The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute, the global association of investment professionals, has added blockchain and digital currency courses to its curriculum.

The CFA credential is considered one of the top accreditations for investment managers and advisors in 65 countries, with over 18,000 Canadians already holding the qualification.

For Canadian investors, it means more expert advice will be available on blockchain and digital currency opportunities from qualified investment advisors.

Fintech in investment management

After “surging” interest in blockchain technologies and digital currencies was identified by the CFA amongst its industry participants and focus groups, the CFA has responded with the new curriculum.

As of 2019, the CFA program will include a chapter on Fintech in Investment Management and specific topics on digital currencies and blockchain. The dedicated curriculum will cover academic theory, current industry practice, and ethical and professional standards. Other fintech topics will include artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, big data, and automated trading.

“There’s been a lag, where financial professionals aren’t being taught what happens in the real world. This is a great sign that fintech is gathering steam,” said Neville Jones, chief investment officer of Vancouver-based Wealthbar in an interview with The Globe and Mail. Jones holds a CFA designation and explained how he sees blockchain as having the potential to improve financial infrastructures.

“Understanding how fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrencies all work, along with their applications, would be a great tool set for any finance professional,” said Jones.

Officially a new asset class

The addition by the CFA adds weight to the argument that digital currencies are becoming a mainstream asset class.

“This is almost the CFA Institute saying that cryptocurrencies are now officially a new asset class, like infrastructure or commodities,“ said Martin Lalonde, portfolio manager and president of Quebec-based Rivemont Investments which launched Canada’s first digital currency investment fund. Lalonde believes that all investment portfolios could contain digital currencies in the next four to five years.

The CFA Institute’s step to meet market demand by educating investment managers and advisors on new fintech developments mirrors steps by other key organizations. These organizations share a common goal to improve knowledge, understanding, and the quality of advice available on digital currencies and blockchain technologies.

Canadian regulators have also developed comprehensive investor education and protection campaigns in response to the burgeoning sector.

 

Image Credit: CFA Institute logo

 

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