Chartered Financial Analyst - CFA

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program is a professional credential offered by the CFA Institute (formerly AIMR) to investment and financial professionals. A candidate who successfully completes the 'CFA program' and meets other 'CFA professional requirements' is awarded a "CFA charter" and becomes a "CFA charterholder.

The CFA charter is a qualification for finance and investment professionals, particularly in the fields of investment management and financial analysis of stocks, bonds and their derivative assets. The CFA program focuses on portfolio management and financial analysis, and provides a generalist knowledge of other areas of finance. Additionally, the CFA charter has experienced increasing relevance and demand within corporate finance.

The CFA designation was first awarded in 1963. As of March 2012, CFA Institute has about 107,000 members in 138 countries around the world, including about 98,000 CFA charterholders.

To become a charterholder a candidate must satisfy the following requirements.

Complete the CFA Program (mastery of the current CFA curriculum and passing three six-hour examinations)

Possess a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an accredited institution

Have four years (48 months) of qualified work experience (or a combination of education and work experience acceptable by the CFA Institute). However individual level exams may be written prior to satisfying this requirement

Become a member of the CFA Institute and apply for membership to a local CFA member society

Adhere to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct

Independent of any other requirements for becoming a charterholder, the CFA Program takes an average of four years for candidates to complete.

The curriculum for the CFA program is based on a Candidate Body of Knowledge established by CFA Institute. The curriculum comprises the topic areas below, and, as mentioned, there are three exams ("levels") that test the academic portion of the CFA program. All three CFA levels have a strong emphasis on ethics, while the material differences among the exams are:

The CFA Level I study program emphasizes tools and inputs, and includes an introduction to asset valuation, financial reporting and analysis, and portfolio management techniques.

The CFA Level II study program emphasizes asset valuation, and includes applications of the tools and inputs (including economics, financial reporting and analysis, and quantitative methods) in asset valuation.

The CFA Level III study program emphasizes portfolio management, and includes strategies for applying the tools, inputs, and asset valuation models in managing equity, fixed income, and derivative investments for individuals and institutions.

For exams from 2008 onward, candidates automatically receive the curriculum readings from CFA Institute when they register for the exam. There is no possibility to register for the CFA exam without receiving the curriculum. There is also no possibility to order the curriculum separately. If the student fails an CFA exam and has the possibility to resit in the same year, CFA Institute offers a slight rebate and will not send the curriculum again (the curriculum only changes from one year to the next). However if the student resits in a year other than the year of failure, he will receive the curriculum again as it may have been changed. Study materials for the CFA Exams are available at IBL - Islamabad.

The CFA examinations are administered by the CFA Institute, whose headquarters are in Charlottesville, USA, with offices in London and Hong Kong. The Institute is composed of more than 90,000 individual voting members and 135 non-voting member societies who believe in setting a higher standard for the investment profession.