Chemical engineer J.J. Zhang, who’s also an amateur adviser in the U.S., has done research into the different certifications advisors have and the knowledge they actually possess.
He’s not very impressed.
Zhang provides readers of Marketwatch a total of 11 questions that appear in the Series 65 exam in the U.S. Here’s an example.
The total return of an investment includes each of the following elements except:
c) Appreciation or depreciation
For the average person on the street it might seem like a difficult question to answer but for an advisor who’s intent on making a career of advising people on their investments, this is hardly a question you’d see on the CFA exam.
Zhang seems to argue that a client who can pass his test can in fact dispense with their advisor. Readers of the article are quick to disagree.
“The writer [Zhang] hasn't a clue about becoming a Financial Advisor,” wrote Ed Moore. “In my firm, you need a Series 7, a Series 66 AND a Health/Life/Variable Annuity State exam (in FL it's called the 2-15 Exam). You then must be a Financial Professional for 3 years before they allow you to call yourself a Financial Advisor. J.J. Zhang needs to stick to being a chemical engineer.”