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What is CFA?

The CFA charter handed out by the CFA Institute is one of the most reputed designations for investment professionals. The CFA Institute is a global nonprofit organization of charter holders, portfolio managers and other finance professionals. The institute aims to develop a high level of educational, ethical, and professional standards in the investment industry. CFA charter provides an opportunity for those willing to build a career in domains such as banking, corporate and financial services. Currently, there are over 167,000 charter holders worldwide. If you are considering CFA, click here to understand how it will help you build a career in finance.

CFA Course Details

The program comprises 3 levels. 2021 onwards, Level l of the exam will be conducted four time per year whereas Level ll and Level lll will be conducted twice a year. Check out the CFA Exam Calendar for more details and plan accordingly. Passing all three levels of the CFA program requires a high level of discipline and an extensive amount of studying. One needs to clear all three levels sequentially. From 2021, all CFA exams will be conducted in computer-based mode.

To become a charter holder, a candidate must pass all the three levels of the CFA program, have four years of relevant professional work experience, a bachelor's degree or be in the final year of the bachelor's degree program, or a combination of professional work experience and education totaling four years. The bachelor's program must be completed before registering for the Level II exam. Apart from the educational requirements, the candidate must have an international passport and meet the professional conduct admission criteria.

CFA Syllabus

These exams are conducted in areas related to Economics, Accounting, Ethics, Security Analysis, and Money Management. On average, candidates report investing over 300 hours of study for successfully passing each level.
Level l:
Level l introduces various investment and finance concepts to the candidates. Topics covered in Level l are Financial reporting analysis, Ethics, Quantitative analysis, Fixed income analysis, Equity Investment, Economics, Corporate Finance, Portfolio management and wealth planning, Derivatives, and Alternative Investments. The Level I computer-based exam consists of 180 multiple choice questions, split between two 135-minute sessions.

Level ll:
CFA Level ll emphasizes the valuation of various assets and application of investment tools and concepts. The paper-based exam consists of 20-30 vignettes with a total of 120 multiple-choice questions. The computer-based exam duration will be approximately 4.5 hours. Topics covered in this level include:

  • Ethical and Professional Standards
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Economics
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Corporate finance
  • Equity Investments
  • Fixed Income
  • Derivatives
  • Alternative Investments
  • Portfolio Management

Level lll:
CFA Level lll emphasizes portfolio management and effective wealth planning. The exam consists of structured essay questions and ten multiple-choice questions to be completed within six hours. The computer-based exam duration will be approximately 4.5 hours. Topics included in the syllabus are:

  • Ethical and Professional Standards
  • Behavioural Finance, Individual Investors, and Institutional Investors
  • Capital Market Expectations
  • Asset Allocation
  • Fixed Income and Equity Portfolio Management
  • Alternative Investments, Risk Management, and the application of Derivatives
  • Portfolio: Execution, Evaluation and Attribution, and Global Investment Performance Standards

CFA Course Fees

There is a one-time enrolment fee of USD 450 for the first time a candidate registers for the Level l exam. The minimum cost of all three levels is USD 2550 (considering early registration for all the three levels). This includes a discounted early registration fee of USD 700. The early registration fee is USD 700, Standard registration fee is USD 1000 and Late registration fee is USD 1450.

To know more about how to become a CFA, click here.