Crypto Coming to Wall Street: 2019 CFA Exams Will Feature Questions on Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrencies

Siamak Masnavi

As yet another sign that crypto is coming to Wall Street, CFA Institute has added topics on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to the 2019 Level I and Level II Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam curriculums. CFA Institute is requiring knowledge of these topics for the first time next year as part of the Fintech section. 

According to Finance Train, under Fintech, there are four relevant areas:

  • financial analysis technology: includes topics such as big data analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and algorithmic trading;
  • portfolio management technology: includes topics such as robo-advisors ("computer algorithms that help retail investors build and manage their portfolios with least human interaction");
  • capital formation: includes topics such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, shadow banking, and crowd-funding; and
  • market infrastructure: includes topics such as cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and high frequency trading.

Although cryptocurrency prices have generally come down quite a bit since their December 2017 highs, many observers expects blockchain technology to change large parts of the global financial system. Bloomberg reports that one such observer is Stephen Horan, the managing director for general education and curriculum at CFA Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, who says: 

“We saw the field advancing more quickly than other fields and we also saw it as more durable... This is not a passing fad.”

Kayden Lee, a financial economics student at Columbia University who took the CFA Level I exam in June, told Blomberg:

"It will be beneficial for us, since there’s been a huge expansion and adoption of crypto in our investment universe... But more importantly the focus is on fintech and blockchain... How it works to improve, unravel or even disrupt certain sectors.”

As for those who are working in the crypto space, Darius Sit, a former foreign exchange and bond trader at BNP Paribas, who is now the managing partner of cryptocurrency trading firm QCP Capital in Singapore, said to Bloomberg: "It’s positive that organizations like CFA are drawing attention to the space... More education is always good.”

The next generation of wealth managers and financial analysts having a good understanding of the crypto space should only help to increase investment in blockchain technology in general and cryptocurrencies in particular.

 

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