The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)


The CFA Institute is best known for developing and administering The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) ® curriculum and exams and issuing the CFA charter. Established in 1962, the program sets the global standard for investment knowledge, standards and ethics.

One is eligible to earn the credential after passing a series of three sequential, six hour exams over at least two years, working as an investment professional for a minimum of 3 – 4 years and committing to abide by the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and

Standards of Professional Conduct. The CFA Institute of USA., established in 1962 has an international reputation for setting the highest standards of ethics and professional excellence.

Entry Requirements

A student must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree or be in his or her final undergraduate year at the time of registration.
  • At least 4 years of qualified professional work experience.

Course Structure

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. This Candidate Body of Knowledge consists of 10 general topic areas that provide a framework for making investment decisions.

Topic areas for CFA examinations

  • Ethical and Professional Standards (total)
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Economics
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Corporate Finance
  • Investment Tools (total)
  • Analysis of Equity Investments
  • Analysis of Fixed Income Investments
  • Analysis of Derivatives
  • Analysis of Alternative Investments
  • Asset Valuation (total)
  • Portfolio Management (total)

Total of 10 topic areas are grouped into 4 functional areas:

  • Ethical and Professional Standards,
  • Investment Tools,
  • Asset Valuation and
  • Portfolio Management.

The CFA examinations have always focused on testing investment tools at Level 1, asset valuation (security analysis) at Level II, and portfolio management at Level III. This structure is the logical progression of the investment progress: A practitioner needs to master investment tools to apply those tools to security valuation, and securities need to be valued and then analyzed in a risk-return port-folio context. Because integrity must be exercised throughout the investment process, CFA Institute has emphasized ethical and professional standards at each level.

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