The CFA 2006 Annual Report is Pretty Poopy

by Johnny Debacle

The CFA Institute releases an annual report each year documenting their results and accomplishments.

You would think that an organization whose sole raison d’etre is to certify industry standards both in analysis and presentation would be especially attuned to how they present their annual report and the relevance of the content inside. But then, thinking is not the basis for attaining your CFA (rote memorization is).

Every single one of the CFA Institute’s charts starts on the left with the most recent financial year and ends with the earliest financial year, the opposite of what any reader would expect.

We read left to right. So do most human beings. Almost every chart in the history of mankind goes left to right, starting with the earliest date on the left ending with the latest date on the right. Then why is it that most companies persist in the illogical layout of putting their most recent financial year on the far left? And why does the CFA use that standard when they exist only to improve financial standards? What exactly are they paying their president $900,000 to do?

Why does the annual report show pictures of charterholders describing what their CFA means to them while doing something entirely unrelated to finance, like playing a guitar or gripping their Nikon camera? Is this a Lifetime channel brochure or some shit? I thought the whole point of becoming a CFA charterholder was to make more bank? Why not show CFA charterholders making it rain at Scores? Isn’t that why we fight?

If a professional financial analyst was reading through the annual report of a company, and were treated to a picture of the CEO playing the drums and the CFO wearing a captain’s hat on on his schooner, what conclusion should they draw from that about the quality of the company’s management? Is that a firm in which to invest? I’m sure there is some LoS which covered that.

Recommendation: Don’t worry candidates and charterholders, you are spending your time wisely, trust us. Once you get your CFA, you will be strumming your guitar and taking pictures all day long.

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