CFA Program 

The CFA Charter is the gold standard for investment professionals.  To earn a CFA charter, an individual must:

  • Have four years of qualified investment work experience
  • Become a member of CFA Institute
  • Pledge to adhere to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
  • Complete the CFA Program 

The CFA Program is extremely rigorous. It is organized into three levels, each culminating in a six-hour exam. Completing the Program takes most candidates between two and a half and five years and covers some 8,000 pages of material. On average, a successful charter candidate will spend 5 years in the Program. The Program is self-paced, so candidates who successfully complete the program show tremendous discipline, commitment and a thorough knowledge of the profession. The Program reflects a broad Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) developed and continuously updated by active practitioners to ensure that charterholders possess knowledge grounded in the real world of today’s global investment industry. The CFA Program has been compared to the rigor of a master's degree. Many have even said the letters “CFA” can mean more than the letters “MBA.” Over the past two decades, the CFA charter has overtaken the MBA as the “must-have” credential in the investment business.  Click here to read more about the value of a CFA Charter. 

Value to Investors 

Investors are well-served by seeking out investment advisors holding the CFA designation.  An investment advisor who has the CFA Charter has completed an extensive knowledge-based curriculum with practical experience in the industry.  But, perhaps even more importantly, the CFA Charter is synonymous with the highest ethical standards of behavior.  The financial crisis created an environment of mistrust and doubt around the investment profession.  The CFA designation brings along with it a symbol of trust.  Each year, CFA charterholders reaffirm in writing their adherence and commitment to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

Value to Employers

Employers cite the extensive knowledge charterholders possess—in investment topics outside their own specializations—as one of the primary reasons for hiring them.  Additionally, because the CFA Program's rigorous curriculum emphasizes principles common to every market, employers recognize that CFA charterholders have a broad investment perspective and a profound understanding of the global marketplace.

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Value to an Individual

The CFA Program equips you with the practical and fundamental knowledge you need for a wide variety of careers in the investment profession.  Completing the Program places you in elite company, confirming your mastery of the curriculum and your success in passing all three exam levels. Learn more about the career advantage you gain by earning the CFA charter.