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What is CFA? Course Details, Full Form, Exam Pattern, Fees, Syllabus, Scope & Career Opportunities

28 July,2022  |  By Brainwonders

What is CFA

Table of Content:

  • Who is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)?
  • About Chartered Financial Analyst Course
  • Chartered Financial Analyst Course Eligibility Criteria 
  • CFA All levels Important Details
  • CFA Exams Syllabus with Weightage
  • How much do the CFA Exams cost?
  • How long does it take to clear all the CPA exams?
  • Do the CFA Exams contain Multiple Choice Questions?
  • Is there any internship required in the CFA Program?
  • Scope of CFA 
  • Which Industries are open to CFAs?

Who is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)?

A Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA is a globally recognised professional identity given by the CFA Institute that measures and certifies a financial analyst's competence, diligence and integrity. It is one of the most respected professions in finance and accounting and is popularly considered the gold standard in investment analysis. Chartered Financial Analysts advise the companies regarding potential risks and costs which are associated with any business decision based on detailed predictions about the output or outcomes of these decisions. They look after the investment, assets and fiscal health of a company. 

About Chartered Financial Analyst Course

In order to become a successful Chartered Financial Accountant, you need to clear all three levels of CFA, which are framed by the CFA Institute (formerly known as the AIMR (Association for Investment Management and Research):

  • CFA Level 1
  • CFA Level 2
  • CFA Level 3

Candidates or CFA aspirants must pass all three levels of exams covering economics, ethics, money management, accounting and security analysis. Passing the CFA exams requires strong discipline, dedication, determination, consistency and extensive study. After completing all the CFA levels, the individuals become CFA charter holders. 

Chartered Financial Analyst Course Eligibility Criteria 

Before pursuing a Chartered Financial Analyst Course, the candidate needs first to meet the following educational requirements:

  • The candidate must have four years of professional job experience, a bachelor's degree or be in the last year of a bachelor's degree programme, or a combination of four years of professional work experience and education. 
  • The bachelor's programme must be completed before registering for the Level II exam for the undergraduate qualification. 
  • In addition, the candidate must have an international passport, appear for the English assessment, meet the needs of the professional admission criteria and live in a participating country. 

CFA All levels Important Details

CFA Level 1:

The CFA Level 1 examination can be taken a year thrice. This initial stage of CFA focuses on the analysis using the tools of ethics, professional standard, portfolio management, corporate finance, economics, qualitative methods, derivatives, alternative investments, wealth planning, financial reporting and analysis, equity investment, and fixed income. The CFA Level I exam is computer-based and consists of 180 multiple-choice questions. This examination is divided into two 135-minute sessions. Over the last decade, the average passing rate for the CFA level 1 exam has been around 41%.

Month Date
February 15 Feb – 21 Feb 2022
May 17 May – 23 May 2022
August 23 Aug – 29 Aug 2022

CFA Level 2:

The CFA Level 2 is conducted twice a year. This exam level focuses on the valuation of various assets and demonstrates the application of investment aspects, concepts and tools in a contextual situation. Exam questions referring to Financial Reporting & analysis are mostly based on International Financing Reporting Standards. It is a computer-based exam, divided into two equal sessions of 2 hours and 12 minutes each. The CFA Level II exam comprises item sets made up of vignettes (Case Studies) with 88 multiple-choice questions. The average passing rate for the CFA level 2 exam over the last decade is around 45%.

Month Dates
February 22 Feb – 26 Feb 2022
August 30 Aug – 3 Sept 2022

CFA Level 3:

The Level 3 exam is also held twice a year. This examination aims at effective wealth planning and portfolio management by requiring the candidate to understand and accumulate all the concepts and analytical methods in the entire curriculum. It is a computer-based exam, divided into two equal sessions of 2 hours and 12 minutes each. The first session of the Level III examination consists of 8 to 11 vignettes followed by written response questions (Also known as Constructed Response). The second session of the Level III examination consists of vignettes (Case Studies) with 44 multiple-choice questions. Over the last decade, the average passing rate for the CFA level 3 exam has been around 52%.

Month Dates
May 24 May – 26 May 2022
August 30 Aug – 6 Sept 2022

CFA Exams Syllabus with Weightage

Topics Level I Level II Level III
Ethical and Professional Standards 15-20% 10-15% 10-15%
Quantitative Methods 8-12% 5-10% 0
Economics 8-12% 5-10% 5-10%
Financial Reporting and Analysis 13-17% 10-15% 0
Corporate Finance 8-12% 5-15% 0
Portfolio Management 5-8% 5-15% 35-40%
Equity Investment 10-12% 10-15% 10-15%
Fixed Income Instruments 10-12% 10-15% 15-20%
Derivatives 5-8% 5-10% 5-10%
Alternative Investment 5-8% 5-10% 5-10%

How much do the CFA Exams cost?

The entire CFA course fees range between INR 1,25,000 to 4,00,000. The entire course includes all the costs such as registration fees, enrollment fees, exam fees, books fees, and other fees.

How long does it take to clear all the CPA exams?

The CFA exams are difficult to crack and have a low success rate. On average, each CFA level requires 300 hours of study. On average, students who complete all the CFA exam levels generally take 4 years for successful completion.

Do the CFA Exams contain Multiple Choice Questions?

The CFA level 1 exam consists entirely of MCQ type 240 questions. The level 2 exam questions entirely consist of item set questions. Level 3 exam consists of constructed response items during the morning session and items set questions during the afternoon. Constructed response items usually consist of numerous elements tied to a case study discussing one or more investment issues.  

Is there any internship required in the CFA Program?

No, you can complete your CFA course without an internship and begin working full-time after passing your CFA examinations. However, a three-year practical experience is required before becoming a CFA Charterholder; this experience can be gained before, during, or after education. 

Scope of CFA 

Chartered Financial Accountants are among the most respected professions in India. After completing all the CFA level exams, they have impeccable opportunities at their doorstep. The scope of CFA is increasing daily in the field of finance with the job prospects of Portfolio Manager, Risk Manager, Corporate Financial Analyst, Investment Banking Analyst, and Research Analyst. 

There is an extensive demand for CFA professionals in India as well as abroad. That is why top finance companies like Deloitte, JP Morgan Chase, PwC, KPMG, Deutsche Bank, Motilal Oswal, and Bank of America, amongst many others, have hired CFAs since the completion of Level 1 itself. 

The pay packages are comparable to that of CAs, with a CFA salary ranging from INR 4 to 8 LPA. One frequently asked issue is whether CFA Level 1 students are recruited and paid. Yes, CFA Level 1 students are hired and compensated with packages ranging from INR 4 to 6 LPA, depending on the company and profile. A fully qualified CFA Level 3 would earn between INR 7 and 10 LPA. 

Which Industries are open to CFAs?

Aside from the finance sector, there are numerous other employment opportunities for Chartered Financial Accountants. The following employment areas are listed: 

  • Banking
  • Corporate Finance
  • Wealth Management
  • Equity Research
  • Leasing
  • Insurance Management
  • Business and Financial Consulting
  • Merchant Banking
  • Portfolio Management
  • Corporate Treasuries
  • Real Estate and Commodity Markets
  • Mutual Funds
  • Investment Banking
  • Corporate Laws
  • International Accounting

We hope this blog will help you and direct you if you are planning to start your career as a Chartered Financial Analyst. If you still find yourself stuck in between, reach out to our Expert team of Career Counsellors at Brainwonders, and we will assist you in figuring out your interest and map down the career based on your interest.

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