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How "Constructive Laziness" Led To a Technological Breakthrough in Examination Testing and What It Means For Your Business.

Finlingo's IQue ensures that your examinations:


  • Deliver completely unique test questions to every individual test taker without sacrificing question consistency.
  • Eliminate the possibility of cheating entirely.
  • Cut down question writing time and investment to the bare minimum by allowing you to deploy important employee resources to more profitable activities.
  • Are deployable on both your LMS and for your real tests at your CBT testing center.
  • Advance the quality and equity of your examination brand.

"Oh not again..."


I had just finished writing 5 questions for a CFA Level I practice examination for my old boss at my old firm.

"Great.  Only 45 more to go," the unsympathetic old so-and-so replied.

"You must be joking," I thought.  "There's gotta be a better way."

Question writing is exhausting.  It's also a misnomer.  Because you've got to write a question, the correct answer, two incorrect answers, and the explanation for each examinable concept.

And you've got to make each one unique.  Just like every one else, as the smart aleck says.

It's an incredibly important job. It's also an unconscionable time-suck.  And there's no way around it.

Well... until now.

A treat to sit thru a training session with Sean

Mangalam Seksaria, CFA

Mangalam Seksaria, CFA

Senior Director at HSBC Private Banking

"High energy, good anecdotes and real life examples make it a treat to sit thru a training session with Sean. Sean's draws a lot on his own experiences and plenty from the books to deliver a precise and concise session which I have found to be of immense help."

He's a great teacher

Doug Casey, Chairman, Casey Research

Doug Casey

Chairman, Casey Research

“Andy has a great understanding of how the world works in general, and economics in particular. He’s a great teacher, and I strongly endorse Finlingo.”

Genius Fails Exam For the First Time in His Life... And Wants Revenge!


Back in 2005, Andy Duncan was sitting at his kitchen table, staring in disbelief.

A man with a First Class Honours degree in Cognitive Psychology.... who'd already published not one, but two O'Reilly textbooks - on PERL programming - of all things!  A man who already earned his Certificate in Quantitative Finance, studying under noted mathematician Paul Wilmott.

As his Aussie friends like to say, "He had a face like a beaten favorite."

With eyes wide open and mouth agape, for the first time in Andy's life, he learned that "F" doesn't stand for "Fantastic."

Andy Duncan had failed CFA Level I. And he couldn't believe it.

The ability to teach complex matters to students in a unique way

Dan Liebau

Dan Liebau

Founding Director, Lightbulb Capital

"Sean is a 1st class education professional in the financial services industry. I first met Sean when I was studying for CFA Level 1. He combines solid understanding of Economics & Finance with the ability to teach complex matters to students in a unique way!"

Frequently hired to teach the big shots...

Jeff Deist, President Mises Institute

Jeff Deist

President, Mises Institute

"Andy Duncan is a teacher without the dullness, an economist without the jargon, and a finance expert who actually understands the humans behind the numbers. He's a fantastic talent, frequently hired to teach the Big Shots at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, and the like. Thanks to Finlingo, he can teach you too."

Fail me once, shame on you.
Fail me twice, shame on me!


Andy Duncan was not a man who'd be beat.  For the next CFA Level I examination he'd take, he was going to pass.  He was motivated.  His income depended on it!

In the run-up to the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, CFA course providers had blossomed.  And Andy wanted a piece of that pie.  But in order to teach CFA Level I, he had to pass Level I.

A sensible policy.

So Andy did what Andy does best.  He coded a program that would let him zero in on the exact concepts he needed to learn.  What he didn't want was to answer the same study question over and over again, as one gets with most study course providers.

The problem with this is that you memorize the questions and answers, instead of the concepts. For instance, as soon as you see "Mary Sue" in a question enough times, you'll know the answer is "C."

You can't help this, by the way.  That's how the brain works - it's a pattern-matching engine.

Andy's program would spit out all sorts of variations on CAPM, Beta, accounting ratios, Sharpe ratio questions - anything that was a part of the curriculum.

All the variables would change - everything - except the thing he had to learn.

Andy used his new program for the entire study period of Level I.  And, of course, he passed.

Then, the silly boy put the program away and forgot all about it... until...

...but before we get to that, meet Sean.

One of the few I'd call a supreme teacher

Michael McKay

Michael J. McKay

President (retired), Iowa Capital Management, Inc.

"Andy Duncan is one of the few I would call supreme teachers who can make complex financial knowledge simple, clear and, most importantly, memorable. I give highest marks to Finlingo because it is infused with Andy Duncan's incredible talent."

"You're Going To Pay Me To Listen To The Sound of My Voice All Day?"


Sean Ring was at the end of his rope.  A 5am wake-up call.  Five screens blinking all sorts of nonsense.  Two phones ringing non-stop.

Though he grew up in New Jersey (that's Joisey to you), he had been living in London for 7 years by this point.

That's when it happened.  That fateful day in 2006 when he opened up Microsoft Word, typed out a one sentence letter of resignation, and left his broking desk an hour later.

Wondering what to do for entire year - bonuses were okay back then - he happened upon a classified ad advertising a job in financial training.

Much to his surprise, he was offered the job the next day at a salary level not far off his banking one.  Which either made him a great lecturer or a terrible banker.

And the love affair began.

Traveling everywhere from San Francisco to New York to Dublin to Paris to Moscow to Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur, Sean felt like - but did not look like, one hastens to add - James Bond.  Or Indiana Jones.  It didn't matter.  Traveling the world and teaching was the mutt's nuts to him.

There was only one thing he didn't like about his new vocation: writing those damn questions.

Some of Our Past Clients as Classroom Trainers

Sean and Andy - London

Sean and Andy Meet and The Rest is History


Sean Ring was at the end of his rope.  A 5am wake-up call.  Five screens blinking all sorts of nonsense.  Two phones ringing non-stop.

Though he grew up in New Jersey (that's Joisey to you), he had been living in London for 7 years by this point.

That's when it happened.  That fateful day in 2006 when he opened up Microsoft Word, typed out a one sentence letter of resignation, and left his broking desk an hour later.

Wondering what to do for entire year - bonuses were okay back then - he happened upon a classified ad advertising a job in financial training.

Much to his surprise, he was offered the job the next day at a salary level not far off his banking one.  Which either made him a great lecturer or a terrible banker.

And the love affair began.

Traveling everywhere from San Francisco to New York to Dublin to Paris to Moscow to Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur, Sean felt like - but did not look like, one hastens to add - James Bond.  Or Indiana Jones.  It didn't matter.  Traveling the world and teaching was the mutt's nuts to him.

There was only one thing he didn't like about his new vocation: writing those damn questions.

"Barcelona? What's in Barcelona?"


In 2015, as Sean had just turned 40, he felt the need to upskill.

Why not learn to code?  All the kids are doing it these days...

Sean had a job offer to work in Hong Kong starting in March 2015, and it was December, so why not go to a coding bootcamp in January and February?
Sean: "Dude, I'm heading to Barcelona next month."
Andy: "Barcelona?  What's in Barcelona?"
Sean: "I'm going to learn to code!  And Pam can shop for two months straight..."
Andy: "I'm coming, too."
Sean: "What?  Don't you already know how to code?"
Andy: "Yes, but I could always learn a new language and it gives me something to do!"

Unlike many traders, Sean had a very good understanding of ...surrounding concerns such as risk and compliance.

Edward Stileman

Edward Stileman

Compliance Consultant

"I provided compliance support to Sean and the listed derivatives trading desk. Unlike many traders, Sean had a very good understanding of not only the business, but also the technology and surrounding concerns such as risk and compliance. He is also friendly, approachable and was willing to explain what he was doing which made finding solutions to compliance issues easier."

Makes it easy for people to understand otherwise difficult financial concepts

Stephan Kinsella

Stephan Kinsella

Director, Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom

"Andy is hugely knowledgeable about economics and free markets, and from what I saw when I was lecturing with him in Brazil, he's also an entertaining speaker and teacher. He makes it easy for people to understand otherwise difficult financial concepts, and I thoroughly endorse his teaching application, Finlingo, to anyone who wants to learn about the modern financial world."

Over a Chicken Lunch, A Bolt From the Blue


By Day 3 of the coding bootcamp, Sean was already hopelessly lost.

But he also knew that what he was picking up was really cool.

The amateurish beginning of the course merely amused Andy, who was already getting bored.

And then, over a nice roasted chicken, Sean asked the seemingly innocent question...

"What If We Used This Ruby Language thingy to Automate Question Writing?"


"Huh?" asked Andy, as he munched on the savory meat.

"What if we could create questions using variable ranges and a stem, so we don't have to worry about question banks ever again?'

Andy's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree.  His gaze nearly bore a hole in Sean's head (which was quite frightening at the time).

Andy had remembered that he already built such a question engine, as you well know, and all he needed to do was convert the engine from PERL to Ruby.

Et voila! No more onerous question writing.

Andy's prototype, which would later become Finlingo, would go on to make the finals of the Ironhack Hackshow in March 2015.

Andy continued to work on Finlingo for the next few years, in his spare time.

As for Sean... let's say coding isn't his forte.  And anyway, he had to head to Hong Kong for his return to the world of banking in general, and talent development in particular.

Hong Kong
and Beyond...


Hong Kong, the Mecca of Capitalism, taught Sean many things.  One of those things was how much he hated working inside large organizations.  So while Andy had essentially finished coding the rest of Finlingo, Sean was attempting to navigate, with mixed success, the innards of a global investment and private bank.

But this time, Sean wasn't client-facing.  He was a VP in Talent Development.  This gave Sean the invaluable insight of what's important, and unimportant, to banks and financial services providers concerning their greatest asset: their human capital.

So while Finlingo is a wonderful piece of software, Finlingo Limited, the company, helps you put together proper training programs where:

 - Repetition is the key to learning, especially for hard skills such as modeling.
 - Soft skills are prioritized for client-facing staff, such as salespeople and relationship managers.
 - Webinar training replaces nearly all of the classroom training, especially for hard skills.
 - We provide in-house training only at special request.
Reach out today for a chat about what we can do you.  We'd love to hear from you today.
Karishma Santami

Karishma Santami

Early Career Leadership | Career Advisor & Consultant

"Sean is one of the best facilitators I have worked with. Not only was he an amazing and fun manager to have, he is one person full of Zest! Give Sean the floor and you are bound to have an unforgettable learning experience. I'd strongly recommend for interactive training sessions!"

Helio Beltrão

Helio Beltrão

Founder and President, Instituto Mises Brasil

“Andy delivered two brilliant talks at our Mises Brasil 2017 Conference. He is both thoughtful and eclectic, a phenomenal combination.”

We're nearly always on the road, but this is where our corporate office is...


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