We often counsel students who are confused between choosing CFA vs FRM. To an informed person there might be a world of difference between these two certifications, but to a novice there is very little difference. It also does not help matters that there is a strong overlap between the syllabuses of the two certifications.
Let's take a look at both of these certifications on their own, and later on we can compare CFA vs FRM head to head.
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA® Program) was originally intended for equity analysts working in the investment banking sector. Over a period of time (since it's inception in 1963), this has expanded so that a CFA Program is now (*CFA vs MBA) often compared to an Masters in Business Administration (MBA).
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.
The Financial Risk Manager (FRM®) certification was originally intended for candidates who wanted to pursue the profession of a risk manager in financial institutions.
CFA vs FRM 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.
But please note that the areas which do not overlap are as diverse as the careers they cater to.
FRM Part 1
CFA Level 1
Fee(indicative and overall)
~40% to 45%
~35% to 42%
Relevant For Candidates looking for jobs in
Banking,Risk mgt,Financial Institutes,
Course Stucture: Emphasis on
Quants,derivatives,Portfolio Mgt, Market Risk,value at Risk,Credit Risk,Operation Risk & Basel
Quants,FSA,Ethics, Economics,Corp Fin,Equity,Fixed Income
20% same as CFA 1
20% same as FRM 1
Kind of Qustions Asked
Multiple choice questions
Multiple choice questions
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