What is CFA Charter?

Since it was first introduced in 1963, the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, or CFA charter, has become the most respected and recognized investment credential in the world. Earning the CFA charter demonstrates mastery of the skills most needed for investment analysis and decision making in today's fast-evolving global financial industry. That's why employers and clients around the world are increasingly seeking out CFA charterholders—often making the charter a prerequisite for employment. The CFA Program is a globally recognized, curriculum that provides you with a strong foundation of the real-world investment analysis and portfolio management skills and practical knowledge you need in today's investment industry. It also emphasizes the highest ethical and professional standards. The Program is designed for self-study, distance learning, but you can also enroll in preparatory classes. This means that you won't have to leave your current position or interrupt another academic program while enrolled in the CFA Program. The Program is organized into three levels, each culminating in a six-hour exam. CFA Program candidates report dedicating in excess of 300 hours of study per level. The entire CFA Program can be accomplished in as few as two years, but many candidates schedule their exams around work and family commitments. You may take as long as you need to complete the CFA Program. Your exam results never expire, and they don't limit the number of times you can sit for each exam level.

How well known is the CFA Charter?

  • There are currently more than 90,000 CFA charterholders working in over 135 countries around the world.

  • Regulatory bodies in 19 countries recognize the CFA charter as a proxy for meeting certain licensing requirements.

  • More than 125 distinguished colleges and universities around the world have incorporated a majority of the CFA Program curriculum into their own courses, including the University of Oxford's Saïd Business School; New York University; INSEAD; Peking University; and Nanyang Technological University.

Who earns the CFA Charter?

If you are a student planning to enter the finance or investment profession, there is no better way to signal your commitment and your ability to perform at a high level than by enrolling in the CFA Program, learning the skills you will need to succeed in the investment industry, and earning the CFA charter.

The CFA Program curriculum is designed to complement your experience with a broad range of skills determined to be most relevant by investment practitioners and employers. Acquiring this additional knowledge will enhance your professional abilities and will increase your standing with colleagues, clients, and your employer.

Many non-investment professionals choose to earn the CFA charter to gain broader professional expertise. If you are developing an additional area of proficiency or if you are seeking to make a career change into the investment profession, completing the CFA Program is a cost-effective way to gain the skills you need for success in today's global investment profession and to signal the seriousness of your intentions.

How is CFA Program structured?

The Program is organized into three levels, each culminating in a six-hour exam held in more than 180 locations around the world. Level I exams are held in June and December. Levels II and III are held in June. Each level of the exams is six hours long and is divided into morning and afternoon sessions. The Level I examination consists of 240 multiple-choice questions. The Level II examination contains 20 "mini-cases" or vignettes that describe investment challenges practitioners are likely to encounter. Each item-set contains six questions based on the vignette. The Level III exams contain constructed response (essay) questions in the morning session and 10 item-sets in the afternoon session.

How does the CFA Program compare with an MBA program or CA?

Particulars CFA(US) MBA CA
Recognition Globally India India
Duration Min 1.5- 2 Yrs 2 Years (Regular, Full Time) Min 4 - 4.5 Yrs
Avg Cost (Exam & Tuition fees) 1.75 - 2 Lakhs 4 - 5 Lakhs 1.5 - 2 Lakhs
Internship/Article ship No Summer Internship 3 Years
Eligibility Final Year Graduation Graduation 12th
Work while study Yes No No

Topic Area Weights

Topic Area Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Ethical and Professional Standards 15 10-15 10-15
Quantitative Methods Min 1.5- 2 Yrs 2 Years (Regular, Full Time) Min 4 - 4.5 Yrs
Avg Cost (Exam & Tuition fees) 12 5-10 0
Economics 10 5-10 5-15
Financial Reporting and Analysis 20 15-20 0
Corporate Finance 7 5-15 0
Fixed Income 10 10-20 10-20
Derivatives 5 5-15 5-15
Alternative Investments 4 5-10 5-15
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning 7 5-10 40-55
Total 100 100 100

Source : cfainstitute.org
Note: These weights are intended to guide the curriculum and exam development processes. Actual exam weights may vary slightly from year to year. Please note that some topics are combined for testing purposes.

How do I get started?

If you're ready to earn the most respected investment credential in the world, then enroll in the CFA Program and register for the Level I exam today. For application forms, a list of upcoming exam locations and dates, and scholarship opportunities, please visit www.cfainstitute.org/cfaprogram.

Among the countless finance degrees around the world, the Chartered Financial Analyst qualification has become the gold standard.

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