The Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) Program is a prestigious credential awarded by the US-based Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute. Considered as one of the toughest to crack, the program promises rapid advancement for anyone considering a career in investments. It is a program that imparts specialized skills and real-world expertise in investment that a participant would otherwise gain after working in the industry for decades!
The CFA program requires a participant to take three examinations to earn the credential. Each level tests the participant on different topic areas, with weightage given to a specific topic. The prestigious CFA Charter that is awarded after the successful completion of the program demonstrates that you have the knowledge, skills, and experience required for investment analysis and management in today’s dynamic global markets.
CFA career opportunities
The CFA Charter paves the way for employment in some of the biggest investment banks and financial institutions of the world, – including and not limited to Bank of America, UBS, JP Morgan Chase and HSBC. It is also a global credential that opens doors to better career prospects and growth. The Financial Times has called CFA the ‘gold standard’ of Wall Street qualifications due to its rigor.
The infographic below depicts the top CFA Charterholder occupations as recorded by CFA Institute:
Who can apply?
Candidates for the CFA Program can include students entering the investment field, professionals increasing their expertise and marketability, and people making a career change into the investment profession from other disciplines (Source). It takes anywhere between four to five years to complete the CFA Program and pass all three levels of examination.
Criteria for participation
Candidates hoping to enroll in the CFA program have to meet one of the following criteria (Source):
– Have a bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree
– Be in the final year of a bachelor’s degree program
– Have four years of professional work experience, or
– Have a combination of professional work and university experience that totals at least four years.
In addition to this, the candidate must:
– Pass the Level I Exam (June or December)
– Pass the Level II Exam (June)
– Pass the Level III Exam (June)
Also, to earn the charter, the participant must have four years of professional work experience in the investment decision-making process (accrued before, during, or after participation in the CFA Program).
What’s covered in the program?
The main topics indicated by the CFA Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) are as follows:
– Ethical and Professional Standards
– Quantitative Methods
– Financial Reporting and Analysis
– Corporate Finance
– Equity Investments
– Fixed Income
– Alternative Investments
– Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning
Important dates & deadlines
All three levels of the CFA exam are offered annually, on the first Saturday in June. The CFA Level 1 examination is conducted in June and December every year. It is a six-hour examination in the multiple-choice format. Check the calendar of important dates and deadlines here.
If you want to pass the CFA, the recommended preparation time is 300 hours of study per exam. Get started with CFA Level 1 examination with Edureka’s prep course conducted by CFA charterholder instructors.
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