Why Use a CFA?

The Chartered Financial Analyst® -- or CFA® designation -- is regarded by most to be the key certification for investment professionals, especially in the areas of research and portfolio management.

CFA Defined 
The CFA designation is given to investment professionals who have successfully completed the requirements set by the globally recognized CFA Institute (formerly AIMR). To be eligible for the CFA designation, candidates must attain the following: 

1. At least three years of professional investment experience
2. Pass three rigorous six-hour exams over at least three years
3. Commit to abiding by the AIMR Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct

The exams test the candidates' knowledge of investment theory, ethics, financial accounting, and portfolio management. This course of study was formed in 1962 and is constantly updated to ensure that the curriculum meets the demands of the global investment decision-making practice. This graduate-level curriculum generally entails six months of study prior to each exam date. Pass rates vary from year to year, but since the first exam was given in 1963, the overall rate is 59 percent.

CFA Institute is a global non-profit professional organization of more than 60,000 financial analysts, portfolio managers, and other financial professionals in 112 countries. In addition to administering the CFA Program, CFA Institute is also recognized around the world for its investment performance standards, code of ethics, and standards of professional conduct. 

More information on CFA Institute and the CFA program is available at www.cfainstitute.org 

What the CFA Designation Means to Investors
To investors, the CFA designation means the following:

  • A CFA charter-holder has demonstrated a commitment to become better at his or her craft, whether it is security analysis, investment advice or portfolio management.
  • CFA charter-holders and candidates alike strive to maintain a higher level of integrity by committing to following AIMR's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

In other words, CFA charter-holders are investment professionals who have striven to better their skills and knowledge on behalf of their clients and who committee to adhere to a high standard of ethical conduct.