Alaska Native woman makes the grade

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska – After five years of preparation and study, Alaska Native Brandy Niclai has earned the prestigious international Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. She is likely the first Alaska Native woman to acquire her CFA.

Niclai is a securities analyst for Alaska Permanent Capital Management in Anchorage. Put simply, she helps investors, such as the Alaska Permanent Fund, determine how much investment to put in domestic or international markets, and how to distribute those investments in stocks or other investment choices. The six-hour exam she completed to earn her new title is so difficult that just over 50 percent of test takers pass.

The CFA designation opens new doors for Niclai, and will enable her to be considered for advancement in her field.

The field of financial investment is especially important in these times of economic downturns. Niclai said that when we are in the midst of economic uncertainty, as we are today and have been in the past, that investors must focus on long-term goals and not allow the turmoil to change long-term investment strategies.

When asked what she would share with Native youth who might choose a similar career path, Niclai said a college education is important. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Washington State University.

She adds, “I think that staying focused and never giving up is the main thing. This test was on three levels and I didn’t always pass the first time.” Niclai said it is important to be persistent, not to give up and to surround yourself with people who motivate you.

“I would tell young people, no matter what profession they choose, set your goal and take little steps at a time.”

Niclai has two children and in addition to her career, serves as chairperson of the Alaska Native Heritage Month Board. Niclai is of Athabascan and Yupik heritage, and is a shareholder in Doyon, Limited, one of the 13 Native regional corporations established by Congress under terms of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.