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Aug 14, 2023 15:46PM IST

CFA Overview

CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst program offered internationally by the CFA Institute (formerly AIMR), is a prestigious postgraduate professional certification for investment and financial professionals. It covers a broad range of subjects, including advanced investment analysis, statistics, probability theory, fixed income, derivatives, economics, financial analysis, corporate finance, alternative investments, and portfolio management. The program provides a comprehensive understanding of various finance areas.

Upon successful completion of the program and meeting other professional requirements, candidates are awarded the "CFA charter" and become "CFA charterholders." As of November 2022, there are over 1,90,000 charterholders globally, with a 6% annual growth rate since 2012, even amid the pandemic. Typically, candidates take around four years to earn their CFA charter. CFA charterholders are highly sought after by prominent employers worldwide, including JP Morgan, UBS, Royal Bank of Canada, and Bank of America. 

The CFA syllabus consists of 10 core subjects, which are taught across three levels: CFA Level 1, CFA Level 2, and CFA Level 3. The admission process for the CFA program in 2023 will involve creating a merit list based on candidates' graduation scores and work experience. To be eligible for the CFA program, individuals must hold a graduate degree in any discipline, be in the final year of their graduation, or have at least four years of work experience. Additionally, they must possess an International Passport. 

For standard registration, the CFA fees are USD 1200, while for early registration, they amount to USD 900. The exact amount in Rupees will depend on the prevailing exchange rate. All students are required to submit the CFA Entrance Exam fee in USD.

Candidates who successfully complete the certification have access to a range of CFA jobs, including positions as Chief Financial Officers, Investment Managers, and Portfolio Managers. In India, the average CFA salary for individuals with a Chartered Financial Analyst qualification ranges from Rs. 3,50,000 to Rs. 35,00,000.

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CFA Course Highlights

The CFA Institute created the CFA program with the aim of preparing charter holders for finance careers. Upon completion of the program, individuals with the charter designation are recognized as experts in the field of investing, which greatly benefits their professional journey. Participants of the course gain valuable insights into the finance and investment industries, enabling them to enhance their skills and expertise. The CFA program is widely acclaimed as the most prestigious and renowned accreditation in finance and investment management. For interested students, please refer to the table below, which provides essential details regarding course fees, examination levels, subjects, salary prospects, and top recruiters.

Course full formChartered Financial Analyst
Conducting BodyCFA Institute
FeesRs. 2,00,000 - Rs. 4,00,000 
Exam LevelNational Level Exam
Skills LearntFinance and Investment Management
SubjectsQuantitative Methods, Ethical and Professional Standards, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Corporate Finance, Equity Investments, etc.
Average Annual SalaryRs. 5,00,000 - Rs. 30,00,000
Job FieldsInvestment Banking, Asset Management, Financial Advisory Services, Mutual Funds, etc.
Top RecruitersGoldman Sachs, BlackRock, Bridgewater Associates, Vanguard, McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Prudential Financial, and Citigroup
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CFA Full Form

The full form of CFA is "Chartered Financial Analyst." It is a postgraduate professional certification programme provided by the CFA Institute in the United States. The course syllabus includes, among other things, information on corporate finance, derivatives, financial reporting, and analysis. The CFA programme trains students to enter the workforce as competent and moral professionals.

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All About CFA

Previously known as the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR), the CFA program is now administered by the CFA Institute. The CFA Institute ensures that financial experts meet rigorous standards of excellence through their tests and certifications. In addition to the CFA designation, the institute also offers an Investment Foundations Program and a Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement.

The CFA curriculum encompasses both academic theory and practical field experience, which can be obtained through relevant work experience. The program equips candidates with knowledge and skills in investing, stock markets, industries, companies, and personal finance management.

By completing the CFA program, students develop the necessary competencies to thrive as ethical professionals in their careers. The curriculum covers various finance-related subjects, including Economics, Financial Report Analysis, Private Equity, Derivatives, Alternative Investments, Portfolio Management, and Wealth Planning. Upon successfully passing the three levels of the CFA exam, individuals are designated as CFAs or Chartered Financial Analysts. 

Why study CFA Course?

Studying the CFA course offers numerous benefits and reasons to consider:

Global Recognition: The CFA qualification is globally recognized and highly respected in the finance industry. It demonstrates your expertise and commitment to the field, enhancing your professional reputation.

Career Advancement: The CFA program equips you with in-depth knowledge and practical skills in investment management, financial analysis, and portfolio management. This positions you for career advancement opportunities and opens doors to prestigious roles in finance.

Comprehensive Curriculum: The CFA curriculum covers a wide range of finance-related subjects, providing a holistic understanding of the industry. It includes topics such as economics, financial reporting, equity investments, derivatives, and more, preparing you for diverse finance roles.

Networking Opportunities: Joining the CFA course connects you with a global network of finance professionals, including fellow candidates, charter holders, and industry experts. This network may offer useful contacts, employment prospects, and mentoring.

Ethical Standards: The CFA program emphasizes ethical and professional standards in the finance industry. By studying the CFA course, you develop a strong ethical foundation, enhancing your credibility and integrity as a finance professional.

Industry Relevance: The CFA syllabus is designed to align with the evolving needs of the finance industry. It ensures you stay updated with the latest industry practices, trends, and regulations, enhancing your employability and relevance.

Career Flexibility: The CFA qualification is highly versatile, applicable across various finance roles and industries. Whether you aspire to work in investment banking, asset management, consulting, or corporate finance, the CFA designation enhances your career prospects.

Personal Growth: The CFA course challenges you intellectually and pushes you to expand your knowledge and skills. It fosters personal growth, critical thinking, and analytical abilities, which are valuable assets in both your professional and personal life.

Overall, studying the CFA course offers a unique opportunity to gain comprehensive finance expertise, advance your career, build a strong professional network, and uphold ethical standards in the finance industry.

Who should study CFA Course?

The CFA course is ideal for individuals who have a strong interest and passion for finance and investment management. It is particularly suitable for:

Finance Professionals: The CFA course is highly beneficial for individuals already working in the finance industry, such as analysts, investment bankers, portfolio managers, and financial advisors. It allows them to enhance their knowledge, skills, and career prospects.

Aspiring Investment Professionals: Those aspiring to build a career in investment management, equity research, asset management, or related fields can greatly benefit from the CFA program. It provides the necessary knowledge and credentials to enter and succeed in these competitive roles.

Finance Graduates: Recent finance graduates seeking to differentiate themselves in the job market can pursue the CFA qualification to gain a competitive edge. It complements their academic background with practical skills and industry recognition.

Career Changers: Individuals from diverse backgrounds who wish to transition into finance and investment roles can consider studying the CFA course. It equips them with the necessary knowledge and credibility to make a successful career switch.

Professionals Seeking Specialization: Those working in specific areas of finance, such as risk management, private equity, or wealth management, can study the CFA program to deepen their expertise and broaden their career opportunities.

Self-driven Learners: Individuals with a strong motivation for continuous learning and personal development can benefit from the CFA course. It provides a structured curriculum and rigorous study program that challenges and expands their knowledge base.

It's important to note that the CFA program requires dedication, commitment, and significant study time. It is suited for individuals who are willing to invest the necessary effort to successfully complete the program and pursue a career in finance and investment management.

When to study CFA Course? 

The decision of when to study the CFA course depends on individual circumstances and career goals. Here are a few important factors to consider when determining the timing to pursue the CFA course:

Academic Preparedness: It is recommended to have a solid foundation in finance, economics, and accounting before pursuing the CFA program. Many candidates choose to study for the CFA exams while completing their undergraduate degree or after gaining some work experience.

Work Experience: The CFA program requires a certain level of professional work experience to earn the charter. While it is not mandatory to have work experience before starting the program, it is beneficial to have practical exposure to the finance industry. Consider gaining relevant experience to enhance your understanding and application of the course material.

Career Stage: Assess your career stage and goals. If you are early in your career and aiming for finance roles, starting the CFA program sooner rather than later can provide a competitive advantage. For mid-career professionals looking to advance or transition within the finance industry, pursuing the CFA qualification can unlock new opportunities.

Time Commitment: The CFA program demands a significant time commitment due to its comprehensive curriculum and rigorous exams. Evaluate your personal and professional commitments to ensure you can dedicate sufficient time for studying and exam preparation.

Personal Readiness: Undertaking the CFA course requires self-discipline, perseverance, and a genuine interest in finance. Reflect on your personal readiness to commit to the program and your enthusiasm for the subject matter.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to when to study the CFA course. Consider your educational background, work experience, career goals, and personal circumstances to make an informed decision. It may be helpful to consult with professionals who have completed the program or seek guidance from CFA program providers to determine the most suitable timing for you.

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CFA Admission Process

The CFA admission process involves several steps that candidates need to follow. Here is a general overview of the CFA admission process:

Meet Eligibility Requirements: Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria set by the CFA Institute. Generally, this includes having a bachelor's degree or being in the final year of your bachelor's degree program, or having a combination of education and work experience that totals at least four years.

Register for the CFA Program: Create an account on the CFA Institute's official website and register for the CFA program. You will be required to provide personal information, educational background, and work experience details.

Submit Application Documents: Prepare and submit the necessary application documents, which may include copies of your educational transcripts, proof of work experience (if applicable), and identification documents.

Pay Examination Fees: Pay the required examination fees to secure your spot for the CFA exams. The fees vary depending on the registration period and level of the exam.

Prepare for the Exams: Once registered, start preparing for the CFA exams. The exams are conducted in three levels, with each level building upon the previous one. Study the curriculum, practice exam questions, and utilize study materials provided by the CFA Institute or other reputable sources.

Schedule Exam Dates: Choose your desired exam dates and location for each level. The exams are held at designated testing centers worldwide.

Take the Exams: On the scheduled exam dates, attend the CFA exams and complete the multiple-choice questions and essay-type questions within the specified time limits.

Receive Exam Results: Wait for the exam results, which are typically released a few weeks after each exam session. You will be notified via email about your exam results.

Progress to the Next Level: If you pass the current level, you can proceed to register for the next level of the CFA program. Repeat the preparation and exam process for each level until you successfully complete all three levels.

It's important to note that the exact details and requirements may vary, so it is advisable to visit the official CFA Institute website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the admission process.

CFA Eligibility Criteria 

To qualify for the CFA course, aspiring candidates must fulfill the following eligibility criteria:

Educational Qualification: Candidates should have successfully completed a bachelor's degree or an equivalent program from a recognized university or college, regardless of the field of study.

Final Year Candidates: Those in the final year of their bachelor's degree program are eligible to register for the CFA course. However, they must complete their bachelor's degree before registering for the CFA Level 2 exam.

Work Experience: Candidates must have a minimum of 4,000 hours of work experience, which can be acquired over a period of at least three consecutive years. Alternatively, a combination of work experience and higher education can fulfill this requirement.

Relevant Work Experience: Work experience in the investment market is not mandatory. However, candidates must demonstrate skills such as leadership, teamwork, business communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, time management, professional judgment, analytical skills, and adaptability.

Internships or Articleships: Internships, articleships, or self-employment can also be considered as work experience, provided candidates can demonstrate that they received compensation for their work.

International Passport: Candidates must possess a valid international passport.

English Language Proficiency: Proficiency in the English language is essential, as the study materials and exams are conducted in English.

Professional Compliance Statement: Candidates are required to submit a professional compliance statement, affirming their commitment to adhere to the CFA Institute's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

It's important to note that meeting these eligibility criteria is necessary to enroll in the CFA course. However, completing the course and earning the CFA charter requires successfully passing all three levels of the CFA exams, meeting the work experience requirement, and abiding by the professional standards set by the CFA Institute.

CFA Entrance Exam 2023

To obtain a CFA certification, individuals must successfully clear all three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst Exam, which is administered by the CFA Institute. Candidates who meet the eligibility criteria specified by the institute can register for the CFA Level 1 exam. Upon passing Level 1, candidates become eligible for the CFA Level 2 exam, and those who clear Level 2 become eligible for the CFA Level 3 exam.

The CFA Level 1 exam is conducted quarterly, providing multiple opportunities throughout the year for candidates to attempt the test. CFA Level 2 exam, on the other hand, is held three times within a calendar year, while the CFA Level 3 exam takes place twice in the same time frame.

The CFA Level 1 exam consists of 180 multiple-choice questions, and it is conducted in a computer-based format. After completing the exam, candidates can access their CFA exam results online within 60-90 days from the test date.

CFA Exam LevelRegistration DetailsExam Details
Level 1

Last date of Registration (Level 1 Feb exam)

Nov 8, 2022

Last date of Registration (Level 1 May exam)

Jan 31, 2023

Last date of Registration (Level 1 Aug exam)

May 9, 2023

Level 1 Feb Exam Dates: Feb 14 - 20, 2023

Level 1 May Exam Dates: May 16 - 22, 2023

Level 1 Aug Exam Dates: Aug 22 - 28, 2023

Level 2

Last date to register for Level 2 (May Exam)

Jan 31, 2023

Last date to register for Level 2 (Aug Exam)

May 9, 2023

Last date to register for Level 2 (Nov Exam) 

Level 2 May Exam Dates: May 23 - 27, 2023

Level 2 Aug Exam Dates: Aug 29, 2023 - Sep 2, 2023

Level 2 Nov Exam Dates: Nov 18 - 22, 2023

Level 3

Last date to register for Level 3 (Feb Exam)

8 November 2022

Last date to register for Level 3 (Aug Exam)

May 9,  2023

Level 3 Feb Exam Dates: 21 - 23 Feb 2023

Level 3 Aug Exam Dates: Aug 27, 2023 - Sep 5, 2023

CFA Course Fees 

The enrollment fee for the CFA course is USD 350. In India, during the enrollment phase, the CFA course fee is INR 28,752. If you wish to reschedule the exam date, there is a fee of USD 250. The complete breakdown of the CFA course fees is provided below:

Registration TypeCFA Course Fee (in USD)CFA Exam Fees (in Rs.) 
Early Registration90073,933
Standard Registration1,20098,578
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CFA Syllabus and Subjects

To gain insight into the content covered in the CFA course, we present the course curriculum. Aspiring candidates are required to clear three levels of examination conducted by the CFA Institute: Level I, Level II, and Level III. Although the CFA syllabus remains consistent across all three levels, the emphasis given to each topic varies at different exam levels. The curriculum comprises academic theory taught at each level, practical knowledge acquired through work experience, and the establishment of a strong professional and ethical framework. Participants develop an understanding of advanced investment concepts and the ethical aspects of portfolio management. Through the CFA program, individuals learn how to make informed financial decisions related to stocks, industries, businesses, and individual circumstances.

Below, you will find the detailed CFA syllabus, including the respective weightage assigned to each topic in the exam:

CFA SubjectsWeightage Given in CFA Level 1Weightage Given in CFA Level 2Weightage Given in CFA Level 3
Ethical and Professional Standards15-2010-1510-15
Quantitative Methods8-125-10NA
Financial Statement Analysis13-1710-15N/A
Corporate Issuers8-125-10N/A
Equity Investments10-1210-1510-15
Fixed Income10-1210-1515-20
Alternative Investments5-85-105-10
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning5-810-1535-40

CFA Subjects 

The CFA Exam consists of three levels: CFA Level 1, CFA Level 2, and CFA Level 3. Each level covers a set of 10 core curriculum topics. While the subjects remain largely consistent across all levels, the difficulty of the exam intensifies as candidates progress through the levels. The core curriculum topics are summarized in the table below:

CFA SubjectsCourse Content
Ethical and Professional StandardsIntroduces candidates to ethical behavior and the importance of professionalism in the investment market.
Quantitative MethodsFocuses on descriptive statistics, probability theory, and investment decision-making aspects.
EconomicsExplores supply and demand analysis for individuals and firms, along with microeconomic concepts and market structure.
Financial Statement AnalysisOffers a detailed explanation of financial reports, their standards, and procedures.
Corporate FinanceDeals with corporate governance and stakeholder management.
Equity InvestmentsRelates to the study of security markets, indexes, and equity investment areas in the economy.
Fixed Income Covers fixed income securities, risk factors, maintenance measures, and measurement techniques.
DerivativesHelps candidates understand the basics of derivatives and the framework of the derivative market.
Alternative InvestmentInvolves the concept of hedge funds, private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and other alternative investments.
Portfolio Management and Wealth PlanningProvides a solid understanding of the fundamentals of portfolio management and wealth planning.

CFA Course: Level wise weightage 

As mentioned, the courses remain consistent throughout the entire CFA certification curriculum. However, the relative importance or weightage given to the core curriculum topics varies based on the level of the CFA course.

Core Curriculum Topics CFA LevelWeightage
Ethical and Professional StandardCFA Level 115-20
CFA Level 210–15
CFA Level 310–15
Quantitative MethodsCFA Level 18–12
CFA Level 25–10
CFA Level 30
EconomicsCFA Level 18–12
CFA Level 25–10
CFA Level 35–10
Financial Statement AnalysisCFA Level 113–17
CFA Level 210–15
CFA Level 30
Corporate IssuersCFA Level 18–12
CFA Level 25–10
CFA Level 30
Equity InvestmentsCFA Level 110–12
CFA Level 210–15
CFA Level 310–15
Fixed Income CFA Level 110–12
CFA Level 210–15
CFA Level 315–20
DerivativesCFA Level 15–8
CFA Level 25–10
CFA Level 35–10
Alternative InvestmentCFA Level 15–8
CFA Level 25–10
CFA Level 35–10
Portfolio Management and Wealth PlanningCFA Level 15–8
CFA Level 210–15
CFA Level 335–40

CFA Books 

The CFA program uses a collection of official textbooks and study materials provided by the CFA Institute. These materials cover the entire curriculum and are essential for candidates preparing for the CFA exams. The official CFA books are comprehensive and designed to provide in-depth knowledge and understanding of the subjects covered in the program.

In addition to the official CFA Institute materials, candidates often supplement their studies with other reference books and study guides from third-party publishers. These additional resources can offer different perspectives, extra practice questions, and alternative explanations to help candidates grasp complex concepts.

When studying for the CFA exams, it is crucial to rely on reputable and up-to-date study materials to ensure a comprehensive and effective preparation for success in the exams.

A few of the recommended CFA books are mentioned below:

Book NamesAuthors
When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long Term Capital ManagementRoger Lowenstein
The Handbook of Fixed Income SecuritiesFrank J. Fabozzi
The Cartoon Guide to Statistics Larry Gonick and Woollcott Smith 
Strategic Value Investing: Practical Techniques of Leading Value InvestorsStephen M. Horan, Robert R. Johnson and Thomas R. Robinson
Investment Banking: Valuation, Leveraged Buyouts and Mergers & AcquisitionsPearl and Rosenbaum
CFA Level IBhupesh Ananad
2021 CFA Level IKaplan Schweser
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CFA Course Examination

The CFA exams are conducted throughout the year, and the emphasis on the course curriculum varies according to each exam level. The pass rates for the different levels generally range from 40% to 50%, indicating the rigorous nature of the exams.

CFA Level 1

The CFA Level 1 exam has transitioned from a paper-based format to a computer-based format. This exam is now available in February, March, May, July, August, and November. Candidates who missed the November exam have the option to opt for the Online Proctored Test (OPT) offered by the CFA Institute. Detailed information regarding OPT will be communicated to candidates via email.

CFA Level 1: Registration Process

  • To apply for any scholarships, eligible candidates should register as early as possible and submit their scholarship applications.
  • Once the scholarship application process is complete, candidates who are not awarded scholarships can proceed to pay their application and exam fees. These fees can be paid through various methods, including credit cards and wire transfers, and the amount depends on the time of registration.
  • Candidates should be aware of the three registration fee deadlines, with the first being the most cost-effective and the last being the most expensive.
  • For candidates registering for the CFA Level 1 exam for the first time, an additional one-time enrollment fee of USD 450 is required.
  • During registration, candidates must carefully read and accept the Candidate Agreement.
  • Additionally, upon first-time registration for the CFA exam, candidates must submit the Professional Conduct Statement, which discloses any pertinent disciplinary actions, lawsuits, or investigations.
  • CFA exam results are typically declared approximately 60 days after the exam date.

CFA Level 1: Exam Pattern

The CFA Level 1 Exam follows a specific pattern and adheres to the following guidelines:

  • Time Allocation: The entire exam is divided into two sessions, each lasting 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  • Multiple-Choice Questions: Each session comprises 90 multiple-choice questions (MCQs).
  • Exam Content - Session 1: The first level covers a variety of subjects, including mathematical methods, ethical and professional standards, financial reporting and analysis, and Economics
  • Exam Content - Session 2: The second session includes questions related to corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments, and portfolio management.
  • Time Limit per Question: Candidates have an average of 90 seconds to answer each question during the Level 1 exam.
  • Study Time: It is recommended that candidates dedicate approximately 303 hours of study time to prepare for the CFA Level 1 exam over the course of a year.

By following these guidelines and dedicating sufficient time to preparation, candidates can improve their chances of success in the CFA Level 1 exam.

CFA Level 1 Exam Dates

Mentioned below are the crucial dates for level 1 CFA exams:

Exam Period Exam Dates
February February 14-20, 2023
May May 16-22, 2023
August August 22-28, 2023
November November 11-17, 2023

CFA Level 2 

The CFA Level 2 exam assesses candidates' proficiency in applying investment valuation concepts. Ten subjects are covered in total, and they are divided into four categories: wealth planning, ethical and professional standards, and investment tools. The total duration of the Level 2 exam is 4.5 hours, divided into two halves, with an optional break in between.

CFA Level 2: Registration Process

The procedure for CFA Level 2 is quite similar to that of CFA Level 1. Eligible candidates have the option to apply for scholarship programs. For those not receiving a scholarship, they need to make the exam fee payment before the deadline while selecting their preferred exam center. Unlike Level 1, there is no enrollment fee for Level 2. Candidates must go through and accept the Candidate Agreement, just like they did for Level 1. Additionally, they are required to submit a Professional Conduct Statement, following the same process as Level 1. As with Level 1, exam results for CFA Level 2 are declared approximately 60 days after the exam date.

CFA Level 2: Exam Pattern

Here are the exam pattern and guidelines that candidates must adhere to for the CFA Level 2 exam:

  • Exam Duration: The CFA Level 2 exam is a 4.5 hour test.
  • Two Sessions: There is an optional interval between the two 135-minute sections of the exam.
  • Vignette-Supported Multiple Choice Questions: There are a total of 88 Vignette-supported Multiple Choice Questions, with 44 questions in each session.
  • MCQs after Each Vignette: Following each Vignette, there are 4-6 Multiple Choice Questions. Each correct answer earns 3 points.
  • Focus on Asset Valuation: The Level 2 exam emphasizes the valuation of various assets and the practical application of investment tools and concepts in real-world scenarios.
  • Passing Rate: The average passing rate for the CFA Level 2 exam is approximately 45%.
  • Study Time: To pass the Level 2 exam, candidates are advised to allocate 27 hours per month, totaling 328 hours over the course of a year, for preparation.

By following these exam guidelines and dedicating sufficient study time, candidates can improve their chances of success in the CFA Level 2 exam.

CFA Level 2 Exam Dates

Mentioned below are the crucial dates for level 2 CFA exams:

Exam Period Exam Dates
MayMay 23–27, 2023
AugustAugust 29, 2023 - September 2, 2023
NovemberNovember 18 - 22, 2023

CFA Level 3

The CFA Level 3 exam marks the culmination of the certification process, leading candidates to become Chartered Financial Analysts. This level of the exam places a strong emphasis on wealth planning and portfolio management. The CFA Level 3 exam is graded on a scale of 360 points, equivalent to one point per minute of the exam duration. The exam lasts for 4.5 hours and is divided into two sessions. Successful completion of the CFA Level 3 exam is a significant milestone in achieving the prestigious CFA designation.

CFA Level 3: Registration Process

  • To register for the CFA Level 3 exam, candidates need to complete the online registration form on the official CFA Institute website and provide all necessary details, including their preferred exam center.
  • Afterwards, candidates must choose the appropriate eligibility criteria from the provided options. This involves providing information about their profession, employer, employer location, or education level.
  • It is essential for candidates to carefully read and fully understand the Candidate Agreement before accepting it.
  • Candidates also have the option to select the format of the CFA study material they prefer to receive.
  • Lastly, candidates are required to make the necessary payment for the exam fees, which can be done via credit card, wire transfer, or other available payment methods.

CFA Level 3: Exam Pattern

The CFA Level 3 exam details and guidelines are as follows:

  • Exam Duration: The entire CFA Level 3 exam lasts for 4.5 hours, with each session consisting of a 2-hour 15-minute duration.
  • Vignettes and MCQs: The second session includes 8-11 vignettes, followed by 44 multiple-choice questions (MCQs).
  • Essay-Type Questions: The exam also includes essay-type questions, each with varying points attributed to them. Candidates are required to type their answers in the provided text box.
  • MCQ Choices: Multiple-choice questions will have 3 or more choices for candidates to select from.
  • Focus: The CFA Level 3 exam emphasizes effective wealth planning and portfolio management. It requires candidates to synthesize all the concepts and analytical methods from the entire curriculum.
  • Study Time: It is recommended that candidates dedicate approximately 344 hours of study time per year to prepare for the Level 3 exam.
  • Passing Rate: The average passing rate for the Level 3 exam is around 54%.

By understanding these exam details and dedicating sufficient study time, candidates can enhance their chances of success in the CFA Level 3 exam.

CFA Level 3 Exam Dates

Mentioned below are the crucial dates for level 3 CFA exams:

Exam Period Exam Dates
FebruaryFebruary 21–23, 2023
AugustAugust 29, 2023 - September 5, 2023
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Relevance of CFA Course in India

In India, the CFA course attracts a significant number of aspirants, including finance graduates, working professionals, and individuals seeking to switch careers to finance. It provides them with a comprehensive understanding of financial concepts, analytical techniques, and industry best practices.

To pursue the CFA course in India, candidates must meet the eligibility criteria set by the CFA Institute. This typically includes having a bachelor's degree or being in the final year of a bachelor's degree program, along with relevant work experience.

The CFA course in India requires a significant commitment of time and effort. Candidates are expected to study independently and prepare rigorously for each level of the exam, which is known for its challenging nature. Successful completion of all three levels of the exam, along with the required work experience, leads to the award of the CFA charter.

The CFA course offers numerous benefits to professionals in India. It enhances their understanding of financial markets, investment strategies, and risk management techniques. It also enhances their career prospects, opening doors to various roles such as investment managers, portfolio managers, research analysts, risk managers, and financial advisors.

In India, there are various training providers and coaching institutes that offer preparatory classes and study materials to support candidates in their CFA journey. Additionally, networking opportunities and career resources provided by the CFA Institute help candidates connect with industry professionals and stay updated with the latest trends in the field.

Overall, the CFA course in India is highly regarded for its comprehensive curriculum, global recognition, and emphasis on ethical standards. It serves as a valuable qualification for finance professionals looking to advance their careers in investment management and analysis.

CFA Course after MBA in Finance 

The CFA curriculum shares significant overlap with MBA finance, especially in CFA Level 1. While some MBA graduates may hesitate to pursue additional finance courses, there are compelling reasons why individuals should consider taking up the CFA program after completing an MBA in Finance:

Intensive Finance Focus: The foundational curriculum of CFA Level 1 closely resembles that of an MBA in Finance degree. The subsequent levels, Level 2 and Level 3, delve even deeper into hardcore finance, offering valuable expertise for rewarding roles within the investment industry.

Diverse Job Opportunities: Obtaining the Chartered Financial Analyst designation opens doors to a wide range of job opportunities in areas such as Investment Banking, Equity Research, Hedge Funds, and more. This credential adds unparalleled weight to one's resume, making candidates highly sought after by employers.

Adaptability in a Dynamic Finance World: The financial market is constantly evolving, with fluctuations and changes being a regular occurrence. The CFA program's rigorous curriculum prepares individuals to navigate the uncertainties of investments and the ever-changing landscape of core financial markets.

By pursuing the CFA program alongside an MBA in Finance, individuals can strengthen their knowledge and skills in finance, positioning themselves for successful and rewarding careers in the finance and investment sectors.

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CFA Course Comparison

Chartered Financial Analyst course is a professional course, well known amongst students in India. However, once the candidates complete their graduation, they are often confused between CA, CFA & MBA. The following information provides a detailed comparison amongst these courses and aids the students in choosing the best course for themselves.


CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) & CA (Chartered Accountancy), both are excellent courses that offer success in future. Earlier, candidates knew only about CA, but with time Chartered Financial Analyst course has also become popular amongst students. Given below are some of the key differences between the two courses.

Full NameChartered Financial AnalystChartered Accountancy
Conducting BodyCFA InstituteICAI
Course DetailsThe CFA course deals with providing education and training in the field of financial and investment analysis. The course can be qualified by passing all three levels CFA Level 1, CFA Level 2 and CFA Level 3.The CA course deals with providing education and training in the field of commerce and accountancy. The course can be qualified by passing many rounds like CA Foundation, CA Intermediate, and CA Final.
Course Duration1.5 - 4 Years4 - 5 Years
Global RecognitionYesNo
Average Course FeeINR 1,00,000 - INR 5,00,000INR 50,000 - INR 3,00,000
Job ProfileChartered Financial Analyst or CFAChartered Accountant
Average SalaryINR 6,50,000 - 41,00,000 LPAINR 5,00,000- 2 0.00.000 LPA


CFA and FRM (Financial Risk Manager) are popular certificate courses. Chartered Financial Analyst course gives deep insight into the financial and investment management field whereas the FRM course offers knowledge about financial products and markets, quantitative analysis etc. Given below are the key differences between the two courses. 

Full NameChartered Financial AnalystFinancial Risk Manager
Conducting BodyCFA InstituteGlobal Association of Risk Professionals (GARP)
Course Duration4 Years (approximately)5 Years (approximately)
Course DetailsCFA is a globally recognised course that offers knowledge of financial accounting, stock market, and investment decisions. The course is categorised into 3 levels.The FRM course provides deep insight into financial markets, investment management, quantitative analysis etc. The FRM course is divided into 2 sequential exams: Part 1 & Part 2.
Average Course FeesINR 1,00,000 - INR 5,00,000INR 30,000 - INR 57,000
Average SalaryINR 6,50,000 - INR 41,00,000 LPAINR 7,00,000 - INR 21,00,000 LPA


Candidates often get confused when choosing between CFA & CMA (Certified Management Accountants) because both are well-recognised courses in the field of management & finance. Chartered Financial Analyst course offers knowledge about financial management and risk management and enhances various skills related to finance and risk management. CMA basically puts emphasis on accounting management and related skills. Given below are the differences related to CFA vs CMA. 

Full-FormChartered Financial AnalystCertified Management Accountants
DurationAround 4 YearsAround 3 Years
Conducting BodyCFA InstituteInstitute of Management Accountants (IMA), USA
Course DetailsThe CFA course gives detailed knowledge about the financial and investment domain.The course focuses on management accounting, risk management, corporate finance etc and is divided into 3 papers; CMA Foundation, CMA Intermediate and CMA Final.
Average Course FeesINR 1,00,000 - INR 5,00,000INR 4,000 - INR 41,000
Average SalaryINR 6,50,000 - INR 41,00,000 LPAINR 6,00,000 - INR 50,00,000 LPA


MBA (Masters of Business Administration) has always been one of the most popular and respectable courses to pursue as it offers a high paying salary. Various MBA specialisations also act as an incentive for candidates to select their preferred specialisation in the top MBA colleges of India. Chartered Financial Analyst course on the other hand, is a globally recognised and reputed course that can guarantee great jobs in future. Chartered Financial Analyst course aids candidates in learning skills such as financial accounting, managing investments, analysing risks and other financial operations. Key differences between the two are given below:

Full-FormChartered Financial AnalystMaster of Business Administration
Course LevelGraduationPost-Graduation
DurationApproximately 4 Years1 - 2 Years
Conducting BodyCFA InstituteVarious universities in India and abroad
Course DetailsA highly specialised course meant for financial professionals. CFA Level 1 and 2 subjects are similar to MBA in Finance subjects. CFA Level 3 gives a deep understanding of finance in comparison to MBA.A highly reputed general management degree course with specialisation in the 2nd year of the course. MBA courses impart knowledge about management in a general sense.
Average Course FeesINR 1,00,000 - INR 5,00,000INR 20,00,000 - INR 30,00,000
Average SalaryINR 6,50,000 - INR 41,00,000 LPAINR 7,00,000 - INR 60,00,000 LPA
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CFA Jobs and Salary

CFA charterholders are highly sought after in both India and abroad due to their comprehensive knowledge, ethical standards, and expertise in investment management. They are well-equipped to take up various roles in the finance industry. Here is an overview of CFA jobs in India and abroad:

CFA Jobs in India:

Investment Analyst: CFA charterholders are often employed as investment analysts, conducting research, and providing insights on potential investment opportunities.

Portfolio Manager: Many CFA charterholders work as portfolio managers, responsible for managing investment portfolios and making strategic decisions to achieve clients' financial objectives.

Equity Research Analyst: CFA professionals are well-suited for equity research roles, analyzing stocks and making investment recommendations based on their findings.

Risk Manager: CFA charterholders can work as risk managers, identifying and managing financial risks to protect investment portfolios and optimize returns.

Investment Banking: CFA charterholders are valued in investment banking for their financial expertise and ability to assess potential deals and transactions.

Wealth Manager/ Financial Advisor: CFA professionals often work as wealth managers or financial advisors, helping clients plan and manage their finances effectively.

CFA Jobs Abroad:

Asset Manager: CFA charterholders are highly sought after as asset managers, responsible for managing various types of assets and investments.

Hedge Fund Analyst: CFA professionals can work in hedge funds, analyzing investment opportunities and managing hedge fund portfolios.

Private Equity Analyst: CFA charterholders are well-suited for private equity roles, evaluating potential investments and conducting due diligence.

Mutual Fund Manager: Many CFA charterholders work as mutual fund managers, overseeing mutual fund portfolios and making investment decisions.

Risk Analyst: CFA professionals can work as risk analysts, assessing financial risks and implementing risk management strategies.

Corporate Finance Analyst: CFA charterholders can pursue corporate finance roles, analyzing financial data, and providing strategic financial insights to organizations.

These are just a few examples of the diverse job opportunities available to CFA charterholders in India and abroad. Their versatile skillset and in-depth knowledge of finance make them valuable assets in the global financial industry.

CFA Salary 

Below-mentioned are CFA salaries for various job profiles:

Job RolesExperience LevelAverage Salary (Rs.)
Investment AnalystEntry Level5,00,000 - 7,00,000
Mid-Level8,00,000 - 12,00,000
Senior Level15,00,000 - 20,00,000
Portfolio ManagerEntry Level7,00,000 - 9,00,000
Mid-Level10,00,000 - 15,00,000
Senior Level18,00,000 - 25,00,000
Equity Research AnalystEntry Level6,00,000 - 8,00,000
Mid-Level9,00,000 - 12,00,000
Senior Level15,00,000 - 20,00,000
Risk ManagerEntry Level6,00,000 - 8,00,000
Mid-Level9,00,000 - 12,00,000
Senior Level14,00,000 - 18,00,000
Investment BankingEntry Level7,00,000 - 9,00,000
AnalystMid-Level10,00,000 - 15,00,000
Senior Level18,00,000 - 25,00,000
Wealth Manager/ FinancialEntry Level6,00,000 - 8,00,000
AdvisorMid-Level9,00,000 - 12,00,000
Senior Level15,00,000 - 20,00,000

Note: The salary figures mentioned above are approximate and can vary based on factors such as company, location, qualifications, and individual performance.

Top Recruiters 

A few of the top CFA recruiters in India and abroad are listed below:

Top Recruiters in IndiaTop Recruiters Abroad
HDFC BankJ.P. Morgan Asset Management
ICICI BankGoldman Sachs
Axis BankMorgan Stanley
Kotak Mahindra BankUBS Investment Bank
State Bank of IndiaPIMCO
Bajaj FinanceCredit Suisse
Franklin Templeton InvestmentsFidelity Investments
Aditya Birla CapitalVanguard
Reliance CapitalAllianceBernstein

These are some of the top recruiters that actively seek CFA charterholders for various roles in India and abroad. Companies in the financial services industry, including banks, asset management firms, investment banks, and mutual fund houses, highly value the expertise and global recognition that comes with the CFA designation. Please note that the list is not exhaustive, and there are many other prestigious organizations that also hire CFA charterholders.

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FAQs about CFA

Who earns more a CA or CFA?

The average salary package for Chartered Accountants (CA) is around Rs. 7,00,000 - Rs. 10,00,000 per annum, which is higher compared to the annual income of Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA), ranging between Rs. 6,00,000 - Rs. 8,00,000 per annum.

Is CFA exam tough?

Yes, the CFA exam is considered tough due to its comprehensive curriculum, challenging questions, and high level of difficulty. It requires extensive preparation, dedication, and in-depth understanding of financial concepts, making it a rigorous and demanding certification program for finance professionals.

Is CFA tougher than IIT?

The CFA exam is renowned for its challenging nature, considered one of the toughest exams globally. The pass rate typically hovers around 20% of the total students who take the exam. The CFA exam is divided into three phases, with the first and second phases consisting of multiple-choice format tests. In contrast, the third phase includes both essay-type subjective questions and a few additional multiple-choice questions.

Does CFA have a lot of math?

Yes, the CFA program involves a significant amount of math, particularly in the quantitative methods and financial analysis sections. Candidates need to understand mathematical concepts, perform calculations, and interpret financial data to make informed investment decisions. Strong math skills are essential for success in the CFA exams.

Which is better CA or CFA in India?

CFA offers promising career prospects in Investment Banking and Portfolio Management, while CA is more suitable for those interested in Accounting and Auditing. Both paths present excellent career opportunities, but the choice between CFA and CA depends on your specific interests and career goals. Consider your preferences to make the best decision for your future.

Is CFA really worth it in India?

The CFA course stands out as a premier certification in the finance industry, offering a robust foundation and abundant opportunities both domestically and internationally. Its global recognition unlocks a multitude of choices and benefits, making it highly valuable for finance professionals seeking career advancement and growth.

Can CFA be done with BCom?

Yes, CFA can be pursued with a BCom (Bachelor of Commerce) degree. A BCom provides a strong foundation in finance and related subjects, making it an ideal background for the CFA program. Candidates with a BCom can apply for the CFA course and work towards obtaining the prestigious CFA designation.

Does CFA have scope in India?

Yes, CFA has significant scope in India. The finance industry values CFA charterholders for their expertise, ethical standards, and in-depth knowledge of investment management. CFA opens doors to various lucrative roles, such as investment analysts, portfolio managers, and equity research analysts, making it highly relevant and sought after in India.

What is the fees for CFA Level 1?

The fees for CFA Level 1 vary based on registration deadlines. Standard registration fees range from USD 700 to USD 1,000, while early registration fees range from USD 450 to USD 930. Candidates should check the CFA Institute website for the most up-to-date and accurate fee information.

What has a higher passing rate, CA or CFA?

The passing rate for the CA (Chartered Accountant) exam is generally higher compared to the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) exam. CA exams usually have a pass rate of around 10-15%, whereas the CFA exams have a pass rate of approximately 20%.

What is the hardest subject in CFA?

According to our research, Financial Statement Analysis, Fixed Income, Quantitative Methods, Derivatives, and Economics pose the greatest difficulties for CFA Level 1 applicants.

Why choose CFA over CA?

If you aspire to enhance your knowledge and expertise in the financial or investment sectors as an analyst, the CFA program could be a suitable choice. However, if your focus is on improving skills in number-crunching, accounting, auditing, and taxation, pursuing a career as a Chartered Accountant (CA) may be more aligned with your goals.

What is the duration of CFA course?

The duration of the CFA course varies depending on individual study pace and exam scheduling. On average, candidates take around 2.5 to 4 years to complete all three levels of the CFA exams. However, candidates have the flexibility to study and take the exams at their own pace within certain time constraints.

Can you do CFA after 12th?

While you can start pursuing the CFA program during your final year of graduation, it is not feasible to enroll immediately after completing the 12th grade. The minimum eligibility requirement for CFA is an undergraduate qualification or a bachelor's degree from a recognized university.

Which course is equal to CFA?

No course is entirely equal to CFA, as it offers a unique and comprehensive curriculum focused on investment management and analysis. However, an MBA with a finance specialization or a Chartered Accountancy (CA) designation may provide some overlapping knowledge and skills in finance, but they do not offer the same depth and breadth as CFA.

Can I do CFA without graduation?

To be eligible for the Level I CFA Exam, candidates must possess a bachelor's degree or be within 23 months of their graduation month from a bachelor's degree program at the time of taking the Level I exam.

Is CFA stressful?

Yes, pursuing the CFA program can be stressful due to its challenging curriculum and rigorous exam process. The extensive study material, time commitment, and pressure to pass all three levels of the exam can create stress for candidates. However, the effort is rewarding as it leads to enhanced career opportunities in finance and investment management.

Can we crack CFA without coaching?

Yes, it is possible to crack the CFA exams without formal coaching. Many candidates have successfully passed all three levels of the CFA program through self-study using official CFA Institute materials and other supplementary resources. However, self-study requires dedication, discipline, and thorough preparation to cover the extensive syllabus effectively.

Is 7 months enough for CFA Level I exams?

While the duration may vary for each individual, 7 months can generally be considered sufficient for preparing for the CFA Level I exam. It provides a reasonable timeframe to cover the curriculum, review the study materials, and practice with mock exams. However, it is important to manage time effectively, maintain a consistent study schedule, and prioritize understanding the concepts thoroughly within the given timeframe.

Can a non math student crack CFA?

Yes, a non-math student can certainly crack the CFA exams. While the CFA program involves quantitative concepts, it also covers a wide range of financial topics that do not require an extensive background in mathematics. With dedication, focus, and diligent preparation, non-math students can grasp the necessary mathematical concepts and succeed in the CFA exams.

What is the average salary of CFA plus MBA in India?

Generally, individuals with both qualifications can expect a higher salary compared to those with only one of the certifications. On average, the combined CFA and MBA qualification may command a salary range of INR 10,00,000 to INR 25,00,000 per annum in India. However, it's important to note that these figures are subject to change over time and based on the prevailing market conditions and economic factors.

What is the full form of CFA?

Chartered Financial Analyst is the full name of the CFA. The CFA Institute offers a certification that is well-known throughout the world. CFA professionals possess expertise in finance, investment analysis, and portfolio management, making them highly sought after in the financial industry.

Is CFA tougher than CA?

The CFA course typically requires a minimum of 2 years to complete, whereas CA is widely recognized as one of the toughest courses worldwide, boasting an average passing percentage of 0.5%. In contrast, the CFA program has a significantly higher passing rate when compared to CA.

Is CFA better than MBA?

CFA and MBA serve different purposes. CFA is ideal for finance professionals seeking expertise in investment management, while an MBA offers a broader business education. CFA is more specialized and globally recognized in the finance industry, while an MBA provides broader business knowledge applicable to various fields. Choose based on career goals.

What is CFA salary in India?

The typical CFA salary in India averages around Rs. 9,00,000 per annum. For freshers starting their careers as CFAs, the salary is approximately Rs. 50,000 per month in cities such as Mumbai, Gurgaon, and Hyderabad.

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Related Questions

Is ACCA course is available?
-Damnpreet -Updated on July-07-20231 Answers

Jayita Ekka, CollegeDekho Expert

-Answered on July-07-2023

Dear student,

ACCA stands for ASSOCIATION OF CHARTERED CERTIFIED ACCOUNTANTS in India. ACCA is a professional body for this qualification. It has members and students across the world in 170 countries. It works in the interest of the public, and its members have regulated appropriately.

Pursuing a Chartered Accountancy course and ACCA is similar. If you want to go abroad, then ACCA course is better. However, if you plan to stay in India, we advise you to pursue CA. You may choose from the many Accountancy colleges in India

Know about career opportunities as a Chartered Accountant

If you want to discuss further, you may call our IVR - 18005729877

Good luck!


Rahul Raj, Student / Alumni

-Answered on Mar-01-2021

Dear Student,

CFA comprises three levels and each level comprises a six-hour exam. Candidates have to pass these three extensive exams in order to get the CFA credentials. The duration of CFA is 4 years after graduation. So even after completing CA, it will take 4 years to pursue CFA.

If you have any more questions or want to know particular information about the CFA course, please fill our common application form and our education experts will contact you and provide all the details.

You can also download the CollegeDekho App from the Google Play Store to stay updated with all education-related information. 

Please get back to us if you have any other questions or doubt.

Thank you


Rahul Raj, Student / Alumni

-Answered on Jan-22-2021

Dear Student,

Some of the best colleges for Chartered Financial Analyst in India are mentioned below:-

International Institute Of Financial Markets (IIFM DELHI), Delhi

Narayana Business School (NBS), Ahmedabad

You can either fill out our Common Application Form (CAF) here to apply, or you can directly fill out the application form on the official website of the college.

If you plan to apply for admission via our CAF form, you will have many benefits, such as the support of a counsellor who will assist you free of charge, in any possible way, from the completion of the application form to the submission of your admission fee.

Call our toll-free number 18005729877 for FREE counselling

Thank you

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