The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Program is a professional credential offered by the CFA Institute to investment and financial professionals. A candidate who successfully completes the program and meets other professional requirements becomes a "CFA charterholder".
The emphases are on ethical professional standards, investment analysis and portfolio management skills. The Dishes section lists official resourcs, while the Chops section lists third-party commentaries.
- What the Chartered Financial Analyst program is about,
- How to become eligible for the CFA designation or charter,
- What are the requirements and exams,
- What are the resources for exam candiates,
- What are the differences between an MBA degree and a CFA designatioin.
This page focuses on the CFA program under the CFA Institute. It includes basic information, a video, the benefits, and the global scope. "While most graduate school programs cover a broad range of topics, the CFA Program focuses specifically on investment knowledge, and the self-study format allows you to continue working full time as you progress towards earning the charter."
See the References section below for the CFA Institute homepage.
The CFA® Program is a globally recognized, graduate level curriculum that provides a strong foundation of real-world investment analysis and portfolio management skills.
Before starting the program:
- You should have completed your Bachelor's Degree, or you are at the fourth year of study,
- you preferrably have one or two years of exposure working in the investment industry, as it will help you absorb the study materials,
- You have a definite plan to remain in the investment industry to attain the four-years of required relevant working experience.
To earn a CFA charter, the CFA Intitute requires that you must:
- Have four years of qualified investment work experience,
- Become a regular member of CFA Institute,
- Pledge to adhere to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct,
- Apply for membership to a local CFA member society, and
Complete the CFA Program.
The CFA Program is organized into three levels, each culminating in a six-hour exam. Completing the program takes most candidates between two and five years (there is no limit to the number of times you can take each exam), but you can take as much time as you need.
Visit this page for more links about qualitifications and benefits of becoming attaining the CFA designation.
This page further links to documents about:
- Why employers value the CFA designation (PDF)
- View charterholder occupations by country and see the top employers
- Hear from current charterholders
The CFA Program is a graduate-level self-study program that combines a broad curriculum with professional conduct requirements, culminating in three sequential exams.
The program is organized into three levels, each culminating in a six-hour exam. Candidates report dedicating in excess of 300 hours of study per level. Completing the entire program is a significant challenge that takes most candidates between two and five years
The curriculum progresses in content complexity as you move through the three levels:
- Level I: Includes basic knowledge focusing on investment tools, along with some analysis
- Level II: Further emphasizes analysis along with application
- Level III: Focuses on synthesizing all of the concepts and analytical methods in a variety of applications for effective portfolio management and wealth planning
Visit this page for more links to the curriculum.
Visit this page to view futher details under these 10 topics of the Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK):
I. Ethical and Professional Standards
II. Quantitative Methods
IV. Financial Reporting and Analysis
V. Corporate Finance
VI. Equity Investments
VII. Fixed Income
IX. Alternative Investments
X. Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning
The Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) represents the core knowledge, skills, and abilities that are generally accepted and applied by investment professionals throughout the world.
This SOPH is not only curriculum reading material, a mini case-study manual, but also an invaluable reference for managing investment company personnel and compliance.
Visit this page to view the background information about the SOPH.
Click the "Read" button to directly download the PDF version of the Standards of Practice Handbook at http://www.cfapubs.org/doi/pdf/10.2469/ccb.v2010.n2.1
Standards of Practice Handbook, Tenth Edition (effective 1 July 2010)
The CFA is a professional designation, a charter, and not a certification. The CFA designation is not a degree or diploma. The CFA Institute does not offer a degree or diploma, but rather works with degree granting and accredited educational institutions worldwide.
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program is a professional credential offered by the CFA Institute (formerly the Association for Investment Management and Research, or AIMR) to investment and financial professionals. A candidate who successfully completes the program and meets other professional requirements is awarded a "CFA charter" and becomes a "CFA charterholder".
A brief definition page, but it contains links to other professional financial designations, as well as articles related to a financial career.
A professional designation given by the CFA Institute (formerly AIMR) that measures the competence and integrity of financial analysts. Candidates are required to pass three levels of exams covering areas such as accounting, economics, ethics, money management and security analysis.
The key difference is that MBA is about general management of business, industry, and finance, even though a candidate may specialize in finance and treasury management.
CFA program is very specifically about investment evaluation, asset allocation, culminating in the skills needed for managing investment portfolio and investment companies. It goes into depth on derivatives, alternative assets, and debt valuation, which can be grueling for candidates with inadequate exposure in the investment industry.
Both the MBA and CFA have their advantages but considering the expense of the former and the difficulty of attaining the latter, choosing between the two makes for a rather difficult decision.
"The CFA is a very specialized credential that focuses really very deeply on 10 investment-related topics. The MBA is more of a generalist designation. "
"A CFA program takes on average four years to get through, while an MBA program will take one or two years, depending on if you are full-time or part-time. The CFA is designed to be a self-study curriculum and it is something people do while working. It is also very economical. You can get through the CFA program spending less than $3,000. If you assume that you pass each exam on the first try and register in a timely manner, the total fees will be $2,300. Well, that's less than one course costs in most MBA programs."
Thomas Robinson explains why the CFA credential makes sense for would-be investment analysts or portfolio managers, and what it takes to get one