RENEW Strategies

RENEW Builds Ethiopia Financial Industry Experts

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Emily Ziethen
| April 29, 2016

We are excited to announce that RENEW’s analysts, Berkessa Behailu, Lulit Negash and Bethlehem Bogale, have completed the CFA Institute’s Claritas Program and are now official Claritas investment certificate holders.

According to the CFA Institute’s website, the Claritas Program “covers the essentials of finance, ethics, and investment roles, providing a clear understanding of the global investment industry.”* The program entails approximately 100 hours of self-guided studying and prep work before taking a two-hour certificate exam, all within a six month time period.

I discussed the exam experience with Berkessa, Betty and Lulit recently:

1) What was your motivation for registering for the Claritas Program and taking the investment certification exam?
Berke: I've worked in the investment and consulting world for about six years now. My background is in business administration. Though I went through the basic trainings of market research and investment analysis, my skills are mostly developed through on the job experience. I wanted to assess if how I look at markets and analyze investments is in accordance with best practices used in more developed markets. Registering for Claritas program was the easiest way to assess my skills.
Lulit: My motivation was to know more about the investment world and compare what is happening in the world with Ethiopia and how RENEW operates.
Betty: I registered for the program because I wanted to understand more about the investment industry.

2) Do you feel that you gained new knowledge from your prep work, and how is it applicable to your job at RENEW?
Berke: Yes. In addition to being a refresher for the courses I took in college on financial analysis, Claritas has taught me new concepts about investment management, risk assessment, quantitative analysis and valuation. This directly relates to my job at RENEW as an analyst. It has enabled me to be more focused, detailed oriented and analytic in the analysis process, and evaluate investment opportunities more rigorously. I’ve added new tools and instruments in my assessment and can use additional ratios and indicators. Furthermore, even though it’s not yet applicable in Ethiopia, I’ve gained new knowledge of how the securities market functions, including the different players and their roles. It was quite interesting.
Lulit: I have gained a good understanding of what investors look at while evaluating deals and what companies that are seeking investment should be doing in order to be successful. My work at RENEW is mainly focused on the portfolio companies, specifically growing the companies to generate returns for investors. So my studies supported how important it is for investment firms to help companies excel and generate positive returns for their investors.
Betty: Yes, I did gain new knowledge. The prep work helped me to better understand the standard way of reporting to investors and have a deeper knowledge of the ethical standards I need to uphold as an investment analyst.

3) What was the most difficult part in studying for the exam? Was it the self-guided studying or any of the industry concepts? And, how did you overcome those challenges?
Berke: Overall, it wasn’t that difficult. But learning about investment structures and markets, which are not yet developed in Ethiopia was a little confusing. But, exploring real-life examples and reading news articles and stories concerning the lessons showed me their practicality. I watch TV shows like Shark Tank and Suits; such shows help me to understand how the lessons in Claritas can be applied in real-life scenarios. Also, it’s been a few years since university, where I had to study for and take exams, so disciplining myself to concentrate and study for hours was a challenge. I was able to adapt after struggling for a while. In addition, I was loaded with work because we were going through a closing process for one of our recent investments. So, I took a few days off from work before my exam, and reviewed my studies and took mock exams. I’m happy it worked out well.
Lulit: I didn't face major challenges in my studies, but it has taught me how to better manage my time between work and studying; it’s about being disciplined. Since most of the exam subjects were related to investing, I was able to relate the concepts and compare them with what we are doing at RENEW. So, working in the investment industry helped me get a clear understanding of the subject matter.
Betty: Since I was already operating as a professional in the investment industry, there wasn't much challenge with the prep work. The studying was pretty much self-guided and the mock exams helped me in managing my time.

4) How do you plan to use your deeper understanding of financial industry essentials in the future?
Berke: I’ve already made a few developments in the way I build financial models, assess investment risks and calculate business valuations. I hope to continually improve my analysis skills and help our investors make well-informed investment decisions. Taking the Claritas program exam has taken me one step closer to achieving this goal.
Lulit: I am very interested to know more about the investment industry now that I’ve had this exposure. I plan to continuously read investment reports, take courses and also implement what I have learned in my work to see it in action.
Betty: I plan to use my knowledge by making sure we don't run into any conflicts of interest, while managing the clients and reporting financial statements in a standardized way.

We are incredibly proud of Berkessa, Betty and Lulit, the future of Ethiopia’s finance industry. They all worked diligently for their Claritas Program certificates, and they are already implementing their hard earned knowledge everyday at RENEW.

If you are interested in joining a team that strives to be their best selves and brings a diverse set of skills to the table, then be sure to reach out and inquire about three job openings in our Ethiopia office: junior project manager, junior analyst and counsel.

**CFA Institute: Claritas Program

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