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Information wants to be free

MarcMarc TorontoPosts: 186 Portfolio Manager
edited April 2013 in 300 Hours
Following the structure employed in my maiden column, I have a complex relationship with the UK.

I have lived, studied and worked in the UK, my father's family immigrated to Canada from England and still I have family there, so I'm not exactly an outsider. Before I moved to the UK for the first time, my thoughts were roughly: "They speak English. We pretty much cut-and-paste a lot of their laws and institutions. I love Oasis, the Smiths, The Economist, Chelsea FC, Wimbledon (the tennis tournament, not the football team), James Bond and Cadbury (not necessarily in that order) - how different can it be?" The answer to that question, as I was soon to discover, is "Very different."

For example, I can't for the life of me understand why your Queen is on my money. I mean, Canada has been a proper country for nearly 150 years - maybe it's time for us to stop living in our parents' basement. My theory is: If your country is capable of producing Nobel Prize winners, it is probably also capable of governing its own affairs without the help of another country's monarchy.

Marc offers his opinions on the monarchy
Another thing that drives me INSANE about the UK is their media - and I'm not talking about Rupert Murdoch, or phone hacking, or even the Daily Mail (although all of those things are objectively awful). I'm talking about the overwhelmingly obnoxious (is there such a thing as "underwhelmingly obnoxious"?) opinion columnists who make vapid but bold-sounding pronouncements such as: "Coldplay are the new Beattles" or "Sven Goran Eriksson is the new Darth Vader" or "Sweden is the new Peru", and other really stupid things that make no sense.

But seriously, does this make any sense to you?
Where is all this going? Well, when contemplating a headline for this post, I had the following thought: "Is Google the new Schwesser?" However, as I prefer to avoid becoming what I loathe, I went a different route. Still, it is important to remember that Schwesser (and other prep material providers) trace their origins back to an era before a) CFAI provided actual materials as opposed to just recommended readings, and 2) any piece of information that you could possibly want was at your fingertips. I'm not even talking about any illicit peer-to-peer file sharing that I understand occurs in certain dark corners of the Internet. What I'm talking about is, if I want to know more about, for example, the H-Model, why would I pay for prep materials when I can get 641,000,000 results in 0.37 seconds? I have even heard stories of candidates posting their notes online for all to see.

The downside, obviously, isn't that you can't get enough information, but rather that you get too much information and there is no assurance of its veracity. However, if you're smart enough to be writing (or even contemplating) the CFA exams, you're smart enough to not blindly accept the first thing you read. Nevertheless, at least prep materials put everything in one place. There is no need for continuous searching and bookmarking and remembering where you learned about what.

However, there is a lot of really great material out there that is free, legally-available, and (dare I say it?) better than anything the prep material providers are charging for. I intend to share particularly useful links and materials as I encounter them, but for now I will post the following documentary entitled "Mind over Money," which examines the debate between traditional finance and behavioural finance. It's definitely relevant to the Level 3 curriculum, but this topic is actually covered in the Level 1 curriculum as well (LOS 48g).

With all that said, Enjoy.



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