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CFA Institute Inspirational Leader Award

This award was established by the Board of Governors to celebrate and recognize individuals who embody the organization's mission to lead the investment profession globally by promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society. These individuals distinguish themselves by actively contributing to the betterment of the investment profession, leading by example in their personal and/or professional lives, and inspiring others to do the same.
audience at awards ceremony clapping

The Award

The Board wants this award to honor these role models and to highlight their efforts in one or more of the following categories:

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    This category represents an individual who has championed and demonstrated ethical behavior and standards of practice in the investment profession. This inspirational leader will have influenced the investment industry by advocating for the integrity of the investment profession.

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    This category represents an individual who has championed and fostered the education of professional investors either through the advancement of the Body of Knowledge, development of programs, publications, or other learning tools to encourage continuing education in the investment profession. This inspirational leader will have influenced the investment industry by promoting the value of education for its constituents.

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    Professional Excellence

    This category represents an individual who, no matter the stage in his or her career, has demonstrated exemplary achievement and excellence of practice in the investment profession. This inspirational leader will have influenced and honored the investment industry to the highest degree and shown a dedication and aptitude to continue these efforts in a meaningful way going forward.

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    Volunteer Service

    This category represents an individual who has made significant contributions to CFA Institute and/or CFA Societies through leadership, exceptional stewardship, and outstanding service. This inspirational leader will have made a real impact and influenced and motivated other volunteers to work on behalf of the organization's mission for the betterment of the investment industry.

Key Information

The Board of Governors will be the determining body for the CFA Institute Inspirational Leader Award. The Nominating Committee of the Board of Governors will conduct the initial review of the candidate slate as provided by the Awards Committee.

An Awards Committee composed of CFA Institute staff will act as the recommending body. This group will source and identify worthy candidates and generate an awards slate for the Nominating Committee's endorsement, which will then be submitted to the Board for final approval.

The Awards Committee will source candidates from the Board, Nominating Committee, Presidents Council Chair, Presidents Council Representatives, and Leadership Team, and then source internally and externally at their discretion. The Awards Committee will obtain the endorsement of the President and CEO and Leadership Team prior to submitting their slate to the Nominating Committee.
  • Members and non-members are eligible for selection.
  • Up to four recipients may be awarded every fiscal year.
  • The aim is to identify one candidate per category; however, the award may be given to an individual for multiple categories if deserved. The Awards Committee will let the candidate pool be the determining factor.
  • There will be only winner per category every fiscal year. If the Awards Committee selects an individual to represent more than one category, then those categories are no longer available for any other candidate in that given cycle.
  • The process will be undertaken annually, but the award need not be granted every year. The Awards Committee will set a very high bar for award recipients as they need to meet the threshold of “inspirational leader” and role model for the organization. This policy is designed to heighten the importance of the award and enrich the awards experience overall.
  • All candidates will be subject to a background check of their professional conduct and other activities (i.e. electronic footprint – social/news media).
  • Previous award recipients will not be eligible unless they are being considered for a different category.
  • The Awards Committee will not accept self-nominations.
  • The award will be given to individual/individuals, not a company or institution.
  • The award shall not be awarded to Board members, Presidents Council Chairs, or Presidents Council Representatives for their current or previous work in these roles or to CFA Institute staff members for their current or previous work as employees of the organization. These individuals may be recognized for other accomplishments that define them as "inspirational leaders"; or role models in the industry.
  • Evaluations will be based on the following rubric:
Category Points
In the award category selected, to what extent does this nominee have exemplary and longstanding achievement, leadership, and high impact on the profession? 65
Taking a holistic view, to what extent is the nominee a role model in the profession? 15
Regarding timeliness: how important is it that the nominee receive the award this year? 10
What is the nominee's potential to enhance public awareness of CFA Institute? 10

The Awards Committee will accept recommendations until the end of September and aim to present a recipient slate to the Board of Governors by the end of November. Award recipients will be notified directly thereafter.

Award recipients will be recognized at a prominent event hosted by CFA Institute, such as the Annual Conference or another high-profile event. Conference registration, economy class airfare, hotel accommodations, and travel expenses will be provided to the award recipient and up to one guest of his or her choosing. The all-expenses-paid trip is valid only for the event identified and cannot be transferred to another party or postponed for a future event if the recipient or guest is unable to attend. Additionally, award recipients will receive a physical award and a letter of appreciation signed by the President and CEO of CFA Institute.

If you would like to submit a recommendation to the Awards Committee, please email [email protected] with the following supporting documentation:

  • Recipient’s Full Name
  • Nominated Category/Categories
  • CV/Resume
  • Letter of Recommendation (at least 2 pages)

Please note that the Awards Committee will not consider any submissions without the above information.

History of the Awards

While the CFA Institute awards program has evolved over the years, it's important to remember the five inspirational leaders who moved the organization to establish one in the first place. We thank them; and, with their contribution and service in mind, we will continue to identify role models in the industry that will honor and elevate the awards program and attract more attention to the CFA Institute mission and vision.

Alfred C. Morley CFA

Alfred Morley was appointed the President and CEO of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts in 1984 and later the President and CEO of the Financial Analysts Federation in 1986. Prior to joining professional staff, he was a power volunteer with 16 years of service on various group. The Distinguished Service Award was created to recognize individuals with a similar caliber of service and was first awarded in 1969.

C. Stewart Sheppard

Stewart Sheppard was the founding father and first Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts (ICFA) starting with his appointment in 1962. He served until 1972. To honor the significant contributions that he had made to the profession, the ICFA Board established the Outstanding Contribution to CFA Institute Education Programs Award to be presented to selected charterholders and was first awarded in 1976. As written in Tom Bowman’s eulogy of him, “When Stewart oversaw the first CFA exams in June 1963, 284 brave souls, all but a handful of whom were from the United States, the rest from Canada, sat for the exams. This June [2002], 40 years later, 102,000 candidates from over 70 countries are enrolled to take the CFA exams, and less than half are now from the United States. The CFA designation has literally become the premier global professional designation, endorsed or required by employers, regulators, and governments throughout the world. The creation of an honored global profession—that is Stewart's legacy. In 1972, when Stewart stepped down as ICFA Executive Director, Ed Mennis, then president of the ICFA wrote, "the debt we owe him can never be repaid." Now, 30 years later, as president of the successor organization and on behalf of its 200 employees, Board of Governors, and 50,000 CFA charterholders, I say again the debt we owe him can never be repaid.”

Daniel J. Forrestal III CFA

Daniel Forrestal was Chairman of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts from 1987 to 1988. He was known for his divisive proposal to merge ICFA and FAF with chief negotiators, which led to the “Analysts Unite!” article published in Barron’s in 1989. AIMR was formed in 1990. He was described as a tireless champion of professional competence and ethics; and, his untimely death in 1990 cut short his term as a member of the AIMR Board of Governors. The Leadership in Professional Ethics and Standards of Investment Award was created in his honor and was first awarded in 1991.

Thomas L. Hansberger

Thomas L Hansberger was Chairman of AIMR from 1995 to 1996. He founded the International Society of Financial Analysts (ISFA), which was a member of AIMR, and was instrumental in helping CFA Institute expand societies around the globe. He later launched his own firm, Hansberger Global Investors Inc. In 1995, the International Society of Financial Analysts (ISFA) named Thomas L. Hansberger, CFA, as the recipient of an ISFA award, which was later renamed the Leadership in Global Investment Award.

Nicholas Molodovsky

Nicholas Molodovsky was the second editor of the Financial Analyst Journal. He was most well-known for changing the direction of the profession with his blueprint for using the price-to earnings ratio in the valuation process. The Outstanding Contribution to Investment Research Award was created in his honor to recognize individuals with similar contributions and was first awarded in 1968.