For all the students going for International Finance Certifications, it is the most common point of debate whether to go for CFA or FRM or both. Both certifications have international recognition and offer a wide range of enriching and rewarding career prospects. This is where the question arises "CFA vs FRM: Which certification to go for?"
It is very crucial for students to choose the right certification as for both certifications they have to put a lot of money, dedicate all their time and study rigorously. This all shouldn't go as a waste. Moreover, they have to live with the career they choose and few years down the line they shouldn't regret their choice. To an informed person, there might be a world of difference between these two certifications, but to a novice there is very little difference.
Let's take a look at both of these certifications, their scope as a career and their prospects.
It has become one of the de-facto certifications that a professional graduate goes for when trying to target some specific positions in the investment and banking industry.
Career Prospects and Roles as a CFA charterholder:
Hedge fund Research
Eligibility Criteria for CFA exam:
A bachelor's (or equivalent) degree or be in the final year of your bachelor's degree program
Four years of professional work experience (does not have to be investment related)
A combination of professional work experience and education that totals at least four years (part time experience not counted).
The Financial Risk Manager (FRM®) certification was originally intended for candidates who wanted to pursue the profession of a risk manager in financial institutions.
With increasing business competition and rapid changes in the finance industry, businesses require professionals who can manage risk, money and investment efficiently. This has raised the importance of Financial Risk Management and thus given this certification a recognition which it deserves.
Career Prospects and Roles as an FRM charterholder:
Chief Risk Officer
Senior Risk Analyst
Head of Operational Risk
Investment Risk Management
Eligibility Criteria for FRM exam:
No educational or professional pre-requisites required to sit for either part of the FRM Exams
Minimum of two years of full-time professional experience required in risk-related profile.
FRM vs CFA comparative analysis
The course contents of FRM and CFA Program also vary a lot from each other. The CFA Program covers more on financial analysis, ethics, asset valuation and portfolio management, whereas FRM covers more topics on risk, valuation at risk, models of risk, credit risk and so on. There is some common overlap between these two courses which are areas like credit derivatives, hedge funds, fixed income, basic statistics, risk/return metrics and correlation.
NOTE: The areas which do not overlap are as diverse as the careers they cater to.
FRM Part 1 FRM Part 2
CFA level 1 CFA Level 2 CFA Level 3
Fee (indicative and overall)
FRM Part 1 - $650 to $950 FRM Part 2 - $350 to $650
CFA Level 1 - $1080 - $1660 CFA Level 2 - $1070 to $1650 CFA Level 3 - $1060 to $1610
Pass rate (Approximate)
40% to 45%
35% to 42%
Relevant For Candidates looking for jobs in
Banking, Risk Management, Financial Institutes
Research, KPO, Investment banking
Course Stucture: Emphasis on
Quants,derivatives, Portfolio Management, Market Risk, value at Risk, Credit Risk, Operation Risk & Basel
Quants, FSA, Ethics, Economics, Corporate Finance, Equity, Fixed Income
Kind of Qustions Asked
Multiple choice questions
Multiple choice questions
FRM vs CFA Salary (Average)
US - $70,000 India - INR 5,00,000
US - $75,000 India - INR 6,00,000
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