CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Level 1, Institutes, Syllabus, Eligibility, Scope, Salary

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Sushil Pandey

Updated on - May 12, 2021

CFA, full form Chartered Financial Analyst, is a globally recognized credential in the field of Financial Management and Investment Management, provided by the CFA Institute. CFA course instils financial and investment management skills in an aspirant. The required CFA eligibility criteria is a graduation degree in any field and a minimum of 4 years of work experience.

In order to get CFA certification, students are required to complete the three levels of examinations, i.e.

  • Level I
  • Level II
  • Level III 

Quick Links: CFA Admissions 2021


Table of ContentsCFA courses can be completed within 1.5 years to 4 years, which depends on the candidate’s calibre.

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 candidates with the preparation process.

CFA Quick Facts

  • CFA Fees ranges from INR 30,000 - INR 2,00,000
  • CFA Admissions do not need entrance exams, only if students have Bachelors degree then they can appear for this exam 
  • CFA can be pursued in India as well as abroad 
  • CFA can be pursued in part mode 
  • Students will have to qualify all three levels of examinations in CFA
  • The exam windows are available in all months of the year
  • CFA gives you an opportunity to work as Chartered Financial Analyst, Investment Manager, Portfolio Manager. 
  • Without CA, only CFA degree will help one to earn INR 4,00,000 - INR 40,00,000
  • After completion of CFA, the students are placed in renowned companies like JP morgan, PWC Group, HSBC, RBC

About CFA

The CFA course is designed for students who wish to pursue careers as Financial Analyst or Financial Managers. Career as CFA also offers you to become Business Consultants, Research Analyst, Private Bankers Risk Managers. If the candidate is interested in Financial subjects then this is a great career to pursue. 

Why CFA Course?

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

  • A large number of job opportunities in the Market – There are numerous job profiles and areas where a person can work after completing the CFA program. One can work in sectors like Accounting, Auditing, Taxation, Financial Services and many more as a Chartered Accountant, Financial Advisor etc.
  • Great Scope for Career Advancement – On completion of the CFA program, one can easily get numerous opportunities and a great job.
  • 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 the CFA course.

Who Should Do a CFA?

  • Students who wish to pursue their career in Financial fields such as Portfolio Managers, Risk managers, Financial Advisors and Many More. 
  • As you know that Salary for CA is high but with CFA you can get almost as high salary as that of CA
  • Students who have made up their mind for career in Finance must do this course
  • Students who have never tried a career in Finance but are interested in doing it can try this career option. 

When to do a CFA?

CFA is not as difficult as CA, but nevertheless it needs a lot of hard work and dedication. However, it is completely a personal choice whether you want to do CA or not and when do you want to do it. 

  • Students have both the options of pursuing CFA as fresher students as well as experienced employees. It gives you the entire responsibility to decide when you want to pursue this course. 
  • If experienced candidates wish to apply for CFA then they will have to have a working experience of 4 years. 
  • Since many can not take the pressure of CA, they opt for CFA, but one must be financially prepared to pursue CFA. 

CFA Admission Process

There is no entrance exam for pursuing CFA, only the candidates who have completed graduation can apply for this course. 

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 Admission 2021

  • Admission to the CFA course is done only through the merit based process.
  • Candidates are required to possess a Bachelor’s degree relevant to the chartered stream.
  • Candidates with work experience are given priority in the admission process.

CFA Level 1 Exam Dates

Session Exam Dates
February 2021 February 16 – March 1, 2021
May 2021 May 18 to 24, 2021
July 2021 July 18 to 24, 2021
August 2021 August 24 - 30, 2021
November 2021 November 16 - 22 , 2021

CFA Level 2 Exam Dates

Session Exam Dates
May 2021 May 25 - June 1, 2021
August 2021 August 31 - September 4, 2021
November 2021 November 26 - 30, 2021

CFA Level 3 Exam Dates

Session Exam Dates
May 2021 May 25- June 1, 2021
August 2021 September 1 - 8 , 2021
November 2021 November 23 - 25, 2021

CFA: Level 1

The CFA Level 1 exam has been changed to computer-based from paper-based format. This exam will be conducted in February, March, May, July, August, and November. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, CFA exams were disrupted in 2020 for which two new exam windows have been temporarily added for 2021, which are March and July. 

CFA exams are now held across India with limited capacity and added restrictions. Aspirants who have missed the February exam due to the ongoing crisis can opt for the Online Proctored Test (OPT) offered by the CFA Institute. Additional data regarding OPT will be provided to the candidates via email. 

The number of questions in the CFA Level 1 exam has been reduced to 180 from 240. Exams will be conducted in two sessions with 90 questions each and the exam duration will be 2 hours and 15 minutes long for each session. 

CFA Level 1 Registration Process

  • First, you should create an account on the CFA Institute website, and give the necessary appropriate information and select your preferred exam centre.
  • 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.

CFA Level 1 Exam Date 2021

Exam Window CFA Exam Date
February Feb 16 – March 1, 2021
May May 18-24, 2021
August August 24-30, 2021
November November 16-22, 2021
  • 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.

CFA Level 1 Exam Pattern

There are 180 MCQ based questions that are divided between the morning session and afternoon session, each 2 hours 15 minutes long. The Exam topics are the same in all the levels that include Ethical and Professional Standards, Fixed Income Derivatives, etc.

In the CFA Level 1 Exam, there will be more questions on the concepts and tools that are applied to investment management and valuation purposes.

CFA Level 1 Exam Details 

Particulars Details
Morning Session 90 Questions
Afternoon Session 90 Questions
Duration 2 hours 15 minutes for each session
Question Type MCQ
Exam Month February, March*, May, July*, August, and November
Average Pass Percentage 43%

* The March and July Exam window is only available to Dec 2020/Feb 2021 candidates who missed the opportunity to sit for the examination because of Covid 19 restrictions. 

CFA Level 1 Exam Weightage

The topics that the exam covers along with the weightage of each section: 

Topics Weightage
Ethical and Professional Standards 15
Quantitative Methods 10
Economics 10
Financial Reporting and Analysis 15
Corporate Finance 10
Equity Investments 11
Fixed Income 11
Derivatives 6
Alternative Investments 6
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning 6
Total 100

CFA: Level 2

The CFA Level II exam is designed to evaluate a candidate's capability in the application of investment valuation concepts. In the CFA Level II examination, candidates will come across 10 topics that have been grouped into four areas which are: Investment Tools, Ethical and Professional Standards, Portfolio Management and wealth planning. The total duration of the level 2 exam is six hours. 

CFA Level 2 Exam Dates

Exam Window CFA Exam Date
May May 25–29, 2021
August August 31–September 4, 2021
November November 26–30, 2021

CFA Level 2: Registration Process

  • 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 submit the exam fee payment before the deadline after selecting the exam centre. This time, there will be no enrollment fee.
  • Read and accept the Candidate Agreement and submit a Professional Conduct Statement, as done for Level 1.

CFA Level 2 Exam Pattern

CFA Level 2 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 2 Exam Details

Particulars Details
Morning Session 10 in the morning session
Afternoon Session 11 in the afternoon session
Duration 3 Hours for each session
Question Type MCQs based on caselet
Average Pass Percentage 45%

CFA Level 2 Exam Weightage

The topics that the exam covers along with the weightage of each section: 

Topics Weightage
Ethical and Professional Standards 10-15
Quantitative Methods 5-10
Economics 5-10
Financial Reporting and Analysis 10-15
Corporate Finance 5-10
Equity Investments 10-15
Fixed Income 10-15
Derivatives 5-10
Alternative Investments 5-10
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning 10-15
Total 100

CFA: Level 3

CFA Level III exam is the final level after which candidates can be certified as CFA charter. The CFA Level 3 exam focuses on wealth planning and portfolio management. CFA level 3 exam is graded for 360 points, which stands to one point per minute. The duration of the level 3 exam is 6 hours, which is divided into two sessions. 

CFA Level 3 Exam Date

Exam Window CFA Exam Date
May May 25–27, 2021
September September 1–8, 2021
November November 23–25, 2021

CFA Level 3 Registration Process

  • 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.

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 on the exam day.

CFA Level 3 Exam Details

Particulars Details
Morning Session 10 to 15 Essay Type
Afternoon Session 10 item sets
Duration 3 Hours for each session
Question Type Essay+MCQ
Exam Month First week of June
Average Pass Percentage 56%

CFA Level 3 Exam Weightage

The topics that the exam covers along with the weightage of each section:

Topics Weightage
Ethical And Professional Standards 10-15%
Economics 5-10%
Fixed Income 15-20%
Derivatives 5-10%
Alternative Investments 5-10%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning 35-40%
Equity Investments 10-15%
Total 100

CFA Curriculum 

CFA has various financial subjects, which could be helpful for students who have pursued Commerce in their 10+2 and graduation level. Here we will give you the entire syllabus for CFA, you can check if you want it. 

CFA Syllabus

CFA course curriculum is designed according to a variable 1.5- 4 year CFA course program. The overall syllabus or subjects covered in the CFA course is listed in the below table.

The Investment Industry: A Top-Down View Ethics and Regulation
Investment Professionalism Microeconomics
Macroeconomics Economics of International Trade
Financial Statements Quantitative Concepts
Debt Securities Equity Securities
Derivatives Alternative Investments
Structure of the Investment Industry Investment Vehicles
The Functioning of Financial Markets Investors and Their Needs
Investment Management Risk Management
Performance Evaluation Investment Industry Documentation

CFA Course Content

Level 1, Level 2 & Level 3 CFA exam revolves around the same 10 topics that are 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, the difficulty level of the exam raises with the levels of the exam.

The syllabus of CFA program is provided below:

Subjects Course Content
Quantitative Analysis Deals with the Descriptive Statistics, Probability Theory and Investment decision making aspects.
Financial Reporting Analysis This offers a thorough explanation of the financial reports along with their standards and procedures.
Ethics It introduces you to the ethical behaviour and need of professionalism in the investment market.
Equity Investment Guides you on the security markets, indexes and equity investment areas of the economy.
Fixed Income Analysis Helps in Learning about the fixed income securities, factors risking it, measures to maintain it and it’s measurement techniques
Economics This deals with the supply and demand analysis of the individuals and firms.
Derivatives This helps in understanding the basics of derivatives and their market.
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning This helps with the proper understanding of fundamentals of portfolio management and wealth planning.
Corporate Finance It helps in briefing you with the corporate governance aspects.
Alternative Investment This involves discussion on hedge funds, private equity, real estate, infrastructure and others.

Study CFA in India

The best of the CFA colleges in India, are mentioned here in a tabular format:

Know More: CFA Colleges in India 

Study CFA Abroad

CFA is acknowledged internationally,m hence it is also provided Internationally, here are some of the colleges that provide you CFA abroad 

Canada

College Name Fees
University of Toronto  INR 40,000 
University of British Columbia  INR 30,000 
University of Calgary  INR 16,000

Australia

College Name Fees
Australian National University  INR 28,000
University of Melbourne  INR 30,000
University of New South Wales INR 25,000 

USA

College Name Fees
University of Virginia  INR 54,000
University of Arizona  INR 34,000
University of Mount Union  INR 30,000

CFA Course Comparison 

Students might have questions in mind regarding which course would be beneficial to them. This section will cater to them by all perspectives for each of the courses. 

CFA vs CA

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

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

Parameter CFA CA
Abbreviations CFA is abbreviated as Chartered Financial Analyst CA is abbreviated as Chartered Accountancy.
Job Profile Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA Chartered Chartered Accountant
Conducting Body CFA Institute ICAI
Details CFA 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 qualify 1.5-4 years 4-5 years
Global Recognition Yes No
Average Registration Fees INR 1-2 Lakhs Under 1 Lakh
Average Salary Package INR 12,00,000- 20,00,000 INR 7,00,000- 20,00,000

CFA vs MBA

Abbreviations CFA MBA
Full Form Chartered Financial Analyst Master of Business Administration
Overview CFA is a highly specialised course which is meant only for finance professionals. CFA Level 1 & 2 are similar to the subjects in an MBA in Finance, Level 3 takes you much deeper into the subjects than most MBA courses. MBA is a general management degree course that specialises in the second half of the course. It concentrates on giving the student a general all round understanding to the different subjects in management.
Eligibility Students can apply for CFA Level I in the final year of graduation. However, level II requires graduation degree Students need 50% in graduation from any stream
Salary (INR) 8,00,000 - 2,00,00,000 7,00,000 - 60,00,000

CFA: Relevance in India

India is the accounting hub of the world. Most of the Financial MNC’s have their operations working in India. The relevance of a finance degree in a country like India is huge particularly in the emerging times like now when the IMF has projected it’s growth rate at 10%. The relevance of CFA is huge and some of it has been discussed below: 

Indian KPO’s Research
International firm’s are focusing in reduction of labour cost due to COVID 19 Pandemic. Most of the KPO’s, Investment banking and financial Servicing firms are making move to Inida due to cheap labour. A CFA degree will hold a great value as it’s the highest creddential in Investment Finance Industry.

Indian Broker’s
The Stock Brokers in India are expanding their reach and scale of operations outside the National boundary. A CFA degree is favoured for operations like these.

Wealth Management Firms
The Wealth Management Industry is growing at 20% YOY. The demand for CFA has increased as the major proportion of HNI’s are coming from India. 

CFA Jobs & Placements

After getting CFA certification, you can go for jobs in various departments that offer a handsome salary package of around INR 8-20 LPA. Top recruiters of the country will hire you such as Wells Fargo, HSBC, Ernst and Young, RBC and many more. 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 Profile Salary
Chartered Financial Analyst INR 9.35 LPA
Business Consultant INR 9.86 LPA
Market Research Analyst INR 6.50 LPA
Investment Manager INR 7 LPA
Portfolio Manager INR 8 LPA
Private Bankers INR 8.58 LPA
Risk Manager INR 10 LPA
Chief Executive Officer INR 41 LPA

CFA FAQs

Ques. What is CFA Salary?

Ans: CFAs working for foundations or trusts make an average of just around INR 75,00,000 annually, while those in private practice with a firm earn around INR 63,75,000. Those who work for federal, state or local governmental entities earn between INR 61,05,000 and INR 65,25,000 a year.

Ques. What does CFA mean?

Ans: CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst. A charter is a professional credential bestowed by the CFA Institute on financial and investment professionals who have completed its program of study, passed all three levels of its examinations, and met other professional requirements.

Ques. Is CFA harder than CA?

Ans: So it really depends on you which exam you find tougher—CFA or CA. Also, let's not forget—Indian courses and exams are notoriously popular for being extremely (and irrelevantly) difficult for the students. And given CA is a home-grown exam and CFA isn't, it is more difficult when compared with the later one.

Ques. Is CFA Worth Doing?

Ans: “CFA charterholders do not have any edge over others,” said a poster on Quora. Dan, another charterholder on the Analyst Forum, said, “No, it's not worth it. ... You can't win.” Another anonymous CFA charterholder on Reddit wrote, “It gives people false hope about getting an amazing job in the financial industry.”

Ques. Who is eligible for CFA?

Ans: You are eligible if you are in the final year of your bachelor's program or already have a bachelor's degree, or have professional working experience that totals up to 4 years. Below is the CFA® eligibility criteria course in India.

Ques. Who earns more CFA or CPA?

Ans: Based on the most recent surveys I could find the average US salary for a CFA is $175K annually and the average US salary for a CPA is $62K. ... There are only 142,000 active CFA's in the world, so there are more CPA's in California and Texas combined than there are CFA's in the whole world.

Ques. Will CFA increase Salary?

Ans: In general, the CFA designation increases salaries by around 15-20%. It appears that the CFA designation generates a larger salary bump in more senior roles than it does with more entry level positions

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