Learn about CFA Program, CFA Charter and CFA Institute.
What is the CFA Program?
The CFA Program is a global graduate level self-study program that combines a broad based curriculum with professional conduct requirements to prepare candidates for a wide range of investment specialties. The program’s breadth and depth builds a fundamental knowledge of global investment principles that apply in every market all over the world.

Anchored by a practice-based curriculum, the CFA Program is based on the knowledge identified by professionals as essential to the investment decision-making process. This Candidate Body of Knowledge™ covers 10 general topic areas ranging from equity and fixed-income analysis to portfolio management to corporate finance.

The CFA Program curriculum is delivered in a candidate-friendly, integrated format and is organized into 18 study sessions to help candidates schedule their preparation time. Each study session includes readings, learning outcome statements, and problem sets to demonstrate the practical application of one’s knowledge.

You won’t find an educational experience that better equips you with the fundamental knowledge you need to work in today’s world of professional investing than the CFA.
What is a CFA charterholder?
CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst. This is a professional qualification awarded by CFA Institute, Virginia, USA. First awarded in 1963, the CFA charter has become known as “the gold standard” of professional credentials within the global investment community. Investors recognize the CFA designation as the definitive standard for measuring competence and integrity in the fields of portfolio management and investment analysis. The CFA designation is a mark of distinction that is globally recognized by employers, investment professionals and investors as the definitive standard “the gold standard” by which to measure serious investment professionals. . (www.cfainstitute.org).
What are the Six C's of CFA Charterholders?
CFA Charterholders are:

Charterholders demonstrate a mastery of essential finance, investment and analysis knowledge by studying the rigorous curriculum and passing three challenging exams.

The CFA designation inspires trust in charterholders’ expertise and cultivates confidence among clients and prospective global business partners.

CFA charterholders embody high ethical standards and objectivity, and dedicate themselves to staying informed through lifelong learning.

Charterholders set themselves apart with their commitment to excellence and a profound understanding of the global marketplace.

The examination evolves every year to reflect changing industry developments and new challenges.

Charterholders can tap into a network of more than 82,000 other investment professionals around the world.
Why the CFA Designation is well recognized around the globe?
Employers and media around the world acclaim the CFA designation as the standard of professional excellence. Because the program’s rigorous curriculum emphasizes principles common to every market, employers and clients recognize that professionals with the CFA designation have a thoroughly global investment perspective and a profound understanding of the global marketplace. With such widespread recognition, CFA charterholders earn a significant competitive advantage for international employment. The CFA charter is recognized around the world as a measure of competence, integrity, and passion; and employers are willing to pay a premium to investment professionals who have earned this designation. Many employers stipulate the CFA charter as a requirement for investment-related positions and/or for advancement to more senior positions.
What are the requirements to be a CFA® Charterholder?
CFA Institute has established the following requirements for securing your CFA charter.
  • Successful completion of Level I, II, and III CFA examinations.
  • At least four years of acceptable professional work experience related to the investment decision making process, which may be accrued prior to, during, or after completing your examinations. (Visit cfainstitute.org for details about work experience requirements.)
  • Become a member of CFA Institute and apply for membership with a CFA Institute member society. (See “Member Resources” at cfainstitute.org.)
  • Agree to comply with, among other things, the CFA Institute conditions, requirements, policies and procedures defined in the CFA Institute Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Code of Ethics, and Standards of Professional Conduct.
  • Once you become a charterholder, you must submit a Professional Conduct Statement and pay membership dues annually.
What subjects are covered by the CFA Body of Knowledge (or the CFA Program)?
The CFA Program’s curriculum reflects a body of knowledge that is grounded in practice and maintains current relevance through a regular, extensive survey of practicing CFA charterholders. It compels investment professionals to build a working knowledge of investment principles across core areas of the industry. This Candidate Body of Knowledge consists of 10 general topic areas that provide a framework for making investment decisions. The curriculum changes each year to meet the dynamic nature and complexity of the global investment profession. These ten areas are :
  • Ethical and Professional Standards
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Economics
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Corporate Finance
  • Equity Investments
  • Fixed Income
  • Derivatives
  • Alternative Investments
  • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning
When to Register for CFA Program with CFA Institute?
Registration usually opens about 11 months before each exam and closes almost 3 months before the exam, so that should give you enough time to study and ensure that you get that six months of preparation. However you can avail certain discounts by registering earlier. Please refer to fee schedule to know about different deadlines of CFA Institute.
Are there any International Regulatory Waivers for CFA Charterholders and Candidates?
The CFA charter is also held in high regard by the regulatory community. Regulatory bodies in the following jurisdictions provide waivers from certain licensing or qualification requirements for those who have passed Levels I or II of the CFA exam, or have received the CFA designation:
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Ontario
  • Saskatchewan
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Turkey
  • United States
I am interested in pursuing the CFA charter, but I do not have a degree in business?
The CFA program is by no means an introduction to the world of investment. CFA Institute describes the CFA program as being supplementary to any finance-related education and investment experience already completed by an investment professional. This means that those who have mastered and gone beyond the basics in terms of financial education will have a higher chance of completion, as the program is formulated to be an advanced-level series of exams. However, even if you do not have any experience in the world of finance, and have not obtained a degree in finance, you do still have a good chance of completing the course. Your path will be bit more challenging, as you not only have to master the CFA curriculum, but the basics of the curriculum. One aspect of the CFA program that works in favor of individuals without any financial experience or knowledge is that it also intends to broaden the knowledge base of investment professionals, who tend to focus on particular areas of finance. As such, they do have preliminary readings where a candidate can review fundamentals prior to delving into the actual CFA program material.
Who administers the CFA Program?
The CFA Program, its curriculum, exams, and grading, are administered by CFA Institute. CFA Institute is an international, not-for-profit organization with a mission to lead the investment profession globally by setting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence. CFA INSTITUTE NETWORK
  • Nearly 100,000 members in 134 countries
  • 82,000 CFA charterholders
  • 136 member societies in 57 countries
What is the basic structure of exam at each level?
At Level I, candidates are asked basic knowledge and comprehension questions and must perform some analysis. At Level II, the emphasis is on analysis and application, while Level III focuses on synthesis and integration.

  • Tools and concepts that apply to investment valuation and portfolio management
  • Basic concepts regarding securities and markets
  • CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
  • Asset valuation
  • Application of tools and concepts of investment valuation
  • Industry and company analysis
  • CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
  • Management of institutional and individual portfolios
  • Management of specific asset class portfolios
  • CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
How much time commitment is required to complete the CFA Program?
It varies from one candidate to other. Most successful candidates spend a substantial amount of time preparing for the exams. You should set a schedule that you're comfortable with and that fits your personal and work demands. A good plan is to devote 20-25 hours per week for 18 weeks to study for each of the exams. Out of these 18 weeks you will need to study full time for last 4 weeks, in which you will review the whole curriculum and will take mock exams. Keep in mind that this does not include preliminary review, which may be necessary for those without a college-level familiarity of economics or accounting.
Where can I get additional information on CFA Program, CFA Charter or CFA Institute?
You can visit CFA Institute's website at http://www.cfainstitute.org