Registration for the Q4-2023 FDP Exam
Opens June 1, 2023
Tom Pickel, CAIA, FDP
A brief introduction: Hello Everyone! My name is Tom. I studied law and business in Israel. In my third year, I started volunteering at an American NGO that used Israeli technology to create sustainable solar power projects in Africa, providing power to schools and clinics in Tanzania, Malawi, and Uganda. I oversaw the sourcing of Israeli technology to implement in the NGO's projects, found some interesting solutions, and met many interesting people. I also traveled to Tanzania to bring some equipment and monitor its installation in the NGO's projects there.
After finishing my degree, I started my first job as a financial advisor in BDO Israel. I worked there for almost two years, in which I learned how to perform company valuations, business strategy, financial modeling, and others in the field.
Nearing the middle of my second year there, I decided to look for opportunities elsewhere and came across my next employer, a unique consultancy firm called “Greshler Finance”, where I stayed for almost 6 years. At the same time, I started a private consultancy practice where I am providing various consultancy services, such as research papers, analyses, company valuations and more- to this day.
At the firm we were a small team, finding and marketing interesting global investment opportunities to the Israeli institutional investors- mainly GPs raising capital for funds larger than USD 1 billion and excelling in alternative investment strategies. I was responsible for the research and preparation of institutional level analysis papers, which we used to market the products. The team is unique in that it sustains personal relationships and always stays in the picture- to assist both investors and GPs to work together in the long run.
I was lucky and the team gave me enough space to improve my data and programming skills at work. With time, I used my new skills to create a database for the company, combining information from several sources and allowing the user to quickly gain insight on potential clients.
At the end of 2020 I decided to leave my position and pivot to a path of combining investing with data. As part of this change, I was able to focus on some machine learning projects I have been pursuing and took the FDP exam, which gave me an excellent theoretical base to improve and deepen my work.
Why did I take up the FDP challenge?
I pursued the FDP designation because I felt that data is part of my goals and these skills fit me. I find the point where investing and data meet fascinating. The more I learn, the more I want to dig deeper.
What is great about FDP:
Based on the technological changes of recent years and the ease of access to computing power, I think machine learning allows more people to understand relationships and situations better than was possible in the past. This lets humanity understand the world better than we ever could. The more skills I have in this field, the more I can take part in this effort.
The FDP Institute’s curriculum opened a whole world of skills and capabilities for me. The combination of investing and data suits me perfectly and the FDP provided me with the base to develop tools and do things I didn't imagine I could just a couple of years ago. It gave me enough security in my capabilities to change my career path in a way that suits me more.
I specifically appreciate the opportunity to study from a curated curriculum. It would have been very difficult to reach this quality knowledge on my own.
Lastly, just like in CAIA, I appreciate the opportunity to be at the edge of research and know what’s going on in the industry, while having the opportunity to travel to places, attend events and meet new people.
My advice for aspiring industry professionals:
At an early stage of one's career, I think it is paramount to create a deep and broad base, as much as possible, to support a long career for years to come. This can be achieved by studying, either before or in parallel to working. The later stages of one's career will be based on this foundation, so the broader and deeper it is, the better. It will increase the opportunities available to a person and help them make the right decisions for them. Also, studying becomes harder later in life. For this reason, as I came to realize that alternative investments interest me, I took on CAIA and later FDP, since these programs fit me best.
I would also like to emphasize the importance I see of one's character, which is always crucial in their career, especially in later stages after one's skills have been fortified.
About Tom Pickel
Tom is working to combine machine learning with investing. He provides consultancy services through Pickel Global Finance, lives in Israel and has a degree in law and business administration. Tom is both a CAIA and FDP Charterholder.
Tom Pickel, CAIA, FDP
Pickel Global Finance
Tom Pickel - Translator
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