Playing with Clay in the Ivory Tower
2011年 09月 12日

Because of Construction

New York, subway stations have bigger mice preparing for the coming severe winter. MTA allows those mice to live on the rails comfortably by not using A/C and making the station warmer than needed. Nonetheless, the hot days have gone. Recently people who were waiting for the train to come in front of the gate until the train actually comes into the station are not standing there; instead they wait at the platform. Some people here also started to wear long sleeves after hot and sunny Labor Day weekend while others keep wearing T-shirts. After the weekend, consecutively chilly rain drops on the head of people, and they need to use an umbrella in the end. Amazingly people here do not use an umbrella until the last minute even if it is raining relatively hard. But the cold air in fall here does now allow people to do so any longer. Most of people started to realize that they would not see summer for many months although subway singers and musicians do not know the concept of season except for the hell summer since they live underground.

MTA allows people to travel anywhere with only $2.50 to the extent there is a railroad. People can meet up with friends at Queens like Jamaica which is close to JFK airport and go to the Bronx where the Yankee stadium is with only $2.50. This cheap price allows people who are living far away from Manhattan to come to work every day. On the other hand, it makes harder for MTA to investing in the renovation of Fulton Street and construction 2nd Avenue line faster. People are supposed to push awkward spiral spring every time they come in and out the station. People are supposed to wait for never-coming trains at stations. It never comes seriously. Despite the effort made by MTA, people do not know there is a schedule for each line. Occasionally they are precise, which makes people miss the last train because they expect those trains to come much later than the planned time on schedule. The important thing is that New Yorkers are much more patient than expected. They can wait for never-coming trains at subway stations forever unlike people in Tokyo who always rush into the train which already has twice as many people as its capacity.

It is Friday here in NY. People started to pack and are ready to leave for their home early. Some may say TGIF (Thank God It's Friday). People are allowed to leave early on Friday for some reason. In subway stations, NY Police are on high alert for the threat of terrorism targeting 10-year anniversary. Police officers are everywhere and checking backpacks of passengers. It seems that my backpack is fancy enough to avoid such police search. People are living peacefully in New York. Now I am part of it. It is completely different from the image I had before I came here. Even in Harlem, people can walk around without too strong cautions. Things happen everywhere, not only in Harlem. It is 1 year since I came to the US. Nothing special happened, but it has not been that boring. I have expanded my world to some extent like everybody who come to this city with some hope and anxiety.

People are having apples in the train. I cannot do that because of my allergy to some fruits including peach, cherry and apple. I have been suffering from these types of allergy for a long time. Asthma and Bronchitis give me hard time. In the developing area of the world, too many people are suffering from these type of allergies thought the medication are well developed. In Japan, 40-60 years ago, during the economic expansion of Japan, there were a lot of pollution which seriously affected humans body. Nowadays, Japan has recovered its clean air in Tokyo and other metropolitan areas to some extent by imposing significant penalty to the drivers. In other developing countries, such as Asian, Latin American and Africa, air pollution is terrible. However, people do not realize until it becomes more serious since their economy is still expanding at high speed. People would not care about the pollution by closing eyes on those dirty aspects. The Government would not care about them until people are seriously affected by those and it deserves to be taken care of under some governments' policies. The risk is not regarded as risk until people realize that risk is not worth to take.
Central Park, New York

# by ivory_tower_ny | 2011-09-12 15:15 | NY
2011年 08月 22日

CFA Level 3 Result

先週16日にCFAの結果発表があり、Passという結果を受け取りました。Level3は2年かけて、という状態でしたので、喜びよりも、自分に対してかけたプレッシャーからの解放という感覚が強かったように思います。得点率も、40/60/80概算で、Essay60%、Item Setが72%、全体としては66%程度でした。学習の内容、スケジュール管理に改善する余地があったかと言われますと、それはもちろんあった、ということになりますが、結果を見た限りでは、試験をPassするための勉強としては十分であったと言えます。CFAに関しては、日本語で入手できる情報が限られていますから、今後受ける人の役に立つかも知れませんので、一応記録を残しておきたいと思います。先ず、私がCFAの勉強を始めたのは、4年前の話です。2008年にLevel1、2009年にLevel2、2010年と2011年にLevel3を受けました。バックグラウンドは金融機関ではなく、いわゆる日本の公認会計士と呼ばれる監査をする集団の一員です。英語に関しては、業務で多少は使っていましたが、留学経験などはありません。従って、大学受験時代の勉強+日本国内での仕事で積み重ねた語彙が基礎です。2007年に勉強を始めた時点で、TOEICが850、2008年のLevel1を受ける頃はTOEIC940でした。その後は英語の試験等を受けていないので、スコアのアップデートはありません。現在は海外オフィス勤務ですが、英語の読み書きは未だに苦労します。

Level1を受験した目的は、先ずFinance, Investmentというものが、自分の業務に多少関係があったこと、それから英語力の補完(これは仕事、趣味かねて)、先輩にCFAホルダーがいたこと、などが挙げられます。公認会計士の修了試験(昔の3次試験)が2007年で、その勉強をあまりせずにLevel1のテキストを読んでいた気がします。この頃は、分野によっては1ページに知らない英単語が20個ぐらいあったかも知れません。英語の勉強だと思って、我慢して全て辞書を引きました。会計士の試験などで、Corporate Financeなどはある程度かじっていたこと、Accountingのパートに関しては得点源になったことから、英語以外の面での苦労は無かったものと思われます。ちなみにSchweserなどの参考書は買っていません。険しい山を登った方が英語力は伸びるだろうという方針で、CFAIから送られてくる、いわゆるCurriculumという分厚いテキストの山をひたすら読みました。2回ほど読んで、EOC(End Of Chapter)の問題を2回ぐらい解いて、試験会場に向かっていました。ただ全てを理解していた訳でもなく、やり残しも沢山ありました。時間的な制約(多くの日本人は英語力の問題から、CFAIのテキストを全部2回読む、ということをするとこうなると思います)から、ノートなどは一切作成していません。一応解いたあと復習をする、という繰り返しの後で試験を受けましたが、AccountingやCFといった得点源のおかげで、苦手分野を克服することなくLevel2に進んだ、という感じです。それからEthicsは何故かいつも高得点が取れます。Level1からLevel3まで、毎回70%<で、意外とこの辺が苦手分野の補完をしてくれているのかも知れません。

Level2に進んだ後も、基本的にはLevel1と同様の方針です。CFAIから送られてきたテキストを2回読み、EOCを解く、という点では変わりません。またノートを作成する余裕は、ここでもありませんでした。私はLevel2からCFA研究会という勉強会に参加しました。ここではSchweserを基本的に使っていたので、一応テキストを買いました。ただ自分での勉強では、CFAIのテキストを使いました。英語力の強化、という目的と、昔からあまり予備校のようなものには頼りたくない、という方針があったので、分厚いテキストをいつも通勤時間に読んでいた記憶があります。一度声に出しながら読んでいると、電車の中で隣のおっさんに「ちょっとそれ止めてくんねえかな」と文句を言われることもありました(危機意識を持ちながら真面目に勉強する若者の成長を阻害する既得権益層による攻撃と捉えます。)。Level2でも基本的にコアな科目はAccountingとEquityなどでしたので、普段財務諸表などの数字をいじっている会計士には比較的馴染みのあるものです。一方でFixed IncomeやDerivativeなどは、テキストを一度読んだだけで、深い理解をすることはなかったように思います。結果として、スコアにもそれが現れます。そしてまた、Level3ではFixed IncomeやDerivativeの理解なくして得点を稼ぐことは出来ない、という事実を知り後悔することになった訳です。Level2の受験後は、これは受からないだろうな~、という感じでしたが、何とかPassしていました。時間的な制約の中で、得意科目があったことなどが有利に働いたのかも知れません。

Level3については、2回目の受験の直後に一度少し書きました。1回目の受験は、様々な要因により、あっさりと敗退しました。多くの問題を白紙で出したAMのスコアは殆ど<50%でBand4でした。PMは勉強した分野は比較的点がとれていましたが、全体での得点率は50+%ぐらいかも知れません。Level3も当初の方針としては、CFAIのテキストを読み、EOCを解いて試験に臨む、というスタンスでした。1回目の時は、単に時間が足りなかっただけだと感じていたのですが、2回目になり、少し考え方を改めました。これは、単にテキストを読んでEOCを解くだけで試験を受ける、というのではなく、より形式の近いCFAIの過去問やSchweserのPractice Examを中心に学習するということです。今思えば当たり前のことのように感じるのですが、私はLevel1とLevel2では、CFAIのテキストにあるEOC以外の問題は一切解いていませんでしたので、過去問やPractice Examなどは見ることも無かったという背景もあります。Level3のEssayに関しては、問題形式への慣れ、それから英語でどの程度書くのか、といったことを早い段階から知るためにも、1回目の受験の際には、テキストを一度読み終えたあたりで過去問等に触れておくべきであったと思います。2回目の受験の時には、時間的にかなり厳しかったのですが、EOCを解くことを諦め、過去問とPractice Examを優先して学習することで、かなり効率が上がったように感じます。EOCやテキストにある例題なども捨てがたいのですが、本当に必要と思った問題に赤いふせんを貼り付けて、試験前の2~3日で読み返すということぐらいで、基本的には上述の過去問やPractice Examを読み返していました。それから、Level1,2と3の1回目の受験ではすることがなかったノートの作成に取り組みました。小さいノートパッドで5冊程度(文字が大きいので、小さくすれば半分以下だと思います)でしたが、記憶の抜け落ちを防ぐという有効な手段であったと感じます。

なぜ会計士なのに、USCPAではなく、CFAなのかという問いに対しては、「私は大学を卒業していないから、USCPAはそもそも受ける資格がありません。」と回答し、自分の会計などへの興味の無さをあまり露呈させないようにする戦略をとっています。ちなみにCFAに関しては、大学を卒業していない場合でも、業務内容によっては受験資格を得ることが出来ます(CFA Level1受験前にCFAI確認済み)。

Congratulations. I am very pleased to inform you that you passed the June 2011 Level III CFA exam. You are one step closer to achieving your goal of earning the globally respected CFA charter.

51% of candidates passed the June 2011 Level III CFA exam. Your detailed exam results, including a matrix outlining your strengths and weaknesses, are in the table below.

The three columns on the right are marked with asterisks to indicate your performance on each topic area.

Q#TopicMax Pts<=50%51%-70%>70%
1Portfolio Management - Individual15*--
2Portfolio Management - Individual23-*-
3Portfolio Management - Institutional26--*
5Portfolio Management - Asset Allocation20*--
6Fixed Income Investments19--*
7Equity Investments22-*-
8Portfolio Management - Risk Management16*--
9Portfolio Management – Performance Eval.16*--
Item Set
Q#TopicMax Pts<=50%51%-70%>70%
-Alternative Investments18*--
-Equity Investments18--*
-Ethical & Professional Standards36--*
-Fixed Income Investments36--*
-Portfolio Management - Execution18--*
-Portfolio Management - Individual18*--
-Portfolio Management - Risk Management18--*


Machu Picchu, Peru

# by ivory_tower_ny | 2011-08-22 01:57 | CFA
2011年 08月 09日

Stand clear of the closing doors please.

On 6th Avenue, while I was having halal food from a street vendor, a guy talked to and told me that he found a job today but he has not received the first pay check. Unfortunately I am smart enough to understand that he requires me to give him some money to get the same food. He continued his speech in front of me and I understood that he did not give up finding a job for 8 months. I also did not give up achieving something for more than 2 years. It was not that easy and not only once. And I ignored him while he kept talking. He must be used to a person who just ignores him. He walked to other people and did the same thing. He got small amount of money from kind girls. The world seems like that. The world gives us some difficulties. The guy is obviously lying to get a food. I also lied to do something in front of people. When facing difficulties, people are challenged by the integrity, by the nature, by the universe and by themselves.

I have finished that halal food and he may get one in the end. We are in New York and we are always struggling to get something. Sometimes we can get, sometimes not. I am as weak as that guy. Almost the same perhaps. I am not that tough. Another guy talked to me. "1 dollar please. 1 dollar." If he can get 1 dollar from me, it is the easiest job in this world. Even easier than the guy who gave me a speech. I ignored that guy to show some respect to the first guy. People are supposed to work to sustain their life, but are not supposed to cheat others. They may not have the chance to get a job. But I don't know what to say. Isn't it the work of the US government? I am not American, but I am paying a lot of tax to this country and city. I assume it is enough. The first guy talked to me again. He said he got 3 dollar from people around. He asked me to give him a dollar so that he can get the food, and I ignored him again. I could be like him tomorrow. So I do not help him to try not to be like him.

This is the Pelhem Bay Park Bound 6 local train. The next stop is 68th street Hunter College. Stand clear of the closing doors please...

On the subway, there are some people who shows serious faces as if they are about to kill somebody. Those people actually do not kill others but rather help them to open the door closing, or they let elderly have seats by calmly standing up. On the other hand, a person next to me who seems innocent gives me some pressure by her big ass. She may not know that I am supporting my body by grabbing the pole in the middle of the train not to let my body touch her lap. And it seems I am big enough to be patient with such situations and my arm is tough enough to support my weight while the train passes a few stations. Besides, her ass was big enough to occupy the seats which are normally used by two people.

There is a singer who sings "stand by me" on the subway. I have never paid even pennies to his song although he sings well. I feel a little relieved whenever I see him on the train since I can confirm that he is still vigorous. How could he survive in that way? There may be somebody who always support him on the train. Whereas almost everyone except for MTA employees spends most of their life above ground, that guys who is always singing stand-by-me on the train spends most of his time underground. Sometimes the country where the subway runs becomes Mexico because of the songs from a band with some music instruments. Or we can travel even other countries with the sound of the music instruments I have never seen. Where are they from? I don't have courage to motivate myself to give some fee to them and ask some questions.

This is the Pelhem Bay Park Bound 6 local train. The next stop is 103rd street station. Stand clear of the closing doors please...

Paracas, Peru

# by ivory_tower_ny | 2011-08-09 15:05 | NY
2011年 07月 26日

Whereabouts of Japanese as a language

Staying at some hotels in Peru makes me realize something about foreign languages. Some elevators in the hotel or the menu in the restaurants have Japanese ones. This could be considered as an evidence that Japanese people used to be one of the majority of travelers to that country. Or even now, Japanese occupies some percentage of the world travelers though they are losing the market share. Nowadays, other Asian people are more popular as travelers. The destination countries of the trip would not welcome Japanese as much as before since they spend less. And those Asian countries are getting richer at a surprising pace, it is no wonder that people welcome those new rich people as guests. Japanese, as a language, will not disappear from the world since still more than 100million people are speaking, but as a common language, Japanese is obviously losing its position. The sign on the elevator buttons made me feel that Japanese is like a fossil. Nonetheless, simultaneously I felt that those Japanese words used there do not mean anything but just a code for direction. As a language which tells the country's history and culture, it is not that important to be popular in the world. Most of English speakers in the world may not know about the UK, the US and its history. But it is used as a communication tool of people.

Peruvian speaks Spanish as first language, which was brought by Spanish people who made Peru a colony. People in the city do not speak English even as their second language, which makes my travel tougher. A guide said most of travelers are from the U.S., and other popular country is Germany. They know they need to speak English for them though some Americans understand Spanish, but still their English is not acceptable like Japanese people in Japan. However, as Latin American people speak Spanish, they may not have to worry about English too much. Currently, the majority of travelers are the U.S. people, but it would change to Spanish speakers like Mexican and other Latin American people since their economy is getting richer. English would not keep its the most popular language position in the future if the wealth keeps transferring to other countries from the UK and the US. Japanese travel guide books may be the best in the world in terms of the amount of information. This is maybe because of the language barrier and those books protect Japanese travelers from unfamiliar places. This is developed by Japanese travel agency or the map companies. Their business does not start until Japanese people travel around the world, and they may have made a lot of efforts to improve the guide books. Still there is a space to improve it, but it is already good enough.

In New York, there is something terrible under the ground. It is "SUBWAY". It is hotter than outside, though the temperature outside is like 35-38 degrees. I would say it is higher than 45 degrees. The purpose of talking about New York subway is not to complain about how terrible it is, but the language used there. There are 5 languages used in the directions, alerts etc from MTA (the company who operates subway and other train systems). English comes first, and Spanish second. Others include Mandarin, Korean and Russian. There is no Japanese signs usually though every once in a while we see it somewhere. Japanese population in New York city is around 60,000, which is less than 1% of the city's population. There are a lot of Asian people in this city, but mainly Chinese and Korean people as we could expect from the existence of China town and Korean town. It is said Chinese people are more family-oriented than Japanese people. Japanese people are company-oriented on the other hand. I may not be able to generalize it, but the existence of China town in the world support that assumption. Of course, historically Chinese immigrants had tough time outside the country, which might have made their connection stronger.


Japanese people use 4 ways to write something. Kanji, hiragana, katakana and alphabet. Kanji came from the continent in the ancient past. We share it with Chinese speakers and Korean speakers. The sound is different from those of them, but still we can see similarity. Hiragana was developed by women writers in the past. Katakana was used as official language with Kanji. And alphabet is started to be used often, mainly after the world war II, when the U.S. governed Japan. I assume it would not disappear from the world since Japanese people are reluctant to learn different languages. They are reluctant not because they are stupid, but because the Japan's economy is big enough for most of Japanese people. After graduating from the university, most of people have been hired by Japanese domestic companies. They did not need to speak other languages. Now they are shifting the location of company's operation to overseas. And people started to learn English and other languages accordingly. Still Japanese economy is big enough for them, but it does not stand without other countries. Someday, Japanese people may speak English much better than now because of the needs.



# by ivory_tower_ny | 2011-07-26 14:51 | Clay
2011年 06月 06日

CFA Level 3

ニューヨークはシェラトンホテルにて、CFA Level 3の試験を受けてきました。昨年の敗戦を生かして、と行きたいところではありましたが、1月から2月にかけて勉強時間が確保できなかったことが影響し、最後はやろうと考えていた勉強をすべて終えることが出来ないまま試験に臨みました。AMは案の定時間が足りず、最後の1問を残して終了、PMは去年より難しく感じ、手ごたえのないまま終了、といった感じです。結果は8月の中旬あたりに発表であったと思います。去年が酷かったので、正直どの程度であれば受かるのか、という感覚はありません。従い、すごい運が良ければ受かるかも知れない、といった感想です。今しばらくは試験勉強からの解放感を味わいつつ、睡眠不足から来る頭痛、あるいは長時間椅子に座り続けたことによる腰痛などのリハビリに費やすことになりそうです。


8月: 敗戦
9月: 中旬渡米。研修&休暇の日々。仮住まいのため、CFAの申し込みは先送り。NYを知るために、色々と散策に出かける。勉強時間0。
10月: 研修が終わり、中旬あたりから仕事開始。新しい環境に溶け込むこと、それからアパートメント探しでほぼ土日を消費。勉強時間0。
11月: 新居に入居。ようやくCFAの試験の申し込み。CFA Curriculumを少しだけ読み始める。1日1時間程度。昨年のCurriculumを持ってきていたので、その書き込みを書き写す等の作業。さすがに2度目なので、理解度、読み進める速度は去年より高い。とは言いながらも、平日0~2時間、週末は時々数時間読む程度。
12月: 仕事の繁忙の開始。最初のうちは勉強時間を確保するも、新しい仕事への対応等、余裕を徐々に失い、勉強は先送りに。
1月: 勉強時間0。
2月: 勉強時間0。
3月: ようやく仕事が少し緩和される。テキストの読み込みの再開。(Ethics, GIPSは後回し。全てのEOCも後回し。)平日は週に3日程度1日1~2時間勉強。土日は合計で6~10時間程度。
4月: 第2週あたりでテキストを読み終わり、CFAIのWebの過去問(2007-2010)をダウンロードし読み始める。いい加減勉強が間に合わないことに気づき、EOCを1から解くことは諦める。平日2時間、土日は合計で10時間程度。4月の後半からSchweserのPractice Exam(2010年からの使い回し(ちなみに未使用))のVolume1&2のAM Session(Essay)(合計6セット)を通勤の地下鉄の中でこつこつ解き、自宅などで復習。
5月: 第1週あたりにAM Sessionが解き終わり、第2週からPM Session(Multiple Choice)を週に3セットで、翌週に終了。Practice Examの出来は60%~70%程度。この復習の際にノート作成。ただし時間がかかり、EOCは本当に必要と思ったものだけ(2011年に新たに追加された項目: EconomicsのEquity Valuation, GIPSと自分の苦手分野(Fixed Income, Commodityなど))。平日は1日3~4時間、週末は1日10時間程度。5月中旬以降から、22時就寝、3時起床というライフサイクル。
6月第1週: 一定の勉強をしたので、最後はそれまでに解いたCFAIの過去問とSchweserのPractice Exam、それから勉強過程で作成したノートを読み返す程度。
6月4日: 朝5:30に起きて、ノートをざっと見ながら支度。7:40に会場であるシェラトンホテルに到着。東京で受験した頃に比べ、CFAIのオペレーションがはるかにしっかりしているという印象。AMはやや緊張。試験開始直後は、5分程度かけて問題を一通り見通し、自信のありそうな問題から解くことに決定。時間の管理をしつつも、どうしても時間の貯金を作ることが出来ず、結果最後の1問は解く時間なし。PMは、もう少しで解放されるという気持ちで臨んだため、やや集中力を欠くものの、緊張はなし。Ethicsから解き始めるが、集中力を欠いていたため、その英語の長文に苦悩する。途中解けない問題で、時間を消費し焦るも、割り切って飛ばし最後まで辿り着き、20分程度の時間を余らせてその問題に戻る。しかし結局解けず、最後はPure Guessにて終了。





# by ivory_tower_ny | 2011-06-06 11:43 | CFA