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The Chartered Financial Analyst (“CFA”) professional designation is the global gold standard in the investment management and securities analysis fields. The CFA program’s rigorous focus on current investment knowledge, analytical skills and ethical standards engender wide respect for the credential in the global financial community.
The exams consist of a series of three comprehensive, all day exams. Because of the time commitment necessary to prepare for each exam—CFA Institute estimates that most candidates spend around 2000 hours in preparation for each level—most candidates take a minimum of three years to complete this requirement. The topics covered include Ethics and Professional Standards, Quantitative Methods, Micro- and Macro-Economics, Global Accounting, Equity Analysis, Fixed Income Analysis, Derivatives, Alternative Investment Classes and Portfolio Management. These are difficult and comprehensive exams—the pass rate at each level is generally less than 50%.
Only about 120,000 individuals in 135 countries have been awarded the CFA designation. For investors, it is an assurance of wide-ranging expertise and the highest ethical and professional standards.