Tuesday, March 14, 2017

FRM or PRM ? Which is Better ?

FRM vs PRM

Among Finance and Risk management students and professionals, there is a lot of confusion on two of the most sought after course on Risk management, whether they should pursue FRM (Financial Risk Manager) or PRM (Professional Risk Manager).  In this post, we will try to sort out the confusion and try to bring out the comparisons and differences, the easiest and hardest one to crack and the passing rates between FRM and PRM.

FRM designation is more popular than PRM. FRM is more established and well-recognized than PRM certification. It is administered and certifications are provided by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). Currently there are more than 26,000 certified professionals.

To be certified with FRM designation, you must
  • Complete two parts of the exam, Part I and Part II, which is offered twice in a year in May and November.
  • Have atleast two years of experience in the area of financial risk management or any other related field such as portfolio management, trading, risk consulting, risk technology, auditing, economics, industry research and faculty academic.

FRM Exam Format:
There are two parts of the exam, Part I and Part II. Each part of the exam is four hours long. Part I Consists of 100 multiple choice format questions and Part II consists of 80 multiple choice format questions. Part I is offered in the morning session while part II in the evening. This means you can give both parts on the same day. You must pass part I exam in order to have graded Part II.

Part I Exam Topic Areas:

FRM Part 1 Curriulum










Part II Exam Topic Areas:

FRM Part 2 Curriulum











The Exam results are pass or fail which will be notified via email approximately six weeks after the exam. The passing rate for the Part I exam is 46.7% while for Part II its 56%. The cost of registering for the exam is $350 for each part.
PRM is harder than FRM. It is also the most difficult and most technical risk management course in the world. It is administered and certifications are provided by the Professional Risk Manager’s International Association (PRMIA).

To be certified with PRM Designation, you must pass four exams. The Exams can be completed in one day or in four separate modules, which can be taken in any order over a period of up to two years. You must achieve a minimum of 60% correct answers to pass for each exam.

PRM Exam Format:

Exam I: Finance Theory, Financial Instruments and Markets – 36 Questions in 2 hours.
Exam II: Mathematical foundations of Risk measurement – 24 Questions in 2 hours.
Exam III: Risk Management Practices – 36 Questions in 1.5 hours.
Exam IV: Case studies, PRMIA standards of nest practice, conduct and ethics and Bylaws –                              24 questions in 1 hour.

You can take all the four exams in a single day with 120 questions in 6 hours with a one hour break.

The passing rate for the PRM exam is 50%. The cost of writing single exam is $195 and for full program it is $500. The number of PRM holders is unknown since PRMIA doesn’t publish it, but it is certainly lesser than FRM holders.

Conclusion:
Now you know the details of both the programs, so it is time for you to decide between these two. Which one of this is better? Well that depends on you. Both have most in common than differences.  FRM curriculum is more dynamic while PRM is more static. FRM is more general while PRM is more technical.

FRM is more popular and have a longer history, while PRM is backed by elite universities like NUS and HK University. But as far as international reputation is considered, FRM is ahead of PRM. If you are starting your career in risk, then FRM is right for you and if you are an experienced professional, consider the PRM. Both the designations are well recognized and respected in the risk management field and hence you can’t go wrong with either of them.



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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Top 10 Warren Buffett Investment Strategies

Warren Buffett Investment StrategiesWhat lessons can we learn from Warren Buffett’s Investing strategies. Whether you like him or not, his investment strategies are the best, which made him one of the richest people in the world. Warren Buffett‘s investment advice or his investing strategies are priceless and if you can grasp these strategies you should do well as an investor. We know there are other investment strategies out there, but his strategies are both easy to follow and have been successful for several years.

1.    Turn Snowballs into Snow Forts
Above everything else, Warren Buffett believes in the power of compounding over time with patience. In investing, this means starting as early as possible avoiding short term risk even if it means lower returns and letting investing returns build upon themselves. Buffett bought his first stock when he was just 11 years old.

2.    Look for companies with moat
Moat means competitive advantage that one company has over the other companies in the same sector. Warren buffett coined this term. Buffet always looks for firms with sustainable competitive advantages. The stronger the company’s moat, the most likely it will lead for decades like Coco-cola. Companies with greater competitive advantages have the ability to outperform in good and challenging times.

3.    Margin of Safety
This is one of the advices Buffet got from his mentor Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing. Margin of safety refers to buying securities when the market price is significantly below its intrinsic value. Buying securities with a margin of safety reduces risk and provides allowance for uncertain negative events.

4.    Invest in what you understand
One of the personal investing advices of buffet is to invest in the business which you understand and never invest in anything in which you don’t have any knowledge. This is the reason he refrained from the technology stocks. If you understand a business, you could have an upper hand when it comes to buying the stock.

5.    Hold on to your Stock
Buffett holds his stocks for a long time when he finds a gem. Buffett personally recommends holding on to your stock for a long term. Buying and selling securities frequently will cost you commission charges which you have to pay to the broker. The important thing in investing is finding great investments and holding it for long term.

6.    Buy Companies Cheap
Buffett doesn’t give much attention to EPS (Earnings per Share), a measure of a company’s profitability for each stock. Instead he considers companies with good return on equity, companies which generate a lot of cash, companies with solid operating margins and reasonable or no debt. He likes to invest in companies with consistent operating history and also looks to measures how well a company performs in different kinds of market including good and hard times.

7.    Invest in Quality Companies
Buffett believes in quality companies not in stock symbols. Most investors invest in the symbols or brands of successful companies without analyzing the business they invest in. As Buffet says “Invest like you are buying the whole company or business”. Treat investing as if you are buying the entire company. Investors are expected to know with the following before buying the stock. What are the company’s products? Who are its competitors? What differentiates it from them? What is risk in owning the company stock?

8.    Stay away from so-called ‘glitter’ stocks
An intelligent investor should analyze whether the stock in news has real value or it is just glittering at the moment. It is always beneficial to do your homework before investing in each and every company. It is wise to diversify your investments across sectors and in different asset classes.

9.    Become a conscious Investor
“It takes decades to build a reputation and minutes to spoil it. If you think about it, you’ll do things differently”.
It is necessary for the investors to think logically while investing and researching a stock.  You should keep on asking yourself why you want to buy a particular stock and should eliminate decision making based on emotions, intuition and herd mentality. As advised by Buffett – avoid the noise, do your own research and constantly update your knowledge and stock picking skills. Be a Smart Investor.

10. Know when to Quit
Once, when Buffett was a teen, he went to the racetrack. He bet on a race and lost. To regain his money back, he bet on another race. He lost again, leaving him nothing. He felt sick as he had lost nearly a week's earnings. He never repeated that mistake. You should Know when to walk away from a loss, and don't let anxiety or your emotions fool you into trying again.



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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Solid Reasons to Consider a Masters in Accounting

Going back to school for an advanced degree can make for an exciting way to expand your opportunities for the future. If you are someone that is ready to make a significant change in your life, then now is the perfect time to start looking into what type of master’s you are interested in obtaining. Exploring your options with MVU online can help you to see all of the potential paths in front of you. One area that can be helpful to explore is accounting.
 
If you have a knack for numbers, an advanced degree in the field of accounting is absolutely perfect for you. Take your time and look into information on how NEC offers a masters of accounting online, and soon you are going to be ready to get back to school for this important degree.
 
You Already Know Your Info
First, if you are already working in the field of accounting, then going back to school for your master’s can be a wonderful move to make. Though you might already have a firm grasp over most of the basics of your line of work, taking time to learn more can help you to become the expert that you know you can be. There are many opportunities for individuals who hold an advanced degree in accounting. If you are looking to expand your knowledge and obtain a higher position, then this is the best move for your future.
 
Those currently working in the world of accounting should look into what institutes of higher learning offer online courses. Accounting is a demanding line of work, and you may not have the available time to sit in a classroom. Pursuing your degree on the internet, on the other hand, can provide you with the flexibility that you need to land your master’s in a timely fashion and keep your options open. Find a program that works for your current schedule in order to take advantage of this chance.


A Full Career Change
For those who do not already work in an accounting field, recent studies have shed light on the fact that this is a great career change. Countless people have decided to pursue advanced degrees in accounting in order to get out of the line of work they are currently in and find more opportunities. As long as you have a good idea of how to work with numbers, you will not have any trouble making this change into a lasting one with the right studies. Look into where you can pursue this degree in order to discover more.
 
There are many different reasons that you will want to think about going back to school for your master’s in accounting. Whether you have been working as an accountant for many years, or you are ready to try your hand at something more lucrative, now is an excellent time to begin looking into all of your options. Take time to see which institutes of higher learning offer an advanced degree in the field of accounting and see what university offers the most flexible options for your schedule. In time, you will be ready to make an exciting and important change.
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Saturday, August 27, 2016

How To Look For A suitable online Stock Broker

Stockbroking has become very popular with investors these days due to the comfort it offers. More and more people are turning investors sitting in their homes and offices. When you are an amateur investor, you will need good investment advisors to help you meet your investment objectives. Cheap online stock trading ideas become important to you during this phase of investment. What then are the factors that you have to look at to obtain the most suitable broker for you in your stock trading online? Here are a few that you must consider cautiously:

Reference
This is the best way to look for online stock brokers. Ask your colleagues, friends, and relatives who have invested in the market. They will refer to you brokers whose services have been to their satisfaction.

Check Comparison Sites
The best places to look for online stock brokers is comparison sites. These sites save you the time of collecting data from different firms and comparing them manually. Comparison sites compile the data of various sites for evaluation and comparison. By filling a simple form, you will get to check out results from different brokers as per your requirements.

Commissions
Each broker takes a commission. The less commission you need to give, the more money you have to purchase stocks with. Although, you must learn that fewer commissions with affordable brokers can be equal to lesser service.

Availability of Trading Tools
 You will find firm brokerage sites on the web that may give you merely the most basic of services since they assume that the trader is already well-equipped. On the other hand, some other brokerages provide much more services like monitors for stock trading, breaking the news that strikes investments and other tax liability software. These additional instruments and services will help you substantially.

Beneficial Tips
 Should you get the services of full-service brokers, you will be able to get a lot more sound advice on stock picking. Other standard brokers are not going to give you any advice; that is why you need to know what you need before choosing an agent.

Trade Execution
 The speed of executing trades is a crucial factor in online stock trades. If your broker devotes a good time in trade execution, you've got much to achieve out of this. The more time you wait before your placed order is done, the more you have to lose from its current value. You also need to remember that some rates in online stocks will be different from offline stocks.

Excellent Customer Support
 This is a crucial part of stockbroker service. It is essential to be affiliated with a broker that has your best interests at heart. Particularly in case you are not used to the online stock trading business, you'll have a lot of questions and requests. A good broker should be accessible to answer your questions at all times. You should be able to get good recommendations and help when you're unclear about an investment or bewildered by some market trends.

Office Accessibility
 With the variety of fiscal transactions which can be done online, lots of brokers are merely available online. It remains an advantage to be able to have access to your broker in an office, where one can meet live with the other person.

Stock Broker Forum
These forums are maintained by volunteers and people who are interested in online stock broking. Be a part of these forums for some time and independently monitor the advice and solutions offered by the stock brokers who will help you in choosing the most suitable online stock brokers for your investment.

Review Websites
A user-friendly and consistently updated CMC Markets website is best for you. Make sure that the website features a good review from other end users. All in all, be familiar with your needs first as a new investor so that you can select the right broker to suit your needs.


There are some review websites which review various online stockbroking ideas. You can view the pros and cons of the brokerage firms from these sites. Professionals usually manage them with years of experience in the stock market, and you will get to know certain key parameters used to judge the firms which you as an investor might have overlooked. Make sure you read the reviews on at least two websites before taking a final call to ensure that you don’t become a victim of paid reviews.
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Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Pros and Cons of Various Ways to Invest in the Stock Market

Most people like the idea of investing some of their money in the stock market, but the question becomes how best to go about doing this. There are actually many ways you can invest your money in stocks, and the following is a discussion of the different methods that people use to do this, both the advantages and disadvantages. 

Invest the money yourself
Basically, you decide which stocks you want to buy and when you want to sell them. Naturally, you are responsible for your gains and losses, but at the same time, you have the freedom to do what you want with your money, and have 100 percent influence on your stock market investments. This type of investor uses discount brokers for their trades, to keep the expense of buying and selling stocks to the bare minimum. The downside to this method of stock investing is that it takes time to do the necessary research to find the stocks that are good buys, and also the research to know when to sell a stock. 

Use a traditional stock broker
This type of broker charges more for commissions than discount brokers, but they provide recommendations for stock purchases. They do much of the research for you, but you are still the one that makes the final decision on when to buy or sell. The broker is only providing recommendations. For those who do not have the time to do their own research, this is often the best way to invest in stocks. However, you need to spend time researching various brokers to find one that will perform for you, as well as one that you feel comfortable with. 

Buy index funds
This is a simple way to invest in the stock market. Basically, you are buying a mutual fund that consists of stocks that represent an index. For example, the most popular index is the Dow Jones Industrial Average. When you buy a share in a mutual fund that is indexed to the Dow Jones, your fund will rise or fall depending upon the rise and fall of the Dow. Index fund managers are simply buying the stocks in the Dow Jones, without any research involved. There are other index funds. Another example is the Standard & Poor's 500.

Let someone do it for you
Many people, especially those with a lot of money to invest in the markets, simply use a private equity investment firm. Depending upon the size of the firm, one or more managers invest your money along with other clients. The money is pooled, and fees are charged for the service based upon performance and other factors. There are many equity firms available to manage your money. Some are of a general nature while others invest in specific areas of the market. Vista Equity, for example, is an equity firm co-founded by Brian Sheth, and they focus on technology. Sheth is personally involved in the managing of the firm's portfolio. 

Keep in mind that there is no best way to invest in the stock market. What is best for you will depend upon many factors: how much time you want to devote to research, what area of the stock market you want to invest in and how much skill you have with investing. Whatever your situation is, you are never committed in the long term to any single method, and you may want to choose to divide your money up using two methods.
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Get a Headstart on Your Investments

As a young individual applying for college, you may not realize that you are actually looking to make your first big investment of your life.  Higher education is often viewed as a financial investment in your future.  It makes sense.  Invest money in a two or four year program for a degree.  This degree leads to opportunities of greater future earning potential.  It is simple; invest money to make money.

There was a growing trend that called for everyone to get a college education which eventually increased competition in the labor market.  It became harder to get a job without a degree which only helped propel the trend.  Basically, everyone wanted a degree because everyone wanted a job and money. 

With that being said, the rise in demand for college education brought on a rise in tuition and cost of attendance.  The escalation of college expenses increased the prominence of student loans.  Since the average college applicant could not cover the overall cost of attendance, student loans became a popular solution to funding college.

Long story short, outstanding student loan debt exceeds $1.3 trillion today, and it surpasses consumer credit debt as one of the top sources of debt in America.  This debt falls heavily on the millennial generation and college graduates within the past decade.  With financial hardship right off the bat, it became much harder for new, young employees to start other important investments which has greater repercussions than first thought. 

The moral of the story is that important investments are neglected by those with student debt.  Investments such as home ownership and retirement funds are extremely important for financial health down the road, and it is common for student loan borrowers to focus on student loan debt before moving on to other goals.  

Luckily, there are ways to limit the burden of student loans that lead to more financial flexibility in the future.  Some of these involve circumventing student loans entirely while others involve a change in approach to them.  Here are several ways to quickly cut away your student loan debt and pave the way to greater lifetime financial investments.

Find "Free Money"
When talking about "free money," you are talking about grants and scholarships.  These are opportunities to fund your college education without any repayment responsibilities, hence the term "free money." 

Scholarships are extremely popular.  They are offered to people for any and all reasons such as merit, heritage, financial need, or even individuality.  The best way to find which opportunities fit your criteria is to utilize online scholarship resources.  Sites such as these lay out information and deadlines for scholarships  which makes it easy to secure free funding for higher education.
Grants are similar to scholarships, but they are less diverse and not as abundant.  The federal government provides several grants (Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and more) to students of significant financial need, prospective teachers, and military veterans.

The benefits of a grant or scholarships are simple.  The need for a student loan lessens with multiple scholarships and grants, so there is a better chance of graduating debt-free.

Student Loan Refinancing
Many graduates find themselves with multiple student loans which is a recipe for disaster.  More than one loan means more than one interest payment which can exacerbate a loan uncontrollably.  There is a simple solution to mounting and multiple interest  payments: student loan refinancing.

Refinancing is a well-known tool when dealing with mortgages, and it is growing in prominence for student loans.  A private lender essentially refinances multiple loans (private or federal) by lumping them together and changing the repayment terms to benefit the borrower.

The end result is a loan with one interest rate and an altered repayment period.  Refinancing nearly always reduces amount spent on interest over the life of a loan.  Without the burden of student loans, a retirement fund can be started without causing as much financial stress.

Pick the Right Major
One interesting criticism of student loans involves choice of major.  Today, loans are given out without much consideration of the borrower's major which has been brought up with controversy.
Without naming any majors, a simple generic example suffices.  An overall loan of $120,000 for a four year degree is disbursed.  The borrower finished his or her education only to enter his or her field with an earning potential of $35,000 a year.  From the lender's perspective, this is a bad investment.  From the borrower's perspective, this is a tough debt situation.

The piece of advice here is to pick the right major.  Researching different professions and salaries can provide insight on different earning potentials. It is ideal to choose a career path that has the ability to sustain student loan payments on top of the cost of living.  This is generally good advice, but it is paramount for a healthy investment career.

Proactive Payments
There are a couple of ways to tackle student loan payments that greatly decrease the repayment period.  And they both involve tackling interest in a different way.  Student loan interest capitalizes each month which basically means each subsequent interest accrual is larger than its predecessor.
One of the first practices is starting interest payments while still in school.  This keeps interest from building excessively onto an original principal balance over the life of the loan.  The other method involves making monthly payments that are larger than the minimum requirement.  This practice limits the rate of interest accrual by cutting away at the principal balance.


By paying off interest early and making larger principal payments, the capitalization of student loan interest can be countered which saves money down the road.  Money saved down the road can be put towards other important investments.
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