Tuesday, March 14, 2017

FRM or PRM ? Which is Better ?


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.

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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...