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CFA Coverage

CFA® Coverage

About the CFA®

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) certification is a professional designation awarded by the CFA Institute. The professional investment community recognizes the value of the CFA certification to support hiring and promotion decisions. The CFA Institute awards the Chartered Financial Analyst® credential to professionals that have passed three levels of rigorous exams and have sufficient experience in the investment industry.

This credential is a signal of the quality and expertise of the professional and thus may uniquely qualify the candidate for particular positions and promotions. The organization also conducts professional development programs and publishes finance-related research The CFA exam is regarded as the toughest credentialing program for the investment profession. Fewer than one in five candidates who begin the three-part exam successfully complete it and earn the CFA charter. For more information on the CFA, please go to their webpage:

CFA® Coverage

One of the unique options of the Masters Economics Program is for students to take a sequence of Financial Economics electives. The curriculum of ECO 588 & ECO 589 is built around the CFA® candidate body of knowledge. The timing of the classes allows students to take the Level I Exam in June just after the conclusion of spring semester classes.

Please note:  while the sequential courses (ECO 588 & ECO 589) will assist students in preparing for the CFA® exams, that is only a subset of the overall content of the courses. Additionally, the overall scope of the Masters programs is broader and deeper. We aim to provide intensive graduate level education in economics that will, in part, help prepare you to pass the CFA® Exams*.

*The CFA Institute does not endorse the products or services offered by the University of Buffalo. CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are trademarks owned by the CFA Institute.

Learning Outcomes

  • The primary goal of both classes is to train students in the practical applications of financial economic principals and provide an understanding of industry practice as embodied in the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA®) Candidate Body of Knowledge.  The CFA® exam is viewed as an excellent method for applying theory to frequently arising investment decisions.
  • These courses are designed to bring together the student’s entire financial education and prepare them for their future roles as Securities Analysts, Portfolio Managers, and Financial Analysts in planning departments of various institutions.
  • Additional goals include: obtaining a superior knowledge of financial market and complementing other skills obtained in the Masters Economics program.

About The Sequence

ECO 588-589 curriculum covers investment analysis, portfolio management, financial statement analysis, corporate finance, economics, performance measurement and professional ethics. Please see the course descriptions below for further information.

ECO 588 Practicum in Financial Economics I

Instructions will focus on applications of the financial economics topics taught in the Masters Economics Programs such as security valuation and analysis methods, security selection, portfolio managements, and alternative investments strategies.

Topics include: Financial statement analysis, the valuation of equity and fixed income investments, quantitative methods, performance measurement and review of the CFA® Ethics and Professional Standards.  Student teams will write a comprehensive equity research report.

ECO 589 Practicum in Financial Economics II

Instruction will focus on applications of the financial economics topics taught in the Masters Economics Programs such as security valuation and analysis methods, security selection, portfolio managements, and alternative investment strategies. Prerequisites: ECO 588 & ECO 504

Topics include: Global asset allocation, sector allocation, security-market indexes, market, industry and company analysis, and portfolio management.  Students will individually build, track and maintain an investment portfolio on a market simulator.

 Objectives of this sequence are to prepare students for their future roles as security analysts, wealth advisors or portfolio managers and to take the Chartered Financial Analyst® exam.

About the Professor

Tom Labert, CFA, serves as the adjunct instructor for ECO 588 & ECO 589.  His investment career began when he joined Merrill Lynch in 1981.  Since then, he has attained the title of Vice President/Wealth Management Advisor. He is a Portfolio Manager in the Merrill Lynch Personal Investment Advisory Program. Tom also managed a Merrill Lynch branch office with over 15 investment professionals.  Tom earned his CFA designation in 1991. He has an undergraduate degree from Canisius College and an MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  In Spring 2007, Tom started teaching in the Masters Economics program.

Student Testimonials

“I almost knew nothing about financial industry when I plan to join the MA Economics program of UB one and half years ago although I had many years work experience. Like many students, I had no idea what I am going to do after graduation at that time. Right now, I passed the first two levels of CFA exam and I am quite sure my job title will be financial analyst. The most important decision I made was taking the courses of ECO588/589 two semesters in a row. Like no other courses, they build a bridge between academic and professional and shape my career path simultaneously. In these well-designed courses, I have chance to build my own portfolio, do a deep research for a company which chosen by myself as well as go through all the subjects covered by CFA exam. The professor even reviews the important indicators of global financial market at the beginning of every class. It is essential for me who plan to work in finance industry. ECO588/589 are tremendous courses, if you know how to enjoy them”.

—-Chunyang Zhu, MA 2009

“I took ECO 588 in Fall 2008. It is a very practical course just as the course title describes “Practicum Economics.” I not only learned financial theories, but also started understanding what was really going on in the market. This past year was very for the financial industry. So much bad news and furious criticism confused many about the market. Fortunately, our experienced instructor, Thomas Labert, always had answers. I really liked that the class utilized stock simulation software.  I learned to pick and buy stocks, bonds, and even options according to various price multipliers and different strategies.  These processes kept me updated with financial markets and utilized my academic knowledge of economics in real world situations. Now I have my own brokerage account, and my portfolio performance has been pretty good so far.  Having taken ECO 588, I become more passionate about financial products and set my career path in financial industry. I sat in several classes of ECO 599 and was a TA for the course. This course is built for CFA exam preparation. I would like to recommend the course for students who want to sit for CFA exam.  Because of the Instructor Tom’s support, I passed CFA level II exam this year.

—–Beili Han, MS 2009

“ECO 588 is if you want to learn something very practical in financial industry, you should choose Professor Tom Labert’s class. He had almost thirty year experience in financial field and has a very successful career in Merrill Lynch. I learned how to build up a portfolio, how to buy bonds and how to get useful information. Presentations might be the most exciting part of the class. Everyone did a great job in the presentations. It is very interesting and useful. A stock simulation competition is a really fun game. You will feel the anxiety when your portfolio’s performance ranked on the bottom. It is really like trading a real stock since you never want to lose. I like his class and it was very useful. ECO 589 is a class built to help you prepare CFA Exams. Tom is a CFA. He knows almost everything about the exam, so you should definitely take it if you plan to have the CFA designation. Most of my classmates who took Tom’s class passed the CFA exam. I know three people from Tom’s class even passed CFA Level II exam. Also, a lot of people who didn’t take the class failed. So, you can see the worth of the class.

It will also help your English if you are an international student”.

—–Weibo Si, MA 2009