I recently returned from the CFA Institute’s Society Leadership Conference, held this year in Hong Kong. This conference is for the Presidents and other Society leaders from all 147 global Societies to come together on an annual basis for conversation and idea generation. Along with a few dozen Institute staff we discussed Institute initiatives, shared ideas, learned about board governance best practices and networked with the global body of charterholders. Two to three representatives of each Society attended the conference; when combined with the Institute staff that were present over 500 people attended this year’s conference.
I wanted to pass along a couple takeaways to you. The first is that the new CFA Institute CEO, Paul Smith, is committed to working in partnership with local Societies across the globe. He has already increased the flow to Societies of needed financial resources, educational materials, social media toolkits, speaker networks and IT infrastructure, and has demonstrated a strong desire to listen to our needs and concerns. He has made additional funding available to Societies that want to tackle new, innovative projects that the local Society cannot afford on their own, but that further the mission of the CFA Institute and can be replicated across the globe. If anyone in the CFA Society of Minnesota has an idea for a truly original program that could benefit our members and be replicated by other Societies, please share your thoughts with me.
The second takeaway was a reminder that we are a global professional organization, one of the few (possibly only) credentials that is the same around the world. All charterholders have passed the same rigorous exams, in the same language, and all adhere to the same code of conduct, whether we live in Minnesota, Montreal, Shanghai or South Africa. I had lunch one day with Society leaders from Kuwait, Bahrain, Austria and Pittsburgh, followed by a meeting with leaders from Beijing, Japan, Calgary, Korea and Spokane. I discussed annual economic dinner speakers with the President of the CFA Society of Nigeria and had a conversation about board recruiting with a Society leader from Vietnam.
While we all face different challenges in our local markets, the CFA Institute and local CFA Societies are all pursuing the same three goals – maintaining a strong body of knowledge and rigorous credentialing program, delivering member value, and working with employers and regulators to promote ethical behavior and market integrity.
In summary, it is good to remember that “CFA” does not just mean that you passed a series of difficult exams – it also means you are part of a global organization promoting ethics and professional standards around the world.
Josh Howard, CFA
President, CFA Society of Minnesota
P.S. Speaking of passing difficult exams – please join us in welcoming our newest charterholders at the New Charterholder Dinner on November 12th. More information can be found here.