Do you want to become a CFA certified?

You need to know following things before getting enrolled for CFA Exam.

  • What Is CFA?
  • What CFA Can Get You?
  • CFA Exam
  • CFA Fees
  • What Is Studied on Each CFA Level?CFA

What CFA can earn for you?

A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) provides an alternative to taking a Master’s in Business administration (MBA) and delivers a competitive edge for business people who wish to offer financial credentials to employers who value them. This is particularly true in fund management arenas such as Wall Street and wealth management practices.

What Is CFA?

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is not a degree course but in fact it’s a professional certification course offered by the CFA Institute. This is a private body which runs its own CFA study courses which are presently studied in 35 countries with 120,000+ CFA charter holders.

The course itself is broken down into CFA Level 1, CFA Level 2 and CFA Level 3 which have to be taken consecutively, in order. The CFA curriculum is extremely broad covering the subjects of accounting, economics, investment management, proper ethics and financial analysis of investment opportunities.

These investments include stockss, exchange traded funds, mutual funds, fixed income, options and derivatives and other investments besides.

What CFA Can Get You?

Once passing all three CFA Level exams, the student may become a charter member and use the CFA designation after their name. The attainment of the CFA profession qualification is highly respected due to its difficulty which requires a pass rate on all three levels which not everyone can achieve.

Because of the difficulty and the subjects covered, those that become charter holders can apply for jobs in Wall Street with a high degree of success. Indeed, some of the largest employers of charter holders are currently JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and UBS.

Salaries for CFA charter holders depends on experience post-qualification and the pass rate achieved. Starting salaries of $60,000 is not uncommon, with experienced charter holders reaching $80,000-$120,000 levels in time. Charter holders who choose to work in Wall Street are likely to receive the most opportunities, salaries and benefits.

CFA Exam

The CFA exams cover all three levels with most students undertaking just one exam annually. Level I can be sat in March, August or September each year, while Levels II and III may only be sat once a year. Exams are paper-based.

For each level, six hours of complete testing is involved with added time breaks and administration time which makes for a very long day. Multiple choice questions is the main method of examination. Level I has 240 multiple choice questions to answer. Level II has fewer at 120 multiple choice questions, but they’re split up into 20 packs of 6 questions. Level III is a mixed examination including an open answer session, essay-based written responses and a further 10 packs of six multiple choice questions.

For 2011, the pass rate was only achieved by students studying for Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 just 39%, 43% and 51% of the time, respectively. Separate pass grades are given for below 50%, 50–70% and above 70%.

Sample questions similar to what are given in exams are available to help with the study for CPA exams at all levels.

CFA Fees

There is an initial registration fee currently at $450. For exams taken in June 2016 the fees are:

June 2016 Exam (Levels I, II, and III)
Early registration fee Deadline passed (ended 28 September 2015 at 11:59 p.m. ET)
Standard registration fee US$ 860 (ends 17 February 2016)
Late registration fee US$ 1,280 (ends 16 March 2016)

What Is Studied on Each CFA Level?

Level I focuses on the analysis of financial statements, how to value equities, an introduction to economics and the practice of statistics, plus portfolio management approaches.

Level II looks more closely at the analysis of financial statements. Asset valuation is also reviewed more in-depth with a separate focus on how fixed income, derivatives and alternative assets can be valued properly.

Level III completes the course of study with a complete look at how effective portfolio management strategies come together in real life when managing a collection of assets/asset classes within a given portfolio.

With each level, ethics has a strong grounding and impacts across the board.