In Conversation With…Saurabh Mukherjea CFA

Saurabh Mukherjee croppedSaurabh Mukherjea CFA did BSc and MSc in Economics at the London School of Economics. Then he worked under John Kay, one of UK’s top economists, for a couple of years following which he became a strategy consultant in Accenture. In 2004, Saurabh co-founded Clear Capital, a British small-midcap focused research house. Whilst at Clear Capital, he received CFA charter. After selling Clear Capital in 2008 to a larger British investment bank, he moved to India. Current, Saurabh is CEO of the Institutional Equities franchise at Ambit Capital.

How do you view the Institutional Equity Broking industry with regards to scope, growth and job prospects? How can CFA charter holders take advantage of it?

India is a unique emerging market in that with only $2K per capita income, we generate $450bn of household savings. Historically, two-thirds of these savings have gone into gold and real estate thus leaving very little for the organised Financial Services economy. As a result, the Indian Financial Services sector – both buy-side and sell-side – have historically been sub-scale. However, as the NDA Government attacks the Black Economy, I see this situation changing – a greater share of savings will flow into the organised Financial sector and thus create greater scope for intermediation and investment activity.

How did CFA help in enhancing your career objectives?

The syllabus for the CFA exams is ideally suited for a career in financial markets. You learn accounting, valuation, portfolio structuring, economics and ethics over the span of three years whilst working in the Financial Services industry. The focus is on practical knowledge rather than on too much theory. As a result, the CFA charter avoids many of the negatives of the MBA qualification which I have found to be too theoretical and which forces most professionals to step away from the real world for a couple of years.

How would you rate the CFA course with respect to content and structure including the pros and cons? Also include aspects which give CFA course an edge over other courses.

I have addresses most of the issues above. If I compare the MBA and CFA head-to-head then my reckoning is that the CFA, relative to the MBA, is for more self-driven professionals who can build their study program and motivate themselves to pass three rigourous exams. The MBA seems to be designed more for individuals who are confused with regards to their career intentions and are looking for a “stamp” which will open up various career avenues for them. If you know that you want to work in capital markets then the CFA is the qualification for you. If you are confused, you are better off doing a MBA.

What guidance you would give to CFA aspirants?

Think for yourself. Don’t believe what you read in the media. Don’t go by conventional nostrums. See the world with a fresh pair of eyes and think things through from first principles. Read extensively. Travel extensively. Expose yourself to a whole variety of cultures and experiences and through all of it, think for yourself rather than believing conventional wisdom.

Points noted above are personal views and not made on behalf of the employer organisation or on behalf of IAIP.

A part of Newsletter – June 2015

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