What is a 'Cambrist'

A cambrist is a person with expertise dealing with foreign exchange markets. While the term implies above-average knowledge, it does not describe any type of standard certification.


A cambrist understands how to deal with foreign currencies and currency exchange markets. They may participate in forex trading or they may simply study the economic factors that affect currency movements. Economists interested in international markets, seasoned forex traders and economists with related specialties generally fall under this category.

Foreign exchange markets exist to allow investors to buy and sell pairs of foreign currencies. Trades use a combination of a long position in one currency and a short position in another, and the price of each pair stems from the relationship between the value of the two currencies involved. In practical terms, forex traders make a short sale to finance a long position in a paired currency. They realize a profit or loss when they unwind the positions.

Interactions between currency pairs can be complicated by the way each country values its currency and by both micro- and macroeconomic issues. Conditions in global and regional capital markets and bond markets play a role in forex trading, as do activities related to international trade, political situations, and a combination of overall economic activity along with countries’ fiscal policy. That adds up to a lot of complicated information for a prospective cambrist to study and follow.

Forex-Related Certifications

While cambrist is a general term, certifications and licenses testifying to the abilities of forex experts do exist. The Series 34 Retail Off-Exchange Forex Exam, administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), tests traders’ knowledge of terms, calculations, risks and concepts related to foreign exchange markets. Individuals who pass the exam qualify to engage in off-exchange retail forex transactions either as an individual or for a firm. Those who pass the exam, which consists of 40 multiple-choice questions, become known as a forex associated person, or forex AP.

Forex traders looking to sharpen their skills can also look to a variety of certifications that provide a grounding in applicable skills. Financial Risk Manager (FRM) programs, for example, provide a strong grounding in risk modeling and management, highly useful skills for forex traders. For those looking to beef up their technical chops, the grounding in technical analysis provided by Chartered Market Technician programs can provide practical knowledge when analyzing price movements and seeking predictive patterns in charts. For those seeking more broadly applicable training, the Chartered Financial Analyst certification offers a basic grounding in the fundamentals of portfolio management, which in turn depends upon management of foreign exchange.

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