CFA - Chartered Financial Analyst - Course Overview




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    CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Course, Exam, Levels, Eligibility, Registration, Fees, Syllabus 2020-2021

    CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) is a globally recognized credential in the field of Financial Management and Investment Management, provided by the CFA Institute. It includes various subjects like economics, accounting, corporate finance, equity investments and alike.

    CFA qualified individuals are highly respected in their field and have in-depth knowledge related to financial and investment analysis, banking, wealth management, etc.

    Top CFA Institutes in IndiaCFA Jobs & Career

    The minimum CFA eligibility to apply for this exam is a graduation degree in any field and a minimum of 4 years of work experience.

    Alert: CFA Institute has decided to postpone the June 2020 Exam due to the global COVID-19 crisis. The new dates will be informed to the registered candidates on May 4, 2020.

    In order to get CFA certification, students are required to complete the three levels of examinations, i.e., Level I, Level II, and Level III. It can be completed within 1.5 years to 4 years, which totally depends upon the candidate’s caliber.

    Key Highlights of CFA

    • CFA is the most renowned and reputable designation in the world in the field of finance and investment.
    • The designation can be contained after qualifying 3 levels of CFA Exam.
    • This exam is provided by the CFA Institute, which is a global nonprofit organization that aims to promote and develop a high level of educational standard in financial and investment analysis.
    • CFA Exam is typically considered difficult and can be qualified after rigorous and extensive studies and practice.
    • According to recent statistics, the pass rate of Level 1, Level 2 and level 3 is 41%, 44% and 56% respectively.
    • Currently, there are more than 167,000 CFA Chartered worldwide across 164 countries.

    CFA Exam can be qualified by doing self-study as the study material is provided itself by the CFA Institute officially to each registered candidate, either online or they can get the hardcopy as well with a minimal fee.

    But since the exam is considered to be really tough and challenging, therefore there are a number of institutes and coaching centres in India that offer CFA preparation training and CFA Books and Study Material to help in the preparation process. 

    Below are mentioned some of the best CFA preparation institutes in India that are highly considered for the program training. Have a look:

    Name of the InstituteCityAverage Fees
    Central India Institute of Management Studies (CIIMS)JabalpurINR 32,500
    International College of Financial Planning (ICOFP)New DelhiINR 40,000
    Narayana Business SchoolAhmedabadINR 1,25,000
    International College of Financial Planning (ICOFP)KolkataINR 40,000
    Shri Chimanbhai Patel Institute of Professional Training (CPIPT)AhmedabadINR 66,000

    Other than this, there are many other reputed and renowned coaching institutes for CFA exam in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, etc. by the name of Fintree, FinGuru, SSEI, IMS Proschool among others.

    There are many online learning portals as well which you can refer for CFA training such as Solaedea, Schweser, The Princeton Review CFA, AnalystPrep, Kaplan Schweser etc.

    After becoming Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA Chartered, there are huge opportunities for employment in the financial sector in India and Abroad, and you can earn as high as INR 20 LPA after few years of experience. 

    Other Similar Course:  Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

    CFA Registration Process

    CFA Registration Process

    The registration for this exam can be done online only at the official CFA Institute website. Check below for more details. 

    Registration for CFA Level 1 Exam:

    • First, you should create an account on the CFA Institute website, and give the necessary appropriate information and select your preferred exam center.
    • If you are eligible and wish to apply for any scholarship, you are requested to register much earlier to submit your scholarship application.
    • If you are not awarded any scholarship, then the next step would be to pay your application and exam fee that can be done through credit card, wire transfer, etc., and the amount depends upon when exactly you decided to register.
    • There are 3 registration fee deadlines; the first one is the cheapest and the last one is the costliest. Check the table below:
    RegistrationCFA Exam FeeJune 2020 DeadlineDecember 2020 Deadline
    Early RegistrationUSD 700October 2, 2019March 25, 2020
    Standard RegistrationUSD 1000February 20, 2020August 19, 2020
    Late RegistrationUSD 1450March 11, 2020September 9, 2020
    • If you are registering for CFA Level 1 for the first time, then you are required to pay an additional one time enrollment fee of USD 450.
    • During your registration, you should read and accept the Candidate Agreement.
    • You must also submit your Professional Conduct Statement (disclosing relevant reprimands, litigations, Investigations etc.) upon the first CFA exam registration and then annually and before every next exam registration.

    Registration for CFA Level 2 Exam:

    • The process is almost the same for CFA Level 2, as it was for CFA Level 1. 
    • If you are eligible for a scholarship, then apply for it. If not, then you are required to make the exam fee payment before the deadline after selecting the exam centre. This time, there will be no enrollment fee.
    • Read and accept Candidate Agreement and submit Professional Conduct Statement, as done for Level 1.

    Registration for CFA Level 3 Exam:

    • To register for CFA Level 3 exam, you are required to fill it’s registration form online on the official website of CFA Institute with the necessary details and select the preferred exam center.
    • The next step would be to select the suitable eligibility criteria from the given options. Also fill your profession, employer, employer location or education level.
    • Read the Candidate Agreement and accept it after properly reading it.
    • Select the format of the CFA study material you wish to get.
    • Fill the fees via credit card, wire transfer and other payment methods.

    Note: All the CFP exams are conducted in the month of June. For only level 1, it is additionally conducted in the month of December, apart from June.

    CFA Eligibility

    CFA Eligibility

    Candidates should have the following eligibility in order register for the CFA program:

    • A Bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognized college or institute, but students usually from a similar background aspire to become a CFA.
    • Candidates who are in the last year of their Bachelor's degree program can also register to the CFA course. However, candidates must complete their Bachelor course prior to the date of registering for CFA level 2 exam.
    • Candidates should have a minimum of 4 years of work experience or 4 years of work experience and education. Those who are doing internship or articleship or have their own business will also be counted as work experience, basis you are able to show that you are paid for this.
    • Candidates should have a valid passport while registering for the CFA exam.
    CFA Admit Card & Exam Centres

    CFA Admit Card

    CFA Institute issues admit card to the candidates who are appearing for the CFA exam. The admit card can only be downloaded online, and no hard copy is sent to the candidates.

    It is compulsory that you carry your CFA Admit card to the exam center along with a valid, unexpired passport for identification and verification purposes.

    CFA Exam Centres

    There are around 193 locations in 95 countries throughout the world that are included in the CFA test centers. 

    In India, you can select one of the following locations as your exam centre while registering for CFA course:

    • New Delhi
    • Ahmedabad 
    • Bhopal 
    • Bangalore 
    • Mumbai 
    • Chennai 
    • Hyderabad 
    • Jaipur 
    • Kolkata 
    • Lucknow
    • Pune 

    New Additions & Changes in the CFA Exam:

    • From 2021 onwards, the exam will only be conducted in a computer-based mode, and not in the usual pen and paper mode.
    • CFA Level 1 Exam will be conducted in four windows each year- February, May, August, and November.
    • A minimum of 7 days will be offered for each exam window during which the candidates can sit for the CFA Exam.
    • To retake Level 1, candidates are now required to wait for least 6 months to retake the exam.
    • If you qualify Level 1, then again to register for CFA Level 2 exam you are required to wait for 6 months for the next exam.
    CFA Imporant Dates 2020

    CFA Exam 2020 Important Dates

    Check the table below for application and fee payment deadline for all levels of CFP Exams:

    Important EventsJune 2020December 2020
    Registration StartsAugust 8, 2019Feb 5, 2020
    Deadline for Early RegistrationOctober 2, 2019March 26, 20202
    Deadline for Standard RegistrationFebruary 20, 2020August 19, 2020
    Late Fee DeadlineMarch 11, 2020September 9, 2020
    CFA Exam Pattern

    CFA Exam Pattern

    There are three levels of CFA exam that one needs to qualify in order to get the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA Chartered.

    Candidates are required to undertake the exam in both the morning session and the afternoon session.

    CFA Level 1 Exam Pattern

    There are 240 MCQ based questions that are divided between the morning session and afternoon session, each 3 hours long. The Exam topics are same in all the levels that includes Ethical and Professional Standards, Fixed Income Derivatives, etc.

    In the exam, there will be more questions on the concepts and tools that are applied to investment management and valuation purposes.

    CFA Level 2 Exam Pattern

    Again, this is MCQ based exam that includes 120 questions divided between the morning session and evening session, each 3 hours long. 

    The focus is given on the assets valuation, and the candidates will have to apply the concepts and tools that they have learned in Level 1 in the CFA Level 2 exam.

    CFA Level 3 Exam Pattern

    The exam pattern for Level 3 is different than those of Level 1 & 2. The two major types of questions are Item Set and Constructed Response in the form of Essay, and the main focus is given to Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning.

    The Morning session consists of Essay Questions that range from 8-12 questions in number with several subparts, with a maximum of 180 points. The point value will be provided in the exam book n the exam day.

    The Afternoon session consists of 10 Item Set questions.

    Weightage of CFA Exam Topics across Level 1, 2 & 3

    TopicsLevel 1Level 2Level 3
    Ethical and Professional Standards1510-1510-15
    Quantitative Methods105-100
    Financial Reporting and Analysis1510-150
    Corporate Finance105-100
    Equity Investments1110-1510-15
    Fixed Income1110-1515-20
    Alternative Investments65-105-10
    Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning610-1535-40
    How to prepare for CFA Exam?

    How to Prepare for CFA Exams?

    CFA is one the toughest exam in India. Many students aspire to become a CFA Chartered and for this, they prepare for this exam with full concentration and determination. There are 10 important exam topics that comprise the CFA Exam as mentioned in the sections above.

    CFA Level 1 is easy as it involves only the overview of the subject but Level 2 & Level 3 of the exam is the challenging one as it contains the detailed questions on the subject.

    Important Points to keep in mind while preparing for the CFA Exam (All the three levels):

    • Keep a check on the changed pattern and the curriculum of the exam.
    • Prepare important notes of each exam separately. Don’t skip any topic.
    • Follow the syllabus and study material provided by the CFA Institute. If you are opting for coaching or online study, apart from self-study option, then practice as many questions as you can, and keep your theoretical knowledge advanced.
    • Solve Mock tests for speed testing of question-solving.
    • Don’t skip any question since there is no negative marking.
    • Keep using a calculator during the exam whenever you need it.
    • During the exam day, dress comfortably so that you can sit and concentrate properly during the exam.
    CFA: What is it About?

    CFA: What is it About?

    • CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) course is the one that embarks financial and investment management skills in an aspirant.
    • It is a globally recognized program that provides a strong base for the investment analysis world. 
    • CFA course is offered internationally by an American-based organization called CFA institute, which regularizes the syllabus and curriculum details of the CFA program.
    • CFA gives you an overview of the real investment market.
    • Many candidates apply for CFA every year, but only 40-50% qualify for the next level. In terms of difficulty, it is one of the most difficult programs all over the world.
    • The destination CFA Chartered is given after qualifying all the 3 levels of the CFA Exam. 

    CFA Course Highlights

    Full formChartered Financial Analyst
    Duration1.5- 4 years
    Exam FrequencyLevel 1: Twice in an year (June & December), Level 2 & 3: Only Once (June)
    Conducting BodyCFA Institute
    Exam LevelInternational Exam to become a CFA Chartered
    EligibilityBachelor’s degree in relevant discipline or 4 years of work experience
    Examination ModeComputer Based
    Why give CFA Exam?

    Why CFA Course?

    There are a number of perks attached with the CFA program. After the successful completion of this course you will be getting no. of opportunities. Few of them are listed below:

    1. Large number of job opportunities in the Market – There are numerous job profiles and areas where a person can work after completing CFA program. One can work in sectors like Accounting, Auditing, Taxation, Financial Services and many more as a Chartered Accountant, Financial Advisor etc.
    2. Great Scope for Career Advancement – On completion of CFA program, one can easily get numerous opportunities and a great job.
    3. Higher Salary – This program promises a handsome salary package. The average salary will be around INR 4 Lakhs- 40 Lakhs per annum on completion of CFA course.
    CFA vs CA

    CFA Vs CA

    CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and CA (Chartered Accountancy), both the courses are excellent courses and are unique in their worn way. Although CA is much more famous and easier than CFA exam. It depends on your interest and qualification that which course you would like to pursue.

    Below are some of the key differences between CFA and CA:

    AbbreviationsCA is abbreviated as Chartered Financial AnalystCA is abbreviated as Chartered Accountancy.
    Job ProfileChartered Financial Analyst or CFA CharteredChartered Accountant
    Conducting BodyCFA InstituteICAI 
    DetailsCFA is a program that is aimed to provide standard training and education in the field of financial and investment analysis. The exam can be qualified after the three Levels, i.e. Level 1, Level 2 & level 3.CA is a certified qualification in the field of commerce and accountancy that can be obtained after qualifying many rounds, i.e. CA Foundation, CA Intermediate & CA Final. 
    Average Time to qualify1.5-4 years4-5 years
    Global RecognitionYesNo
    Average Registration FeesINR 1-2 LakhsUnder 1 Lakh
    Average Salary PackageINR 12,00,000- 20,00,000INR 7,00,000- 20,00,000
    CFA Institute

    CFA Institute

    CFA Institute is a global association of world’s largest Financial and Investment professionals. It was found in 1947 by the parenting body University of Mannheim. 

    Headquartered in the state of Virginia in the United States, it is a nonprofit organization that aims to provide standard financial education worldwide. In India, it has an office in Mumbai.

    For preparing for CFA, the materials provided by CFA Institute are considered to be standard and enough for the preparation.

    But there are many institutes and colleges that provide coaching and training for the CFA exam, which are mentioned in the table below

    Name of the InstituteCityAverage Annual Fees
    Shri Chimanbhai Patel Institute of Professional TrainingAhmedabadINR 65,336
    International College of Financial Planning ChennaiINR 7,19,000
    Central India Institute of Management StudiesChattisgarhINR 35,000
    FTMS Global Academy India Pvt. Ltd.Tamil NaduINR 30,000
    Narayana InstituteGujaratINR 1,00,000
    CFA Syllabus

    CFA Syllabus

    Level 1, Level 2 & Level 3 CFA exam revolves around the same 10 topics that is mandatory in the CFA syllabus. It is very important for candidates to go through the detailed syllabus of CFA to score well in the examination.

    Although the CFA course syllabus involves almost the same subjects in each level of exam, but the difficulty level of the exam raises with the levels of the exam.

    The syllabus of CFA program is provided below:

    Quantitative AnalysisDeals with the Descriptive Statistics, Probability Theory and Investment decision making aspects.
    Financial Reporting AnalysisThis offers a thorough explanation of the financial reports alongwith their standards and procedures.
    EthicsIt introduces you to the ethical behaviour and nee of professionalism in the investment market.
    Equity InvestmentGuides you on the security markets, indexes and equity investment areas of the economy.
    Fixed Income AnalysisHelps in Learning about the fixed income securities, factors risking it, measures to maintain it and it’s measurement techniques
    EconomicsThis deals with the supply and demand analysis of the individuals and firms.
    DerivativesThis helps in understanding the basics of derivatives and their market.
    Portfolio Management and Wealth PlanningThis helps with the proper understanding of fundamentals of portfolio management and wealth planning.
    Corporate FinanceIt helps in briefing you with the corporate governance aspects.
    Alternative InvestmentThis involves discussion on hedge funds, private equity, real estate, infrastucture and others.
    CFA Jobs & Scope

    Similar Course: CFP (Certified Financial Planner)

    CFA Jobs & Career

    After getting CFA certification, you can go for jobs in various departments that offer a handsome salary package of around INR 8-20 LPA

    You can go for a large number of job positions in government as well as in private sectors after completing your CFA course. Some of the prominent CFA jobs available are listed below:

    Job PositionDescription of the JobAverage Annual Salary
    Chartered Financial AnalystThey are responsible for analysing financial portfolios and creating recommendations on the basis of the same. They set the financial goals and identify the key steps to achieve them.INR 9.35 LPA
    Business ConsultantTheir role is to deal with the business problems and suggest the possible solutions. Analysing the company’s financial statements and then helping them in meeting future goals.INR 9.86 LPA
    Market Research AnalystResearch Analyst job is to analyse the given data and provide the employer with a meaningful interpretation.INR 6.50 LPA
    Investment ManagerThey manage and suggest plans to their clients which helps clients to make money and fulfill their financial goals.INR 7 LPA
    Portfolio ManagerThey usually manage the investment and financial status of the private clients.INR 8 LPA
    Private BankersPrivate bankers maintain the relationship with the bank’s clients and monitor their needs. They provide the credit, loans and other solutions to the client.INR 8.58 LPA
    Risk ManagerThey basically analyze the risk in the market, prepare a specialised plan for it and then execute the plan to reduce the level of risk facing.INR 10 LPA
    Chief Executive OfficerHe/she is the one who is solely responsible for all the vast decisions related to the business. They plan to overreach the goals.INR 41 LPA

    The graph given below shows the various CFA job profiles and their respective salary packages:

    cfa jobs salary

    To know more CFA Career Prospects:Click Here

    CFA Scope

    Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA Chartered is a big step in anyone’s career. You can easily land wth high paying jobs in the field of finanacila analusisn and investment analysis.

    After CFA, the career scope is validated across various sectors of banking, mutual funds, investment, insurance, financial analysts, etc. The scope of earning ig better than the ones who does not own the certification.

    There is a hike in the demand for CFAs in India because of industrialization and globalization. Almost all the top companeis, prefer designated CFAs than other professionals as they are highly trained and competent in this field.

    The best thing about CFA course is that you can have a suceesful career not onky India, but in other counties like the USA, Europe, Australia, etc. since the CFA program is globally recognized, which increases the probabloty of getting a higher paying job in the field of finance and banking.

    CFA: FAQs

    CFA: FAQs

    Ques: What does a CFA do?

    Ans: A CFA help in the financial and investment analysis of the organization or the company. A CFA helps in analysing the financial statements, preparing and maintaining audits and other financial jobs. 

    Ques: Is CFA harder than CA?

    Ans: CFA and CA both the exams are highly reputed and both are tough in their own terms. But if we compare both of these exams then, CA is more tough than CFA.

    Ques: Does CFA result expires?

    Ans: No, CFA result doesn’t have an expiry date.

    Ques: Do CFA exam has negative marking?

    Ans: No, CFA exam do not have the negative marking scheme.

    Ques: Who is eligible for CFA program?

    Ans: The one who is either having a bacheor’s degree in relevant discipline or possess a minimum of 4 years working experience can pursue this CFA course.

    Ques: Is there any age limit for CFA exam?

    Ans: No, there is no age limit for taking the CFA exam.

    Ques. Is CFA June Exam affected due to COVID-19 crisis?

    Ans. Yes, CFA Institute has decided to delay the June CFA exam due to global COVID-19 crisis. The registered candidates will be notified about the exam details on 4th May 2020.

    CFA - Chartered Financial Analyst Fee Structure in India

    32.5 K (Minimum Fee)PRIVATE COLLEGES2.5 L (Maximum Fee)
    1.16 L (Average Fee)



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