Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Certification

By | March 14, 2010

In the world of finance there are many levels of education and merits that one can earn in order to enhance his/her attractiveness as a job candidate and ability once working. These can be an MBA, Masters in finance or accounting, Bloomberg Certification, and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) -among many others.. The main focus of this article is going to be the CFA certification. With a CFA certification, the world of financial jobs is yours. Many people do not know about being a CFA or exactly what a CFA is. First of all, a CFA is someone in the financial field who has completed the CFA program, a series of high-intensity and high-difficulty examinations covering advanced financial concepts. Becoming CFA certified requires hours dedicated to the self-taught program. We will discuss what CFA is, how to become a CFA, and the importance and benefits of becoming a CFA.

CFA covers topics like ethics, accounting, and other advanced finance. The CFA website has a detailed outline of topics, but we will mention some of the big ones. First of all, in ethics the exams cover professionalism and practices. It talks about how to carry yourself and act both in and out of a professional setting. It also talks about not breaking the rules or law. The tests also cover mathematical and quantitative fields. Fundamental areas discussed are statistics, time value of money, interest, time series, and securities analysis. General microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts are covered in the next section. After economics naturally comes corporate finance and financial analysis. Equity, fixed income, and financial engineering topics such as derivatives are then covered. The final section deals with “portfolio management and wealth planning.” As can be seen, there is a natural progression of topics from basic to very difficult. In terms of material, post-graduate program materials are covered. Some sort of masters or MBA is just about required in order to successfully complete the program. The requirements of the program are four years of college or qualified work or some combination of the two. While only a bachelor’s degree is required, most people would not be able to complete the program because of the difficulty of the material and amount of time required to study. Becoming a CFA takes time and effort. First of all, a CFA candidate must be accepted into the program. The CFA Institute will look at education, experience, and merit. After being accepted into the program, CFA candidates must study from CFA course books. The CFA Institute recommends studying 250+ hours for each test, which are given in June and December. The program consists of three tests, each covering different and progressively more difficult topics. If a test is failed, the examinee may re-take the test as many times as needed. There is no limit to the time a candidate takes to complete all three exams. The only problem is that there is a fee for each test, so failing multiple times can get expensive. After completing all three exams successfully, the CFA certification is yours and, in turn, so are most financial jobs.

There are many benefits to becoming a CFA. These benefits range from prestige, knowledge, and networking. You will have power in the job market. Employers will trust you, see your dedication, and understand that you are intelligent, even a step above other potential employees. Being able to put CFA on your resume is invaluable. Any employer will feel confident in your ability if you become a CFA. Also, the certification will allow you to progress in your career because of the title and because of the knowledge gained from being a CFA. Also, becoming a CFA carries a network of elite, high ranking financial executives. The CFA program gives you networking beyond what you would normally get, since CFA’s look out for each other. Becoming a CFA makes you a leader and gives you the opportunity to become a leader in an organization.

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5 thoughts on “Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Certification

  1. Sankalp

    Nice article. Very energetic true and motivating one……!!!

    Hope me get through all the levels of CFA….

    God plzz bless me …!!

  2. John Davis

    I am someone from IT consulting backgroud with over 10+ in the field. However I have this passion to move into investment banking and I simply love it. I started it and currently at CFA L2 and in the process. What are my chances of making a career move once I am done with all levels. Can someone in the industry please advice?

  3. Jabberwocky

    Mr Davis…you are not alone. I am in the financial management field but want to switch over to investment banking too.

    I on the other hand am just beginning. Fingers crossed for all alike.

  4. ken ma

    I’ve passed all levels at first attemps before getting into financial field…then I started my career as a fund administrator…what i am trying to say is working experience is really critical, as well as your network

  5. Eric

    I say this as someone who has passed all three levels: this will be critical in helping you get into money management. It MAY help you get into ibanking. By all means if you want to get into ibanking, take the CFA, it will help keep your resume from going into reject pile… but I would argue that networking is more important.
    Cheers.

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