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FRM Designation - Looking for Information/Insight

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  • Apr 18th, 2016 2:05 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Sep 23, 2011
86 posts
39 upvotes
MISSISSAUGA

FRM Designation - Looking for Information/Insight

Hi All,

I'm looking to learn more about the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designation. As a bit of a background about myself, I have been working for a large Canadian FI for just over four years now. I worked in Operations for my first two years in the bank, and have been in finance over the past couple years. I am also a designated CPA.

I''m looking for a new academic challenge since I completed my accounting designation almost two years ago, and would like to add value to my educational background. I thought about doing my MBA or PMP to bolster my resume and gain new practical knowledge, however after some research I think that I have my sights set on the FRM. All four of my years in the bank have centered around financial control and I think that an FRM would add more value to my resume and compliment my accounting designation well. I also think that the FRM would provide me with an extra tool to pivot out of finance if I wanted to go into other areas of the bank that I am interested in such as risk or credit/lending - which is where my ops experience was.

Has anyone here completed the FRM, and can anyone shed some light or provide me with some additional information or insight? Looking for any information such as the level of difficult of the exams, how much study time did you have to put in, etc. I would likely be writing level one in November 2016 if I did pursue it. For any FRM holders, has the designation added the value to your resume that you had hoped for? I would assume that this designation would only add value if working in an FI of some sort (Bank, Large Insurance Institution, Govt perhaps) but if I left the FI world and went into industry it would not be of much use.

Thanking everyone in advance.
18 replies
Sr. Member
Jul 17, 2013
584 posts
94 upvotes
Greenwich, CT
DIEHARD005 wrote: Hi All,

I'm looking to learn more about the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designation. As a bit of a background about myself, I have been working for a large Canadian FI for just over four years now. I worked in Operations for my first two years in the bank, and have been in finance over the past couple years. I am also a designated CPA.

I''m looking for a new academic challenge since I completed my accounting designation almost two years ago, and would like to add value to my educational background. I thought about doing my MBA or PMP to bolster my resume and gain new practical knowledge, however after some research I think that I have my sights set on the FRM. All four of my years in the bank have centered around financial control and I think that an FRM would add more value to my resume and compliment my accounting designation well. I also think that the FRM would provide me with an extra tool to pivot out of finance if I wanted to go into other areas of the bank that I am interested in such as risk or credit/lending - which is where my ops experience was.

Has anyone here completed the FRM, and can anyone shed some light or provide me with some additional information or insight? Looking for any information such as the level of difficult of the exams, how much study time did you have to put in, etc. I would likely be writing level one in November 2016 if I did pursue it. For any FRM holders, has the designation added the value to your resume that you had hoped for? I would assume that this designation would only add value if working in an FI of some sort (Bank, Large Insurance Institution, Govt perhaps) but if I left the FI world and went into industry it would not be of much use.

Thanking everyone in advance.
Why not do the CFA to get into real finance?
Do the FRM if you want to work in risk (operational, not market). In my opinion, the CPA is more than enough to do risk work, but many hr like to see the FRM. Do it if you want..the test is easy, quick and painless.
Jr. Member
Nov 21, 2009
194 posts
6 upvotes
A question about GARP's work experience validation process. After passing the two FRM exams, GARP will ask us to submit our work experience via an online form. Do we need to provide the phone/email contacts of our work supervisors for the jobs we list on the online form?

I do meet the FRM work experience requirement, but that's from a job which I've already quit. If GARP needs to contact my former company to validate my work experience, then I'd better reach out to my ex-boss first before committing to writing the FRM exams.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 23, 2011
86 posts
39 upvotes
MISSISSAUGA
TranscendentExp wrote: Why not do the CFA to get into real finance?
Do the FRM if you want to work in risk (operational, not market). In my opinion, the CPA is more than enough to do risk work, but many hr like to see the FRM. Do it if you want..the test is easy, quick and painless.
Thanks for the response. The honest truth is that I don't have the appetite to go through 2-3 years of studying again - I realize the payoff would be huge if I could complete my CFA but at this point I don't think I could go through that huge of an academic undertaking. I already have a "big C" designation and am fine with just having one.
Member
Jun 23, 2010
227 posts
62 upvotes
As someone who has both, I would not say that the FRM is an easy, quick and painless test. The difference I find between the two is that the CFA exams were difficult because of the breadth of the tops, not the actual topics themselves. In contrast, the FRM exams don't cover as much topic but the amount of detail is what makes it difficult. Compared to the CFA, it is much more math intensive but nothing I would say is not doable. I found the FRM exams tougher than the actual CFA exams but your experience may be different.

As for work experience, they do ask for contacts but I think there was an option asking if you wanted them to be contacted. It's been a few years so my memory is fuzzy on this. I remember it went easier than I had expected.

Tiberious
Deal Addict
Feb 14, 2016
1754 posts
1177 upvotes
Tiberious wrote: As someone who has both, I would not say that the FRM is an easy, quick and painless test. The difference I find between the two is that the CFA exams were difficult because of the breadth of the tops, not the actual topics themselves. In contrast, the FRM exams don't cover as much topic but the amount of detail is what makes it difficult. Compared to the CFA, it is much more math intensive but nothing I would say is not doable. I found the FRM exams tougher than the actual CFA exams but your experience may be different.

As for work experience, they do ask for contacts but I think there was an option asking if you wanted them to be contacted. It's been a few years so my memory is fuzzy on this. I remember it went easier than I had expected.

Tiberious
Tiberious
What don't you have; seems like you have everything from CPA,CFA, MBA, FRM;
I'm jealous
Newbie
Apr 18, 2013
55 posts
4 upvotes
OP, how long did it take you to get your CFA?
Deal Addict
Feb 15, 2012
3580 posts
3153 upvotes
Toronto
CPA alone won't get you a job in risk management, in fact I only know one guy who has a CMA in risk. You may be able to sneak into credit risk with accounting but definitely not market risk. FRM/PRM is very attractive from a risk employer perspective but outside of risk, not many people have heard of it. and like what Tiberious said, CFA is hard because it is broad, but the exam is a breeze (3 multiple choice and the exam is sectioned) whereas the FRM is very specific and quantitative (4 multiple choice, topics aren't sectioned on the exam). some say on the Analyst forum that FRM 1 is as hard as CFA 2
Member
Jun 23, 2010
227 posts
62 upvotes
JIB9022 wrote: Tiberious
What don't you have; seems like you have everything from CPA,CFA, MBA, FRM;
I'm jealous
lol that's all of them and I'm very happy I have them but in terms of it helping me land more interviews, it hasn't helped much (yet). Maybe it will be a different story if the finance market ever picks back up again here.

Tiberious
Deal Addict
Feb 16, 2010
1088 posts
348 upvotes
Tiberious wrote: lol that's all of them and I'm very happy I have them but in terms of it helping me land more interviews, it hasn't helped much (yet). Maybe it will be a different story if the finance market ever picks back up again here.

Tiberious
interesting observation, is it because market is saturated with Acronyms ?
Jr. Member
Nov 21, 2009
194 posts
6 upvotes
DIEHARD005 wrote: For any FRM holders, has the designation added the value to your resume that you had hoped for? I would assume that this designation would only add value if working in an FI of some sort (Bank, Large Insurance Institution, Govt perhaps) but if I left the FI world and went into industry it would not be of much use.
What sort of jobs in the federal government would a CPA + FRM combo be sought after for?
Member
Jun 23, 2010
227 posts
62 upvotes
ironbrah wrote: interesting observation, is it because market is saturated with Acronyms ?
Market is saturated period. In my opinion the market is still not recovered to what it used to be before the 2008 market crash.

There are a lot of designations out there, I focused on the ones I think will be staples.
saitojohn wrote: What sort of jobs in the federal government would a CPA + FRM combo be sought after for?
Not federal but potentially positions within the OSC or OFSI...

Tiberious
Sr. Member
Jul 17, 2013
584 posts
94 upvotes
Greenwich, CT
JIB9022 wrote: Tiberious
What don't you have; seems like you have everything from CPA,CFA, MBA, FRM;
I'm jealous
Why? Having more than 2 designations is a sign of underachievement. The only reason you go for that 3rd/4th designation is because the 1st/2nd didn't help propel your career to where you wanted it to be.
Deal Addict
Feb 14, 2016
1754 posts
1177 upvotes
TranscendentExp wrote: Why? Having more than 2 designations is a sign of underachievement. The only reason you go for that 3rd/4th designation is because the 1st/2nd didn't help propel your career to where you wanted it to be.
I wasn't solely jealous of how many designations he had; I was just jealous he had drive to study for variety of area;
Regardless of the career progress; I respect him for having the drive and dedication for self improvement;
Member
Jun 23, 2010
227 posts
62 upvotes
TranscendentExp wrote: Why? Having more than 2 designations is a sign of underachievement. The only reason you go for that 3rd/4th designation is because the 1st/2nd didn't help propel your career to where you wanted it to be.
There are other reasons for continually improving yourself, one being a change in career but it is definitely not the sole reason and I have my own reasons for doing them early in my career.

To the OP, FRM is a very narrow designation that does limit you to opportunities in mainly risk management. If you want to stick in risk management and have a network, I would try to semi-secure a role before taking on such a specific exam like the FRM so you have one ready once you pass the tests.

Tiberious
Deal Addict
Apr 22, 2014
3097 posts
468 upvotes
Oshawa, ON
I don't advise unless your employer will pay for it AND says you must have it to progress.
I did it because it was quick one-off back in 2008 when the world was at peak-credential-fetish level when I graduated and given what my major was I wouldn't have to work too hard to study for it.
Looking back it was a waste of time and money and never got me anything more than a pat on the back from others that were progressing towards it.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 23, 2011
86 posts
39 upvotes
MISSISSAUGA
nevillek wrote: OP, how long did it take you to get your CFA?
My CMA took me 3 years from when I wrote the entrance exam to when I did the final board report - but after passing the exam I deferred starting the SLP for a sitting because I had just started my career with the bank.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 23, 2011
86 posts
39 upvotes
MISSISSAUGA
Tiberious wrote: As someone who has both, I would not say that the FRM is an easy, quick and painless test. The difference I find between the two is that the CFA exams were difficult because of the breadth of the tops, not the actual topics themselves. In contrast, the FRM exams don't cover as much topic but the amount of detail is what makes it difficult. Compared to the CFA, it is much more math intensive but nothing I would say is not doable. I found the FRM exams tougher than the actual CFA exams but your experience may be different.

As for work experience, they do ask for contacts but I think there was an option asking if you wanted them to be contacted. It's been a few years so my memory is fuzzy on this. I remember it went easier than I had expected.

Tiberious
Thanks for the info, very helpful. How much time did you put into studying and how were the materials you had?

Also in general, thanks to all for your responses. Very valuable responses on all sides of the spectrum which is exactly what I was looking for - thanks.
Member
Jun 23, 2010
227 posts
62 upvotes
DIEHARD005 wrote: Thanks for the info, very helpful. How much time did you put into studying and how were the materials you had?

Also in general, thanks to all for your responses. Very valuable responses on all sides of the spectrum which is exactly what I was looking for - thanks.
I probably spent about a month and a half on each exam doing about 2-3 hours a night. I took the level 1 and 2 exams separately. I never study off the actual books, I've always relied on the condensed study material providers. For FRM I used Bionic Turtle which was an amazing resource. The forums are active and questions are answered quickly but the reading material is very condensed and to the point so there were times I needed to do my own research online for some topics.

https://www.bionicturtle.com/


Tiberious

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