Chartered Financial Analyst or Creative Financial Artist?

Admittedly, sitting in on weekly investment team meetings for an administrative day job is not my idea of creative inspiration.  In the past few months that I have been with this contract job, I’ve contemplated meditating my way through these meetings since for the most part I do not understand what they are laughing about, very few action items arise from these discussions and they spend a large amount of time staring at graphs and charts in silence — but they need me to change the slides on the projector screen.  Oh, how they need me to do that.

Admin is still admin, whatever industry I find myself in.  All executives have pretty much the same executive needs.  All offices operate pretty much the same as other offices.  However, the lingo of investments was quickly not earning any charm it never had with me.

Cover Page of CFA Magazine March April 2013The writers for the CFA Magazine (as in Chartered Financial Analyst) gave me a refreshing correction.  I began flipping through my boss’ copy of the magazine during some downtime and thoroughly enjoyed (and understood!) a powerful balance of logic and passion.

The cover is what first lured me.  It read ‘Time-Bomb Zombie Swans from Outer Space’ with a clever and colourful illustration of a Godzilla-like black swan and fleeing, open-mouthed pedestrians in an urban setting.  In this issue, amid the solid, yet sometimes boring structure of financial logic runs playful probabilities and absurd humour, which is apparent by the cover piece alone.

This kind of journalism is not dumbed-down as is common in most general reading yet it has entertainment value that involves the variety of everyday life.  This makes all the difference to me: to find common ground where I didn’t expect to find any from a perspective that is alternative to me.

In this world of Chartered Financial Analysts, though the plot doesn’t change much, the stuff of all great stories comes into play.  In the March/April issue, one article discussed  emotional intelligence for investors better than any women’s lifestyle magazine I ever peaked through.  Another article discussed religion and social responsibility in, ‘Islamic Finance and Socially Responsible Investing.’

My favourite article, in this issue, was Ralph Wanger’s article, ‘Heads, You Win.’ I ignorantly never thought to read a CFA article referencing Tom Stoppard or dramatic theatre.  I also never thought an equation could be beautiful but I appreciated being presented with that possibility and a mind that did.  The article was educational not just to my own common logic.

When we talk about trying new cultures, Investments and Finance seem strange countries to venture.  And like most trying cultures, a taste sample often only perpetuates false conclusions.  Immersion is the way to go.  I appreciate that I would have never jumped down this rabbit-hole, if it had not been for this administrative desk job.  Sadly, I suspect I am probably one of very few non-CFA readers of this magazine.