We live in an era in which educational certification in financial matters is no longer an option, but an obligation, in which we must prove high knowledge to boost our professional career. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is currently the most complete and most recognized accreditation worldwide for those interested in the field of finance and investments.
An accreditation such as the CFA can be your gold passport to land in a well paid 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 step on the heels of the CFA that delve deeper into different areas or sectors than the CFA itself, such as the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) that focuses more on risk issues or the Chartered Alternative Invesment Analyst (CAIA) , which on the other hand, it deepens more in topics of alternative assets to the traditional ones (private equity, real state, 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 graphic:
What is the CFA Program?
The curriculum of the CFA program covers the concepts and skills that you will use at all stages of your career, it involves the connection of academic theory with current practice and ethical and professional standards to provide a solid basis for investment analysis Advanced and portfolio management skills.
It is a program in English highly specialized in a wide range of investment sectors that can be applied in any market worldwide, in fact, it is a valid accreditation worldwide.
It can be defined as a postgraduate level self-study program for investment professionals. In the United Kingdom, 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:
- Professional ethics.
- 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.
- Asset Valuation:in which the Valuation of Variable Income, Fixed Income and Derivative Products as well as the analysis of other alternative investments are studied.
- 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 worldwide. To obtain accreditation, you must pass each of the three levels (Level I, Level II and Level III). Each of them lasting 6 hours.
The Level 1 is focused on the study of investment tools and inputs, as well as an introduction to asset valuation and portfolio management techniques. As for the exam, all questions are of the multiple choice type (test).
The Level 2 elaborates on asset valuation and applications of the different inputs and instruments (including micro and macro variables, financial statement analysis and quantitative methods) of asset valuation. As for the exam, it is structured through several cases.
The Level 3 focuses on the study of portfolio management and includes strategies using the tools, inputs, and valuation models asset for managing equity, fixed income and derivatives for both individuals and institutions. As for the exam, it is also structured through several cases.
Who can do the CFA?
Anyone who meets the following characteristics can submit to the CFA exams:
- Be in the last year of your degree program (or equivalent by country) or have finished it.
- Have professional work experience that amounts to a maximum of 4 years in the area of finance.
To get the final accreditation of the CFA you must:
- Possess a relevant degree or experience.
- Have four years of qualified investment work experience.
- Not being a member of the CFA Institute.
- Request participation as a member of a local CFA company.
- 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 why they are accepted worldwide. Anyone with the CFA degree can look for work anywhere in the world, because the recognition is homogeneous.
- Credibility:There is nothing like being considered an expert in the world of finance and having passed your exams.
- Networking:In addition to getting worldwide recognition, you join a network of 100,000 investment professionals.
- Respect: itis the most respected certification in the investment industry.
Everyone who is already in the field of Finance or who wishes to change their careers can choose from a wide variety of job roles, the following graphic shows where the 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 postgraduate programs cover a wide range of topics such as the study of an MBA; The CFA Program focuses specifically on knowledge of the investment. The self-study format makes it easier for you to continue working full time.
Employers know that the CFA program provides the necessary skills for proper functioning in a tremendously globalized and dynamic market.