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Investment expertise right here in Alaska: CFA creditials 'gold standard' worldwide.

Many investors in Alaska know there are a multitude of financial designations associated with the financial industry, but only one designation--the Chartered Financial Analyst, or CFA-has become the global professional investment credential, the "gold standard" among investment professionals worldwide (The Economist, Feb. 26, 2005; Financial Times, June 19, 2006). The great news for Alaskan investors is that they don't have to search Outside for this level of expertise, because 35 Alaska investment professionals hold this certification.

Understanding the significance of the CFA charter--and what is required of those who hold it-can be useful information when choosing an investment adviser. Selecting an individual responsible for managing your personal or institutional investments is an important decision.

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CFA CHARTERHOLDERS IN ALASKA

Currently 35 CFA charterholders work in Alaska in a variety of capacities such as portfolio managers, investment analysts, chief investment officers and chief financial officers, among other related roles.

The State of Alaska has long recognized the value of having CFA charterholders manage the state's investments. The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., with nearly $40 billion invested, currently employs four CFA charterholders. Rick Schaefer, chief investment officer and a CFA charterholder, says, "The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation's role is to invest its funds on behalf of more than 600,000 Alaskans. This trust requires that its staff continually aspire to the highest standards of investment expertise, professionalism and integrity, which are all qualities that are embodied in the CFA Program."

Private corporations and investment firms in Alaska also have a number of charterholders on staff. Firms with more than one CFA charterholder include McKinley Capital Management, Alaska Permanent Capital Management, and Alaska Native regional corporation Cook Inlet Region Inc., with seven, three, and two charterholders respectively. (See chart for a listing of other charterholders in investment positions throughout the state.)

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A CFA CHARTERHOLDER?

The CFA program is administered by the CFA Institute and consists of three six-hour exams taken in sequential years. More than 250 hours of intense study and preparation are typically needed to pass each exam, which has an average 52 percent pass rate since 1963. Ultimately, only one in five individuals who start the program end up earning the right to use the CFA credential.

The program itself is roughly equivalent to a master's degree in finance, with an emphasis on investment. Core elements of the CFA curriculum include:

Investment Tools covering economics, financial statement analysis, quantitative analysis, and corporate finance;

Asset Valuation including analysis of debt instruments, equity investments, derivatives, and alternative investments;

Portfolio Management for both institutions and individuals, including performance measurement; and,

Ethical and Professional Standards requiring CFA charterholders to annually attest to their continued compliance with CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

The intensity and thoroughness of this curriculum has been recognized and incorporated into the finance programs of such prestigious universities as Yale, Harvard and the University of Chicago. Closer to home, Alaska's very own University of Alaska Fairbanks has done the same.

Says Craig Wisen, CFA charterholder and assistant professor of business administration at UAF's School of Management, "We use a significant amount of CFA material in our courses, and have sent several students down to Anchorage to take Level 1. It is also crucial to the performance of the UAF Student Investment Fund--which now exceeds $500,000."

WHAT CAN A CFA CHARTERHOLDER DO FOR YOU?

A CFA charterholder can assist you in developing and executing your investment plan in a variety of ways. As mentioned above, the curriculum encompasses the investment process ranging from selecting individual securities to managing the entire portfolio.

Although there are a number of reputable and applicable credentials that financial professionals in different disciplines may hold, none are as rigorously focused on investment knowledge as the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

More information on the CFA program can be obtained from the www.cfainstitute.org.

Note: This article includes general information provided in "Why Select a CFA Charterholder," published by the CFA Institute.

Julee Duhrsen is the vice president of operations at Alaska Permanent Capital Management, an investment firm with $2 billion in assets under management and advisement. She is both a CFA charterholder and a certified public accountant.
Chartered Financial Analysts in Alaska

NAME ORGANIZATION

Alan R. Walton, CFA Southcentral Foundation
Bob Gene Mitchell, CFA State of Alaska
Bradley J. Fluetsch, CFA Fluetsch Financial Services LLC
Brandon Scott Rinner, CFA McKinley Capital Management Inc.
Brian Kent Pinkston, CFA Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.
Christopher A. Brechbuhler,
 CFA Alaska Permanent Capital Management Co.
Christopher R. Cadieux, CFA Premier Portfolio Strategies
Craig H. Wisen, CFA University of Alaska at Fairbanks
David G. Stuart, CFA Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.
Gregory S. Samorajski, CFA McKinley Capital Management Inc.
Jeffrey B. Pantages, CFA Alaska Permanent Capital Management Co.
Joshua David Burger, CFA Alaska Permanent Fund
Julee Farley Duhrsen, CFA Alaska Permanent Capital Management Co.
Maria E. Tsu, CFA Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.
Mary Wladkowski, CFA Alaska Pacific University
Patrick W. Duke, CFA Cook Inlet Region Inc.
Peter Jay Pounds, CFA GCI
Qianyu Sun, CFA Anchorage School District
Richard D. Shafer, CFA Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.
Sheila E. Reilly, CFA CIRI
Sheldon James Lien, CFA McKinley Capital Management Inc.
Stephen Reed Sikes, CFA State of Alaska Department of Revenue
Yuri R. Morgan, CFA Morgan Partnership

Note: This is a partial listing consisting of those charterholders who
agreed to have their names listed.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Alaska Business Publishing Company, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Comment:Investment expertise right here in Alaska: CFA creditials 'gold standard' worldwide.
Author:Duhrsen, Julee
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Date:Oct 1, 2007
Words:898
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