Investments class accepted into certificate program

Henderson State University’s Beginning Investments class has been accepted into the CFA Institute Claritas Investment Certificate Academic Program. This status is granted to institutions with one or more courses that incorporate the Claritas program, providing students with a clear understanding of the financial services industry, ethics, and roles and responsibilities.

Universities have varying degrees of perceived quality, said Dr. Charles Blaylock, associate professor of finance.

“Meeting the requirements of an outside standard-setting body such as the CFA Institute provides strong credibility,” he said. “In this case, it assures students and other HSU stakeholders that this course meets the same set of standards as similarly approved courses offered by any other university.”

The program also offers a limited number of scholarships that allow recipients to take the Claritas Investment Certificate exam at a reduced fee.

Blaylock’s Beginning Investments class is one of two new electives open to all students. “The course is unique because it is a prerequisite to a lab where students can manage the Ross Whipple Student Managed Investment fund, which is a real $400,000 portfolio,” Blaylock said.

“Previously, access to the fund was restricted to those students taking upper level investment courses with quite a few prerequisites,” he said. “Now, students of any major can help us make real investment decisions after taking this class.”

By presenting a broad overview of investments and the investments industry, the course offers a “perfect taste” of investments without the rigor and depth of upper level investments classes,” Blaylock said. Topics range from stocks and bonds to alternative investments, and the class also serves as an introduction to the basic business areas of economics, accounting, and statistics.

The course prepares students to take the Claritas exam. The exam is not a requirement, but students are encouraged to take it. The certificate was designed to demonstrate that a certain level of basic investment knowledge has been obtained, Blaylock said.

“As such, it mainly benefits those who desire to work in the investments industry in a supporting role such as in the fields of human resources, sales, and legal services,” he said.

Graduates with the Claritas certificate will be prepared to assist stockbrokers with customer service tasks, according to Dr. Brenda Ponsford, Henderson School of Business dean.

“We pursued this program because our certificate in financial services is designed to attract students majoring in helping professions such as psychology, sociology, and education, but are interested in working for a brokerage,” Ponsford said.

“The Claritas test is one way of showing basic financial knowledge. It isn’t a license, nor is it required for this kind of work, but it will make our students stand out when they go job hunting,” she said.

The CFA Institute is a global association of investment professionals advocating financial market integrity.