What is CFA?
Chartered Financial Analyst programme a.k.a. CFA course is an internationally recognised postgraduate course to educate candidates for meeting the ever-changing requirements of the investment industry. The course combines real-world investment analysis with portfolio management skills. Along with the course curriculum, candidates need to acquaint themselves with the highest business ethics and communication standards.
The American CFA Institute certifies the Chartered Financial Analyst Programme offered to financial and investment professionals in more than 100 countries. CFA Institute was earlier known as AIMR a.k.a. the Association for Investment Management and Research. The entire CFA course is organised into three levels, Level I, Level II and Level III. There is no fixed duration for the postgraduate course and candidates get at least 2 years to clear all the three levels. Each of the levels includes different topics related to various fields of finance and management. A 6-hour exam for each of the three levels is conducted for assessing the required skills and knowledge of candidates. Upon completion of these three levels, a candidate is awarded a CFA charter.
Level I – This level assesses candidates for basic knowledge of the ten topic areas as well as the proficiency of carrying out the simple analysis with investment tools.
Level II – The second level assesses candidates for the application of investment tools and concepts for evaluating all kinds of assets.
Level III – This level deals with assessment for efficient portfolio management together with wealth planning using a churn-down of all the concepts and analytical methods taught during the course.
In addition to the curriculum content, CFA course includes the CBOK (Candidate Body of Knowledge), the topic area weights and LOS (Learning Outcome Statements). Main topics of the CBOK are Alternative Investments, Corporate Finance, Derivatives, Economics, Ethical and Professional Standards, Equity Investments, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Fixed Income, Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning and Quantitative Methods.
Skill Sets Required for CFA
CFA course is one of the most lucrative as well as demanding courses. It requires candidates to have strong analytical and quantitative skills. Moreover, candidates are required to be adept at handling concurrent tasks, i.e. multitasking. The CFA programme transforms hard working candidates into top professionals who should be ready to provide finance and management related services.
Skills necessitated by Chartered Financial Analyst programme are summed up as follows:
Dedicated & Passionate
Good Concept Grasping Ability
Urge to Seek Knowledge
CFA Job Prospects
CFA course bestows international recognition to candidates, as the CFA Institute membership is valid in more than 100 countries. A CFA charter-holder can start operating in any of the countries where the CFA label is recognised officially.
Chartered Financial Analyst can take on a wide variety of roles. The best professional profiles adopted by Chartered Financial Analysts around the globe are briefed up as follows:
Chief Executive – Chief Executive Officer or CEO is the top-most executive of an organisation. They act as the communicator between the BoD (Board of Directors) and the corporate operations. CEO is responsible for making vital corporate decisions and managing the overall resources and operations of the organisation. There is no salary limit of these professionals, as it simply depends on the size and repute of the organisation the Chief Executive provides service to.
Consultant – Consultants with CFA offers expert advice on management, finance, accountancy and marketing related matters. There are two types of consultants, internal consultants and external consultants. While internal consultants operate within an organisation, external consultants provide their services to firms and individuals for a particular fee. Reports and presentation are the most common means via which consultants offer their service to their employers and clients.
Corporate Financial Analyst – Candidates with strong analytical ability and a knack for numbers can go for Corporate Financial Analyst after completing the CFA course. The high-profile job of a Corporate Financial Analyst has the potential to reach six, or sometimes seven, figures. They are required to track company’s progress in terms of financial insights and draw conclusions about the future of the company in the same scenario.
Financial Advisor – Financial Advisors offer guidance and advice to clients in terms of compensation. A firm or individual can hire a financial advisor for various services, ranging from investment management to estate planning. A Financial Advisor is required to acquire different licenses for providing different services. They are one of the most handsomely paid high-profile professionals.
Portfolio Manager – A Portfolio Manager is responsible for making investment choices using money that have been put under his or her control. Alternatively, a Portfolio Manager administers a financial institution’s asset and liability portfolio. They work with a team of analysts and researchers to come up with the best investment strategy possible for their employer.
Relationship Manager – Relationship Managers are hired by organisations to better relations with associates and the clientele. There are two variations of Relationship Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Business Relationship Management (BRM). However, the same goal is achieved by both which is to maximise business relationships and maintain a good organisation repute.
Research Analyst – Another professional option for CFA candidates is Research Analyst. These professionals are responsible for preparing investigative reports based on equity securities. There are several reasons for doing so, including inquiry and revision of facts and theories. They are paid handsomely for their rigorous efforts.
Risk Manager – Risk Managers or Certified Risk Managers are professionals that primarily work in risk management and its related fields, such as insurance and loss control. They are responsible for taking important decisions based on the research conducted by them.
In addition to these professions, candidates successfully completing CFA course can work as an accountant, auditor, broker and investment banking analyst, together with performance measurement specialist, private banker, strategist and trader.