First awarded in 1963, the CFA charter has become known as the gold standard of professional credentials within the global investment community. Around the world, employers and investors recognize the CFA designation as the definitive standard for measuring competence and integrity in the fields of portfolio management and investment analysis.
The CFA Program’s self-study curriculum allows even the busiest investment professional to participate. The curriculum develops and reinforces a fundamental knowledge of investment principles. The three levels of examination verify a candidate’s ability to apply these principles across all areas of the investment decision-making process. And the program’s professional conduct requirements demand that both CFA candidates and charterholders adhere to the highest standards of ethical responsibility.
Drawing on a broad-based Body of Knowledge™, the CFA Program is intended to supplement the education and work experience of investment professionals. Although the program is open to a wide range of investment specialists, the curriculum emphasizes the knowledge and skills needed to be involved in asset valuation or portfolio management.
The CFA Program is comprised of three levels, each culminating in an examination. You must pass each level sequentially, and fulfill other requirements of the program, before earning the right to use the CFA designation. In general, each level of the program requires a minimum of 250 hours of preparation, although time will vary from candidate to candidate based on familiarity with the material. The Level I examination is composed of multiple-choice questions, Level II is composed of item sets (multiple choice questions based on a common vignette), and Level III consists of essays and item sets.
Global acceptance of the CFA charter has led to tremendous growth in the program over the past decade. More than 100,000 investment professionals from more than 150 nations enrolled for the 2014 examinations.