CFA® Program (Chartered Financial Analyst) is offered by the CFA Institute based in the United States. The CFA Institute constitutes of more than 150,000 CFA charter holders spread across 165 countries. A CFA certification is considered the highest designation in the finance industry. It is a highly respected designation globally, and major companies prefer CFAs over other finance professionals. Let’s start with the CFA course overview. To be certified as a Chartered Financial Analyst, a candidate needs to clear all the three Levels of CFA Program – Level I CFA, Level II CFA and Level III CFA.
All the three Levels of CFA® Program – Level I CFA, Level II CFA and Level III CFA provide extensive knowledge covering various aspects of the finance segment and include topics like quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, tax analysis, equity investments, portfolio management, and performance measurements. The difficulty of the subjects increases with each level, Level I CFA being less complex than Level II CFA, and so on. All the levels test your expertise in the subject. According to the CFA Institute, a student takes:
- Over 4 years on an average to complete the CFA course
- Needs over 300 hours of study for each CFA level
- Minimum 6 months of preparation for each CFA level
To be eligible for the Level I CFA®, the candidate needs to have a bachelor’s degree or should be in the final year of the bachelor’s degree at the time of registration. Candidates who have four years of professional work experience or a combination of work/college experience are also eligible. It takes a minimum of two years to complete all the levels of CFA, provided you clear all the CFA levels in the first attempt and consecutively. You need a minimum of 6 months to prepare for the Level I CFA®.
A candidate can appear for the Level I CFA® exams in the month of June and December. But to proceed to the next level, the previous level has to be cleared first. The exams are in a Multiple Choice Questions format, and the candidate has to answer all the 240 multiple-choice questions. The exam is held in two sessions, the morning session, and the Afternoon session. Both the sessions are 3 hours long and contain 120 questions each. All the questions, in both the sessions, are equally weighted and are based on all the ten topics. There are no penalties or negative marking for wrong answers in the exams. The Level I CFA® Pass rate for June 2019 was 41%, and the Pass rate for December 2019 was 42%. The average Level I CFA® Pass rate for the past 10 years is 41%.
The Level I CFA® Syllabusconsists of 10 key areas of study which are as follows:
- Ethical and Professional Standards
- Corporate Finance
- Financial Reporting and Analysis
- Quantitative Methods
- Alternative Investments
- Equity Investments
- Fixed Income
- Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning
Level I CFA® Subjects weightage
Each of the Level I CFA® subject has a different weightage in the exams as given below:
Level I CFA® Topics
|Ethical and Professional Standards||15%|
|Financial Reporting and Analysis||15%|
|Portfolio Management and Wealth Management||06%|
|Financial Reporting and Analysis||11%|
The candidate needs to pay a one-time enrollment fee of USD 450 while enrolling for the CFA course. The registration fees and registration dates are given below:
|Level I CFA® Registration||Level I CFA® Fee||June 2020 Deadline||December 2020 Deadline||February 2021 Deadline|
|Early Registration||USD 700||October 2, 2019||March 25, 2020||June 16, 2020 – August 13, 2020|
|Standard Registration||USD 1000||February 20, 2020||August 19, 2020||November 3, 2020|
|Late Registration||USD 1450||March 11, 2020||September 9, 2020||Not specified as of now|
|Level I CFA® Exam Date||postponed||December 5, 2020 / December 6, 2020||February 23, 2020 – March 1, 2020|
Level I CFA® Exam dates are scheduled usually in the month of June and December. But owing to the current conditions due to the pandemic, the June 2020 exams have been postponed. The December 2020 Level I CFA exams are scheduled to happen on 6th December 2020 in India and other countries in the APAC region. The exams will be held on 5th December 2020 in America and EMEA countries. The Level I CFA® Results are declared within 60 days from the exam dates.
Level I CFA® Study material can be availed as a digital version or the print version. The Print version provides a set of six volumes and can be availed by paying an additional fee of USD 150, which is non-refundable, plus the applicable shipping and customs fees. The digital version charges are covered in the Level I CFA® exam registration fee.
For latest updates on Level I CFA® registration and exam dates, visit CFA Exam Overview