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CFA Designation Guide | 1 Page Guide to the CFA Designation

CFA Designation

1 Page Guide to the CFA Designation

The CFA designation sets the standard in the investment world for knowledge, standards, and ethics. It is offered my the CFA institute to candidates who complete a series of three examinations, have a bachelors degree and/or four years of professional experience.

To earn the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter, you must successfully pass through the CFA Program, a graduate-level self-study program that combines a broad curriculum with professional conduct requirements, culminating in a series of three sequential Chartered Financial Analyst exams. Level I exams are held in June and December. Levels II and III are only held in June.

The CFA designation is mainly concerned with the areas of investment banking, portfolio/investment management, and financial analysis of stocks, bonds, and derivatives. The CFA designation is also a mark of very high ethics. All CFA charterholders must adhere to a strict code of conduct and pay member dues.

The curriculum includes Ethics and Professional Standards, Quantitative Methods (such as the time value of money, and statistical inference), Economics, Financial Statement Analysis, Corporate Finance, Analysis of Investments (stocks, bonds, derivatives, venture capital, real estate, etc.), and Portfolio Management and Analysis (asset allocation, portfolio risk, performance measurement, etc.)

The CFA pass rate has one of the lowest passing rates of industry wide examinations. This is due to the fact that the CFA Charter is viewed as one of the most challenging credentials to obtain within the investment profession. The CFA pass rate is recorded for various countries/regions throughout the world and for each individual examination.For 2007 , the global Level I pass rate and Level II pass rate were both 40 percent while the level III pass rate was 50 percent.

Why the CFA designation in important is due to the high level of respect it commands due to the rigorous course of study and high ethical standards it maintains. An individual consumer can feel confident when working with a CFA charterholder that his money and investments will be in the best possible hands. The CFA designation is also highly valued by employers in the financial world. Some of the top companies to employ CFA charterholders include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc, Salomon Smith Barney, and JP Morgan & Co.. Currently there are more than 50,000 individuals with the CFA designation representing 100 countries and territories throughout the world.

Learn more about the CFA, CHP and CAIA within our Career Guide by clicking here.

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