Home About Us Meet Our Charterholders Career Tools Subscribe

Tan Siaw Woan, CFA

Director, Research

Khazanah Nasional Berhad

Tan Siaw Woan has more than 15 years of experience in the industry, most of which was spent in research roles. She is currently with Khazanah Nasional Bhd, where she is involved in research roles covering sector strategies, technology, and macro-strategy. She is a CFA® charterholder, and holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. She is an avid reader as well as a keen learner, and finds the process of learning a new field as enjoyable as the outcome itself. Her life philosophy is that we are only stewards of what we have been entrusted with.

“The investment management industry is a highly dynamic one as the environment is constantly changing. This makes the CFA® designation very relevant, especially in these unusual and fast-changing times. The CFA® Program ensures that charterholders are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate this ever-evolving industry landscape. ”

Tan Siaw Woan, CFA


Why did you pursue and build a career in finance? How has it opened more doors of opportunity for you?

Since I was young, I have always been interested in history and current affairs. However, it was my experience of the Asian Financial Crisis and the dotcom bubble burst during my university days that led me to fully appreciate the importance of economics, and how it could affect our daily lives. It has since led me to pursue a career in economics and research.


What was the career path that led you to achieve your most recent role?

My first job upon graduation was in risk management advisory, but I found that it was not in line with my interests or longer-term career aspirations. An opportunity eventually opened for me to join the Securities Commission, where I was able to work in areas relating to economics and financial markets and set the foundation for my future career moves to pursue my interest in macro markets. After completing my master's program, I joined the Research Division of Khazanah Nasional Bhd, where I have been involved in a range of research roles.


How did the CFA® Program curriculum help you in your career?

The CFA Program curriculum is designed to cover most topics and concepts encountered by investment professionals and is constantly updated to reflect current industry trends and practices. The curriculum provided me with a solid grasp of the key concepts and subject matter knowledge necessary for me to perform in my roles.


In your experience, how challenging was it to earn the CFA® charter?

The journey to earning the CFA charter is long and tough. In my experience, the most challenging part was time management when trying to study for the exams while holding down a full-time job. The curriculum is very extensive, and you only had one try per year at that time. This required a lot of planning and sacrifices.


What motivated you to finish all levels of the CFA® exam?

The thought to give up crossed my mind a few times, and the feeling was especially intense when after a tiring week at work, the only activity that greeted me for the weekend was the need to go through the voluminous study materials. In the end, I believe it was the desire to “finish what I started” that made me push through the frustration and persevere to the end.


How has the CFA® designation helped to shape your career progression? What competitive advantages does the CFA charter offer you?

I was once told that apart from providing one with the requisite knowledge, the CFA designation is also a signaling tool. It takes a certain degree of tenacity to complete the CFA Program, given the breadth and depth of the curriculum for a program designed for part-time study. In this regard, I believe the CFA designation has helped me gain credibility with my employers and peers – it signals that apart from having the requisite knowledge, I also have the tenacity to navigate this fast-changing industry.


Thinking About Your Next Career Step?

A CFA charter can help boost your finance credentials. The CFA Program is designed to equip you with the kind of expertise and real-world skills in investment analysis that will help you advance your career. Once you complete all three exam levels and demonstrate the required experience, you can apply to become a charterholder.

Take our assessment to learn whether becoming a CFA charterholder is right for you.

Take the Readiness Assessment


How have you leveraged your network and knowledge from CFA Institute and CFA Society® membership for career growth? How has the membership helped you in your career?

CFA Institute provides many resources for its members – for instance, access to research articles or webinars related to current industry trends and developments. Additionally, CFA Society Malaysia also organizes regular talks and events, where members have the opportunity to network and learn from each other. I have benefitted significantly from these events – the opportunity to gain insightful advice from different speakers on various topics, and to interact with members from different parts of the industry. While these events have mostly moved online over the past year, they continue to be an important source of knowledge and information for members to navigate these fast-changing times.


What is your definition of success?

Our world is a constantly changing place, and it means that the very definition of success is changing just as frequently too. I do not have an actual definition of success per se, but I do believe that you cannot give more than your very best. If you believe you have given your best to the task at hand, regardless of the outcome, you should take pride. We should always be grateful for what we have and what has been entrusted to us.


Disclaimer: The content was written in July 2021 and the video was taken in April 2021. Information, views, opinions, and recommendations expressed belong to the interviewees thereof. They do not necessarily reflect the views of CFA Society Malaysia. In no event shall CFA Society Malaysia be liable for any damages resulting from their opinions.

Be inspired by CFA® charterholders and learn how theirachievements can guide your career path.


Be inspired by CFA® charterholders and learn how their achievements can guide your career path.