CFA – Certified Financial Analyst

Defining CFA

Chartered Financial Analyst also called as CFA has emerged as one of the most respected designations in the field of wealth management and finance. Due to its popularity and job potential it’s considered as gold standard in the field of investment analysis.

CFA is a professional degree in the field of finance and wealth management where students get to learn various aspects of managing portfolio and analysing the scopes of profits. However, students must know that they are required to pass three levels of exams that include subjects like Economics, Accounting, Money-management, ethics and security management. Asides a candidate willing to get certified need to have at least 4 years of experience in the field of investment and finance.

What CFA’s Study?

CFAs need to pass three different exams and all are of different nature to gauge the potential of the students in various concerned field still in general they are taught below mentioned subjects comprehensively so that they get to know the real environment of the working. The topics are:

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

The degree awarded by CFA institute is valid in more than 100 countries and it is seen as benchmark for becoming a successful finance professionals. According to the CFA Institute, "The CFA Institute membership in more than 100 countries can be seen as a microcosm of the global investment profession, with virtually every type of investment professional at every type of investment firm represented."

The Bottom Line:

In a nutshell we can say that CFA is gaining huge popularity these days among students and individuals who are willing to carve a niche in the field of finance and wealth management however students need to admit that it’s not a cake walk as they need to get prepared for rigorous studies.

CFA Objectives

The designation of CFA is being considered as the benchmark for professionals willing to make a career in the field of finance, portfolio management and wealth management. The degree is awarded to professionals who have successfully completed the requirements set by the globally recognized CFA Institute. Keeping this aim in mind ICoFP was conceived a few years back and since then it has helped more than 10,000 students in carving a career in this field. To be eligible for the CFA designation, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Professionals need to have 4years ( 48 months) of acceptable professional work experience in the field of finance and wealth management
  •  Pass three rigorous, six-hour exams over several years.
  •  Join the CFA institute by committing to the CFA Institute's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

Viewing the dynamic nature of the economic structure it’s important to have a complete and comprehensive knowledge of the subjects that professionals will be working in their practical life. Some of the important subjects are Quantitative Methods, Ethical and Professional Standards, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Economics, Fixed Income, Corporate Finance, Equity Investments, Derivatives, Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning and Alternative Investments

Some other topics that professionals need to get acquainted with are Corporate Finance, Equity Investments, Derivatives, Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning, Alternative Investments. As a whole we can say that objective of the designation is to let professionals understand the nitty-gritty of financial and wealth management. Viewing this ICoFP was conceived a few years back and since then it has not looked back and is helping students to attain the CFA objectives without investing much of their time and energy.

The CFA degree holders are sought by various companies and enterprises in their accounts department and these individuals can seek various level positions at institutional investment firms, insurance companies, broker-dealers, pension funds, banks and universities. Other than that some professionals go on to work for governments in the areas of regulation and public policy.

CFA Course Content

It is undisputedly admitted that CFA designations is one of the foremost important ingredient to carve a better niche in the field of finance and wealth management still we need to admit the fact that the journey is not a cake walk and odds of success from start to finish are very slim and this is why getting CFA designation requires well-planned learning strategy and diligent labour. According to reports less than 20% of those who begin this challenge reach the end.

And the journey starts with understanding the CFA course contents which is meant at empowering professionals with every aspects of finance and wealth management. Students need to master almost all these field to get pass the exam. Some of the topics that students need to give emphasis are:

→ Quantitative Methods

→ Financial Reporting and Analysis

→ Economics

→ Fixed Income

→ Corporate Finance

→ Ethical and Professional Standards

→ Equity Investments

→ Derivatives

→ Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

→ Alternative Investments

The Exam Topic Weights is as follows

Topic Area

Level I

Level II

Level III

Ethical & Professional Standards

15

10-15

10-15

Quantitative Methods

12

5-10

0

Economics

10

5-10

5-15

Financial Reporting and Analysis

20

15-20

0

Corporate Finance

7

5-15

0

Equity Investments

10

15-25

5-15

Fixed Income

10

10-20

10-20

Derivatives

5

5-15

5-15

Alternative Investments

4

5-10

5-15

Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

7

5-10

40-55

Total

100

100

100

To sum-up everything we can say that there is no magic formula to crack the CFA program but an organized, disciplined approach will help you pass each level of the program and ultimately achieve your goal. And the first step of the whole process starts with understanding the CFA Contents.

CFA Eligibility

CFA® or Charter Financial Analysts is a professional designation offered by CFA Institute USA to assess the eligibility and competence of a finance professional in the field of portfolio and wealth management. Since the degree gains global recognition professionals dreams of getting this degree viewing its importance in career growth. CFA eligibility is something they need to address prior to sitting in the exam.

However, to ensure only competent and eligible candidates receives this degree professionals are required to go through a rigorous sets of exams and monitoring where professionals are examined for their in-depth knowledge in the field of Economics, Accounting, Money-management, ethics and security management. So the whole point is that not just anyone can become a CFA®. All we can say that the designation is a very specific professional designation and is a testament to your expertise, competence, hard work, dedication and expertise. To get awarded with this degree professionals need to :

  • Have a Bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited college
  • University OR be a college/university senior (i.e. in your final year)
  • Or have at least 4 years of professional work experience (without a degree)
  •  Have a combination of 4 years of college/university and professional experience (not necessarily investment related. N.B.: summer, part-time and internships do not qualify)

Some other basic requirements that professionals need to complete prior to getting awarded are:

  • Professionals need to qualify to take the exams and pass all of them. In addition to passing exam levels I, II and III, you must:
  • Agree to comply with the CFA® Institute's conditions, requirements and procedures as defined in the CFA® institute Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
  • They need to Apply and be accepted for CFA® Institute membership
  • They need to submit an annual Professional Conduct Statement and pay annual membership dues to ensure you remain a charter holder

CFA Exam Schedules

It is admitted globally that CFA designations is one of the foremost important credential a finance professional can earn to ensure a higher growth rate in for their career. The aforementioned designation is a professional credential offered by the CFA Institute to professionals who are in the field of Investment and Financial.

The program comprises of three different Levels and the minimum time required to clear all three is around 2.5 years (although the overall average is around 4 years). CFA Program charter holder membership requirements include, but not limited to 48 months of acceptable professional work experience and passing the Level I, Level II, and Level III exams. However, due to its tough nature getting awarded with CFA designation requires well-planned learning strategy and diligent labour. According to reports less than 20% of those who begin this challenge reach the end.

According to reports from sources CFA charter holders earn an astounding 50% more than their peers. Professionals who were certified are mostly recruited by tier-1 companies like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse.

For those professionals want to know CFA Exam schedule can have a look on the below given table:

January 2014

December exam registration opens

13 March 2014

First fee schedule deadline to register for the December exam

March 2014

Practice tests and mock exam available

20 August 2014

Second fee schedule deadline to register for the December exam

17 September 2014

 Final fee schedule deadline to register for the December exam

 

23 September 2014

Final deadline for disability and religious alternate date accommodation requests to be received by CFA Institute

 

13 October 2014

Test centre change request deadline

November 2014

Exam admission tickets become available

6 December 2014

Exam day

December 2014

January 2015Exams graded

January 2015

Exam results are available

FAQ – Finance Analyst Courses

The importance of CFA is known world-wide and professionals who are in the field of finance and wealth-management dreams of getting awarded with this degree. Once you are awarded with this degree odds are that you may earn 50% higher salary than your fellow counterparts. While on the one hand the degree opens the door of myriad opportunities on the other hand it requires students to get prepared for a long and tough journey of studies and learning.

Here are some important facts of Finance analysis courses

  • CFA is the most recognized global designation for finance professionals across the globe.
  • CFA Program is a professional credential offered by the CFA Institute USA to professionals who are working in the field of finance and investment.
  • According to reports from various sources, top employers of CFA charter holders include JP tier-I companies like, Bank of America, Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse.
  • CFA charter holders earn an astounding 50% more than their peers
  • CFA degree holders are considered as experts in finance by companies, organizations, clients, recruiters and employers.
  • CFA certified professionals are especially skilled in Investment Banking, Portfolio Management, Investment Research and Security Analysis etc.

Some of the Important Topics and Subjects that CFAs read are:

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

Some other requirements to get awarded are:

  • Professionals need to have 4years ( 48 months) of acceptable professional work experience in the field of finance and wealth management
  •  Pass three rigorous, six-hour exams over several years.
  •  Join the CFA institute by committing to the CFA Institute's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

Job Prospects of Finance Analyst

CFA® or Charter Financial Analysts is a professional designation offered by CFA Institute USA to assess the eligibility and competence of a finance professional in the field of portfolio and wealth management. Since the degree gains global recognition professionals dreams of getting this degree viewing its importance in career growth. CFA eligibility is something they need to address prior to sitting in the exam. The responsibilities incurred by these individuals are great and hence companies and organizations are looking for professionals who are CFA certified. Once you are certified job prospects of finance analyst are huge and sky is the limit then

Work activities depend on the nature and business of the employer, but tasks typically involve:

  • Managing resources of the company wisely
  • Protecting the organisation's assets and public image
  • Considering proposed business decisions
  • Conducting research to assess the severity of risk
  • Liaising with underwriters and insurers
  • Forecasting and monitoring market trends
  • Purchasing insurance
  • Conducting statistical analysis to evaluate risk and using statistical software such as SPSS and SAS
  • Making recommendations to reduce/control risk, which may involve an insurance strategy
  • Reviewing legal documents
  • Presenting ideas via reports and presentations, outlining findings and making recommendations for improvements;
  • Working with traders to calculate the risk associated with specific transactions
  • Analysing a bank's market position and running figures through complex modelling techniques to find value at risk (VAR) measurements;
  • Carrying out quantitative analysis
  • Using financial packages and software, including portfolio management software
  • Studying government legislation, which may affect a company, and advising on compliance
  • Developing contingency plans to deal with emergencies.

Typical work activities: To compile up we can say that the responsibility is immense and they can segregated into below columns

  • Financial Risk Analyst
  • Credit Risk Analyst
  • Market Risk Specialist
  • Operational Risk Analyst
  • Regulatory Risk Specialist