CFA Institute Expands Presence in China and India, Reinforces Commitment to Global Investment Profession

New offices in Beijing and Mumbai will support growing member and candidate base in Asia Pacific and broaden organization's global footprint

NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2015 /CNW/ - CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals that sets the highest standards for education, ethics and professionalism, announces the opening of new offices in China and India. The establishment of a presence in these two markets demonstrates strong support for the region's growing number of members and candidates and allows for renewed focus on advocacy efforts to actively shape public policy that strengthens investor confidence and market integrity.

"This important milestone in the history of CFA Institute underscores our commitment to the Asia Pacific region and to the global investment profession," said Paul Smith, CFA, president and CEO of CFA Institute. "The new offices in Beijing and Mumbai demonstrate the organization's focus on broadening its global footprint and strengthening its position as a leading steward of the global financial markets. This expansion is part of our promise to deliver service and value to our members and candidates in their localities and to provide them with relevant support to succeed in the investment industry in a region of major importance for us."

China and India are key growth markets for CFA Institute; nearly half of CFA Program candidates come from Asia Pacific. Currently there are 1,400 CFA charterholders in India and more than 3,000 in China. Last year, about 15,000 people in India and more than 36,000 in China sat for the CFA examinations. The CFA charter is the most respected professional qualification in the global investment industry.

"Through our portfolio of educational programs, the CFA Program, CIPM, and the Claritas Investment Certificate, we want to work with financial authorities, regulators, and employers in China and India to build a world-class investment profession," continued Mr. Smith. "The opening of our new offices comes at a critical time amid China's internationalization and India's new phase of economic reforms. In the coming months we will work with industry bodies to develop the investment profession as a vital piece of infrastructure essential for the rapid development of these markets envisaged by the rest of the world."

Mr. Smith, who retains his Asia-Pacific management role in addition to his duties as president and CEO, has led the expansion into China and India since he joined CFA Institute as managing director for Asia Pacific in 2012. The teams in Beijing and Mumbai will be led by country heads L J Jia and Vidhu Shekhar, CFA, respectively, who report to Mr. Smith.

L J Jia, China country head, will lead the China office in developing governmental relationships and educational content, and will support industry, advocacy, and regulatory outreach. Mr. Jia most recently held the position of General Manager, Public Policy and Government Affairs of eBay, Greater China, based in Beijing. Prior to this, he worked for Brown Brothers Harriman & Company as Senior Vice President and also spent 20 years with American Express where he held senior positions of Corporate Vice President and China CEO, Hong Kong and Shanghai;  Director and China Chief Representative in Beijing.

Vidhu Shekhar, CFA, India country head, has been instrumental in the establishment of the India office. Mr. Shekhar is an investment professional with over 25 years of industry experience in India and internationally, having held roles at the National Stock Exchange of India, where he was Vice President, New Products and Business Excellence, IDBI Capital Markets where he was Senior Vice President, and E*Trade Systems India Limited, where he was Managing Director.

"As the global footprint of CFA Institute becomes deeper and broader, so must our global relevance," said Aaron Low, CFA, chair of the Board of Governors. "More than ever before, we firmly believe that our persistence in investing in and building our profession is delivering benefits to all and will do so for many years to come. By making sure we are present in key markets like China and India, CFA Institute will continue to play a leading role as a force for good in the revitalization of our industry."

CFA Institute is present across the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific. Its global operations center is based in Charlottesville, Virginia, with further offices in New York City, London, Brussels, Hong Kong, and now Beijing and Mumbai.

In addition, the Claritas Investment Certificate Program, the organization's newest educational program, has received approval to be offered in China. The Claritas Program covers the essentials of finance, ethics, and investment roles, providing a clear understanding of the global investment industry. The self-study program can benefit anyone working in a financial services organization, from client services to compliance; from human resources to IT; from sales and marketing to legal services.

About CFA Institute

CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organization is a champion for ethical behavior in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. The end goal is to create an environment where investors' interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. CFA Institute has more than 128,000 members, including 121,000 CFA charterholders, in 147 countries and territories and 144 member societies. For more information, visit www.cfainstitute.org.

SOURCE CFA Institute

For further information: J.D. McCartney, Director, External Communications, + 1 212-418-6889, jd.mccartney@cfainstitute.org; Jannine Rane, FleishmanHillard, 416 645 3662, jannine.rane@fleishman.ca

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