Since its introduction in 1963, the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, or CFA charter has become the most recognized and respected 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
The first step to earning the CFA charter is clearing the CFA Program viz. CFA Exams. Once you have cleared the three levels of the CFA Exams you need to have 4 years of qualified work experience, become a CFA Institute member and local member of CFA society.
The CFA Program is a globally recognized, graduate level 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.
As said before the first step to earning the charter would be to clear the program, which is achieved by clearing all the levels of the CFA Exam.
To begin the journey towards the CFA charter, you must be in the final year of your college education. This will make you eligible for CFA Level 1. Clearing Level 1 makes you eligible for Level 2 of CFA Exam and clearing level 2 will make you eligible for CFA Level 3.
Once you clear Level 3 you need to have the work experience as prescribed by the CFA Institute. Check CFA Charter Eligibility for more details.
CFA charter while popular with investment bankers covers all the financial instruments comprehensively. Each level of the CFA Exam deals with a definite set of concepts that test and strain the skills and knowledge of the candidate in the exam and the complexity progresses with each level of the exam.
Focuses on a basic knowledge of the ten topic areas and simple analysis using investment tools.
Emphasizes application of investment tools and concepts with a focus on valuation of all types of assets
Focuses on synthesizing all of the concepts and analytical methods in a variety of applications for effective portfolio management and wealth planning.
The CFA exam is conducted, as said earlier in levels which are to be written sequentially. The exams are paper based exams which are conducted across the globe in CFA authorized testing centers. The duration of each exam is 6 hours. The format of each exam varies by level.
CFA Level 1 comprises of only multiple choice questions (MCQ) focusing on investment tools. Some questions might require analysis.
CFA Level 2 exam consists of MCQs and item sets that emphasize on complex analysis and valuing assets.
CFA Level 3 exam consists of item sets and Essays that focus on synthesizing all of the concepts and analytical methods in a variety of applications for effective portfolio management and wealth planning.
If you are planning to write the CFA exam and you are eligible to do so, you need to register with the CFA institute every time you want to write an exam, by paying the appropriate fees. The registration is fairly simple and can be done online on the CFA Institute’s website.
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