Well, I’m a #CFA Charterholder finally

I’m happy to report that today I received notification that my application was approved and I am officially a #CFA charterholder. 

It’s been a long journey since I started this process in August of 2008. Seems like only yesterday I was studying for Level 1and wondering where this might take me. I still don’t know exactly but it feels great to see those letters behind my name after lots of hard work. 

Now that I’m done, I can post the “How to Pass” document I’ve been working on. I will do that this week. 

Feels real good

#CFA After taking some time after receiving the results last Tuesday, I’m still on cloud 9 over here. It’s been a long 4 years since I decided to first go for the charter in 2008 right after getting my MBA and MS in Finance. At the time the goal of passing all 3 exams seemed daunting and very unlikely for someone like me who wasn’t coming from a traditional finance career path. I knew I could do it but worried about the time committment necessary to get here. Well, I’m 3 for 3 and after I apply this week and get everything verified, I should have my charter in hand. 

So how did I do it? Well I will definitely update my guide to passing level 1 to now include all 3 levels as well as some tips on actually applying for the charter, getting work experience verified, etc. The quick summary is

1) Set a goal

2) Work hard at it

3) Don’t give up

It’s really that simple. I set the goal of obtaining charter and going 3 for 3. I worked hard at it, 10-20 hours per week for up to 6 months for each level and more the month before exam. And I didnt give up when work, personal life, or my own fears were getting in the way. There was a point where I even questioned whether the cost in time and money was worth the effort, especially if I didn’t have a Wall St career lined up already. I’m glad I pushed thru all of that. 

The first name of this blog was called My CFA Adventure as many long time readers may recall, and this was quite an adventure. The most important thing I learned wasn’t about fixed income, or how to use a swap to hedge a mortgage portfolio or what behavioral characteristic an investor fits into. I’ve forgotten most of that already anyway. The most imporant thing I learned was about myself. I learned that I could set a goal and achieve it after hard work and dedication. I learned I could prioritize, balance and manage a high workload alongside doing something on the side to better myself. I learned I could become disillusioned with a goal yet  not give up. I learned I could push myself in new directions and away from my comfort zone. All of these lessons will stay with me much further than any financial theory I learned from the curriculum, many of which will change over the course of my working career. The growth I experienced these past 4 years has been immeasurable and I’m a better person for having gone thru this. 

Thanks to everyone for the support over the years. It’s been quite a ride. 

This is what victory tastes like



Well I did it.  Level 3 is done. Words cannot describe. Setting a goal and seeing it thru to completion is quite an experience. This is just beautiful. Will post more thoughts later.


Dear James Michael Morales,

Congratulations! We are very pleased to inform you that you passed the June 2012 Level III CFA exam. 52% of candidates passed the June 2012 Level III CFA exam.

Now that you have passed Level III, you must be a regular member of CFA Institute to be eligible for the award of the CFA charter. Log in now to verify your current membership status or complete the application process.

A summary of your exam results is provided below. The three columns on the right are marked with asterisks to indicate your performance on each topic area.

Please contact us if you have questions or comments about the CFA Program.


Q# Topic Max Pts <=50% 51%-70% >70%
1 Portfolio Management – Individual 27 *
2 Portfolio Management – Individual 9 *
3 Portfolio Management – Execution 21 *
4 Portfolio Management – Individual 17 *
5 Economics 24 *
6 Portfolio Management – Institutional 34 *
7 Fixed Income Investments 23 *
8 Derivatives 13 *
9 Derivatives 12 *

Item Set

Q# Topic Max Pts <=50% 51%-70% >70%
Alternative Investments 18 *
Equity Investments 18 *
Ethical & Professional Standards 36 *
Fixed Income Investments 18 *
Portfolio Management 18 *
Portfolio Management – Asset Allocation 18 *
Portfolio Management – Individual 18 *
Portfolio Management – Performance Eval. 18 *
Portfolio Management – Risk Management 18 *