The Certified Fund Specialist (CFS)
The Institute of Business & Finance (IBF) has been educating the financial services industry since 1988.
About The Designation
The Certified Fund Specialist (CFS) designation was begun in 1988. Over thirteen thousand members of the financial services community have gone through the program. The designation is the oldest designation in the mutual funds industry.
Course of study
Overview and Tax Strategies
There is more to this investment than meets the eye. Aspects of mutual funds that are often forgotten turn something that appears simple into something to be marveled. Advisors attract more clients if they incorporate ideas not discussed by other brokers.
- Categories, characteristics, features, and after-tax returns
- Distributions, returns, tracking expenses, and exchanges
- Turnover, transaction costs, size, and cash flow
- Alpha, beta, standard deviation, and mean regression
- Dates, declarations, retirement plans, and "catch-up"
Specialization targets specific concerns and takes portfolio construction to a different level.
- Global and emerging markets, hybrids, and sectors
- Forecasting, "fed watching," observations, and red flags
- Funds vs. individual securities vs. derivatives
- Growth, value, GARP, blending styles, and management
Surprisingly, the one investment people feel comfortable with is usually excluded from asset allocation. Although real estate investing involves special risk (such as the potential for illiquidity), diversifying your portfolio to include real estate beyond the personal residence is easy and prudent. Variation within the category can be easily obtained by sector, size, or region.
- Real estate growth, sectors, characteristics, and risks
- History, current trends, and management ownership
- Blue-chip, bond-proxy, growth, and "turnaround" REITs
- Value creation, appreciation, and acceptable debt levels
- Payout ratios
Analysis and Evaluation
Advisory services have proprietary systems that help select investment categories as well as specific investment products. Some aspects are insightful and meaningful, others have little value, create a false sense of security, and do not stand up to the test of time.
- Style boxes, sector weightings, and peer groups
- Chasing returns and evaluating future risks
Selection, monitoring, and portfolio construction take on a new perspective when the markets are experiencing extremes. Limitless sources make recommendations, but the decision-making process of what to do during bear markets is usually omitted.
- Warning signs and when to consider selling
- Calm during downturns plus bull market investing
- Morningstar portfolios and the selection process
Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT)
Since the early 2000s, "asset allocation" has become the catch phrase of the financial community, yet few understand the workings or limitations of MPT. When properly described and implemented, MPT is truly a blend of both science and art.
- Multiple-asset behavior and the three-step approach
- Imperfectly correlated assets and the efficient frontier
- Real-world portfolios, "experts," and risk aversion myopia
- Optimal, sub-optimal, and rebalanced portfolios
- Not quite a random walk, what it all means, and post-MPT