55 What led Paula to choose Finance in University and then pursue a career as an Equity Analyst? 0550 How was the job market for finance majors upon graduating from University? 07:15 Why was the Coop Program instrumental in getting a full-time position in finance? 09:45 What is a key factor in getting the job offer for young professionals? 13:00 Is a narrow or broad focus on skills and knowledge better when building a career path? 15:30 Start the CFA Program immediately after University or wait a few years? 19:13 What does an Equity Analyst do at TD Asset Management? 21:30 How do Institutional or Pension clients differ from Individual investors? 25:40 How is an Equity Analyst compensated at TD? 27:20 What is the difference between “Buy-Side” and “Sell-Side”? 30:45 How is the job pressure working as an Equity Analyst? 33:30 How do Analysts learn about the industries they cover? 37:05 What will be the growth industries over the next decade? 42:00 How do short-term versus long-term performance expectations impact investing? 47:30 Is investing success the sign of great skills, or possibly luck? How to assess results? 50:30 Why are “soft’ skills important to develop? What “soft” skills are highly useful? 59:29 Having a young family, how does Paula juggle her career and maintain a work-life balance? 67:00 What advice would Paula give to 17 or 24 year old Paula?
1 hr 10 min
Jun 14, 2021
In this podcast, Robin Koroluk and Jordan Wilson offer their thoughts on securing a job. What employers seek in new financial service sector hires. What employers in any industry want to see in their staff. With comments on the interview process and how to make a good impression. 1:58 An Employer’s Perspective What does Robin look for in a new wealth management hire? Should employees strive to impress the boss or “be a sponge”? Do employers expect strong finance skills in new hires? What non-finance, technical skills may help in a finance position? What about softer technical skills, like staff management? Or non-technical soft skills, like communication and problem solving? 10:00 What Do All Employers Want? The True Value of the CFA Can this person successfully learn new skills? Will this person act ethically and professionally? How will this person respond to adversity? Does this person have the drive to succeed? Can this person manage time and meet deadlines? Do employers usually hire the “best” person? 20:00 Preparing for the Job Interview How to stand out from the crowd? How to respond to interview questions? What is worth bringing up in responding to questions? When should you begin preparing for an interview? How can a “nasty uncle” help you get the job? Should you sweet-talk an interviewer or embellish your skills?
Jun 10, 2021
In this session, Robin Koroluk and Jordan Wilson discuss diversity in finance. Robin draws on her experience as a woman in the Saskatchewan wealth management sector. Jordan from his years living and working around the world. An interesting discussion on the current situation. Why there is a lack of gender diversity in finance. And what can be done to improve things. 1:45 Women in Wealth Management What led Robin to become a finance major and pursue a career in wealth management? What is a wealth manager? Do wealth managers spend their days in a back-office, crunching numbers? What sort of skills are important for wealth managers? What about “soft” skills? Why is it important for advisors to connect with clients on a personal level? 8:25 Global Finance Experiences What was diversity like in the Caribbean financial services sectors? How did that experience compare with Asia and Switzerland? Do people need to step out of their “comfort zones”? How hard is it to juggle a family and maintain a career? What about work-life balance, in general? How are changing demographics impacting work-life balances? 18:50 Career Uncertainty in Finance and Women’s Choices Why are women underrepresented in finance? With similar skills and work levels, why do women flock to accounting and law? Is the lack of career certainty a factor in women staying out of finance? What are companies and the CFA Institute doing to attract women? How can women find out more about pursuing a finance career?
Jun 10, 2021
CFA Career Chats: Robin Koroluk, B.Comm (Finance), CFA and Jordan Wilson, CPA, CA, CFP, CFA
In this session, Robin Koroluk and Jordan Wilson draw on their personal and career experiences to flesh out many of the topics covered in the formal presentation. With vastly different career paths, Robin and Jordan share many great examples and offer advice to those considering the CFA Program. 00:25 Robin Koroluk Introduction 4:45 Jordan Wilson Introduction 8:10 Finance Majors and the CFA Program Did Robin’s finance major perfectly prepare her for writing CFA Level Exams? How deep and wide is the CFA Program curriculum? How is it to work a full-time job and be in the CFA Program at the same time? Do employers provide support for Candidates in the CFA Program? Are there non-CFA courses to take, that help prepare for beginning the CFA Program? Is it better to start the CFA Program immediately after University? Or to wait a few years and gain some practical experience? 22:45 Accounting, then Finance Why did Jordan pursue his financial accounting designation before moving into finance? Do accounting skills assist in passing the CFA Level Exams? How much of the CFA Levels Exams require financial accounting knowledge? What other technical skills can enhance a career in finance? 29:50 CFA Career Opportunities in Saskatchewan What are the job prospects for CFAs wishing to work in Saskatchewan? Do CFAs only work as financial analysts or in the investment sector? Does it make sense for non-finance professionals to pursue the CFA designation? Financial analysts sound boring. Are there roles for extroverts, with more excitement? What about job pressure? “9 to 5” stability versus higher stress? What about compensation? Steady paycheck versus “eat what you hunt”? 40:20 CFAs versus …. How does a CFA designation compare with a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA)? Or Certified/Registered/Personal Financial Planners (CFP/RFP/PFP)? Or a Master of Business Administration (MBA)? What about skill and experience differences within a specific designation? Do securities regulators care if employees have a CFA, CFP, CPA, or MBA? 51:48 Complementary “Hard” and Useful “Soft” Skills to Develop Do CFAs require industry experience? Behavioural finance skills? Human Resources and Staff Management? Leadership and Team Dynamics? Communication and Interpersonal? Analytical and Problem Solving? Foreign Languages and Cultural Appreciation?
1 hr 32 min
Jun 9, 2021
CFA Career Chats: Dan Sumner, MA (Econ), CFA
Dan Sumner is a native of Saskatoon. He attended the University of Saskatchewan, where he attained his Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He then moved to Queen’s University to pursue his Master’s in Economics. After graduating from Queen’s, Dan worked as an Economist with ATB Financial in Calgary. Then moved into the natural resource sector. As an Economist/Analyst with Talisman Energy and as an Analyst with BHP. Subsequently, Dan joined BMO Private Wealth in Saskatoon as a Senior Investment Counsellor. He now advises high net worth families, foundations, and corporations on their long-term investment and financial strategies. Dan obtained his CFA Charter in 2013 and has been a CFA Society Saskatchewan Director since 2015. 1:25 What led Dan to pursue his Bachelor of Arts in Economics? 3:45 Why did Dan add a Master’s in Economics degree? 5:42 What are the pros/cons of changing Universities for a Master’s degree? 10: 40 Do “pure” economics’ jobs exist for those with a Bachelor’s degree? 12:15 Did Dan realize how important economics is in so many professions? 13:53 Should Economics’ majors add complementary hard skills? 18:28 What did Dan do as an Economist with ATB? 19:55 Why were communication skills critical to Dan’s job? 23:38 How important are soft skills? What is “Executive Presence”? 27:20 What was it like working in natural resources as an Analyst? 30:20 Why should employees “do the right thing every time”? 32:00 How did BHP Analyst differ from an ATB Economist? 33:50 How did Dan’s CFA training assist as an Analyst? 36:04 Did an Economics’ degree help Dan in the CFA Program? 39:12 Why did Dan become an Investment Counsellor? 40:55 What does a BMO Senior Investment Counsellor do? 45:30 Does economics and industry experience assist Dan at BMO? 47:24 Is educating and becoming partners with clients important? 50:33 What are “High Net Worth Individuals” and “investable assets”? 54:30 What is the “AUM%” client fee model? 1:01:20 Do foundations, trusts, and companies differ from individuals? 1:05:00 Did Dan add non-CFA technical skills to become a better Counsellor? 1:09:38 What other soft skills are useful to develop? 1:12:35 How are team dynamics becoming more vital in business? 1:15:00 Why is team “fit” often preferable to “best” candidate? 1:17:20 Should people focus on their strengths? Or weaknesses? 1:21:15 Should people consider career paths and focus on long-term skills? 1:23:50 Start the CFA Program right after University? Or wait a few years? 1:27:45 What advice would Dan offer to 17 or 24 year old Dan?
1 hr 31 min
Jun 2, 2021
CFA Career Chats: Juliana Wong, BA (Econ) CFA
Juliana Wong joins Jordan Wilson to discuss her career trajectory and lessons learned. From her time growing up in Vancouver until now. An interesting discussion on education, career paths, and work advice. Juliana is a Senior Capital Markets Director at Concentra Bank. She manages Concentra's funding pricing through wholesale market, indirect channels, and capital markets. Also, Juliana oversees liquidity in terms of portfolio investments, cash management, and management of credit facilities. Prior to Concentra, Juliana worked at a Pension Investment Firm and an Asset Management Company. Juliana graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts (mathematics and economics) and is a CFA Charterholder. Juliana joined the CFA Society Saskatchewan Board of Directors in 2015. She has previously served as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President, and is currently the Society’s President. In this episode, Jordan and Juliana discuss: 2:25 What led Juliana to major in Economics and Mathematics in University? 4:25 CFA Society Saskatchewan has 3 Economics majors on its Board in 2021. Why so many? What are the career options for those with Economics degrees? 6:25 What led Juliana to shift from Economics and pursue the CFA designation? 8:00 Did having a strong economics background assist in the CFA Program? 9:15 Why is it important for CFAs to have strong economics knowledge, regardless of education? 12:45 Should CFA Candidates enter the CFA Program in their final year of University, or shortly after graduating? Or does it make more sense to wait and develop some practical finance experience? 15:00 How and why Juliana made the move from Vancouver to Regina. 16:40 When working, should employees specialize or consider more general skill sets to develop? 19:00 Are there finance positions and careers for graduates who wish to work in Saskatchewan? 21:40 What does Juliana do at Concentra Bank? How has her career progressed over time? 25:15 How are employees compensated at Concentra? “Eat what you hunt” or salary? What about the daily job risk versus stability for employees? 28:20 Women are underrepresented in finance positions. What has been Juliana’s experience as a female in finance? 30:00 Work-life balance is an issue for today’s employee. What are Juliana’s thoughts on this in Saskatchewan finance-related functions? 33:45 What sort of non-finance technical skills should younger professionals develop to become more attractive for open finance jobs? 37:00 What about developing knowledge in the main industries where one will work? 44:05 What sort of softer skills should young professionals develop to enhance their resumes? 46:00 What advice would today’s Juliana tell High-School Juliana about career paths?