Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

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Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is currently the most comprehensive and recognized accreditation worldwide for those interested in the field of finance and investment.

An accreditation like the CFA can be your golden passport to landing a well-paying job. Unlike the MBA, which only covers the general aspects of management and business, CFA insists more on the aspects of Finance.

There are also other accreditations that are on the heels of the CFA that delve into different areas or sectors more than the CFA itself, such as Financial Risk Manager (FRM) that focuses more on risk issues or the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), which for his part, he delves more deeply into issues of alternative assets to traditional ones (private equity, real estate, hedge funds, structured products, commodities, portfolio and risk management…).

CFA Institute is a global association of investment professionals. The organization offers certifications and designations as a Certified Financial Analyst. It also provides continuing education through conferences, seminars, webcasts and publications so that its members, and other participants, are updated on the development of the investment industry.

Currently, the international distribution of CFAs is reflected in the following graph:

What is the CFA Program?

The CFA program curriculum covers the concepts and skills that you will use at all stages of your career, it involves connecting academic theory with current practice and professional and ethical standards to provide a solid foundation for investment analysis. advanced and portfolio management skills.

It is a highly specialized English program in a wide range of investment sectors that can be applied in any market around the world, in fact, it is a worldwide valid accreditation.

It can be defined as a graduate-level self-study program for investment professionals. In the UK it has been recognized as a master level education program. It takes at least three years to complete the program.

The CFA Program is divided into four fundamental modules:

  1. Professional ethics.
  2. Investment Tools: which includes Quantitative Methods, Macro and Microeconomic Analysis, Financial Analysis of the Company (Financial Statements, Balance Sheet, Income Statement and Cash Flows), and Corporate Finance.
  3. Asset Valuation: in which the Valuation of Variable Income Assets, Fixed Income and Derivative Products is studied as well as the analysis of other alternative investments.
  4. Portfolio Management: where, among other topics, aspects related to the Diversification of Assets within a Portfolio are studied.

The CFA program includes a series of three exams that are offered at testing centers around the world. To obtain accreditation, you must pass each of the three levels (Level I, Level II and Level III). Each of them 6 hours long.

Level 1 is focused on the study of investment tools and inputs, as well as an introduction to asset valuation and portfolio management techniques. Regarding the exam, all the questions are of the multiple choice (test) type.

Level 2 delves into the valuation of assets as well as the applications of the different inputs and instruments (including macro and micro variables, analysis of financial statements and quantitative methods) of the valuation of assets. As for the exam, it is structured through several cases.

Level 3 focuses on the study of portfolio management and includes strategies for the use of tools, inputs, and asset valuation models for the management of equities, fixed income, and financial derivatives for both individuals and institutions. As for the exam, it is also structured through various cases.

Who can do the CFA?

Anyone who meets the following characteristics can take the CFA exams:

  • Be in the last year of your bachelor's degree program (or equivalent according to countries) or have finished it.
  • Have professional work experience amounting to a maximum of 4 years in the finance area.

To obtain the final accreditation of the CFA you must:

  • Possess a relevant bachelor's degree or experience.
  • Have four years of qualified investment work experience.
  • Not already be a member of the CFA Institute.
  • Apply for membership to a local CFA society.
  • Promise to adhere to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct upon completion.
  • Complete the CFA program (pass all three exams).

Benefits of CFA certification

  • Global Recognition: CFA has a history of six decades, which is the reason they are accepted globally. Anyone with a CFA degree can look for work anywhere in the world, as recognition is homogeneous.
  • Credibility: There is nothing like being considered an expert in the world of finance and having passed its exams.
  • Networking: In addition to gaining recognition around the world, you join a network of 100,000 investment professionals.
  • Respect: It is the most respected certification in the investment industry.

Job functions

Anyone who is already in the Finance field or who wants to change their careers can choose from a wide variety of job roles, the following chart shows where CFAs are currently working:

Specifically, most CFAs develop their professional lives in the following companies, banks and investment companies:

Why is the CFA Program different?

Most graduate programs cover a wide range of topics such as studying for an MBA; The CFA Program specifically focuses on investment awareness. The self-study format makes it easier for you to continue working full time.

Employers know that the CFA program provides the skills necessary to function properly in a tremendously globalized and dynamic marketplace.

You can expand the knowledge of the CFA from the CFA Institute by clicking here.

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