All the Details You Want to Know About the CFA Certification [Updated June 2022]

At some point in their lives anyone who wants to break into financial services surely hears about the CFA exam. We're here to give you the lowdown on everything CFA in this monthly updating mega blog post!

What is the CFA Program?

The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) is a world-renowned qualification in the investment management sector and the “gold standard” for wealth managers, research analysts, investment professionals, portfolio managers and related careers in investment.

CFA is a postgraduate level degree aiming to build real-world skills and expertise in investment analysis.

The first CFA exam was held in 1963, and today, more than 175,000 CFA charter holders have successfully obtained the CFA designation. They work internationally at nearly every major asset management firm, investment bank, consulting firm and hedge fund.

Growth in demand for the CFA's has significantly increased. Registrations for the CFA exams have grown up by approximately 10%every year since 2012, with 270,000+ candidates globally in 2019. 

​Most importantly, the year-on-year growth has been accelerating since 2015 and this trend may continue, given increasing demand from emerging markets.

What makes CFA out-stand is its ability to set a benchmark for the talent of finance professionals because of its emphasis on analysis, investment knowledge, and derived ethics.

After completing the program and fulfilling other professional requirements, the chance of becoming a CFA Charter holder provides an advantageous charm to applicants or seekers like you.

 

Who is the Organising Authority for the CFA Program?

The CFA Institute, formerly the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR), governs and provides for it entirely, including creating the curriculum, code of ethics and conducting exams that underlie the CFA designation.

Besides monitoring and updating a standard of conduct and behaviour for investment professionals, the CFA Institute also shapes and influences public perception, various policies, and industry practices to ensure sustainable investment profession and services.

Headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia and with offices in Beijing, New York, Hong Kong,Mumbai, London, and Brussels, the CFA Institute is led by a board of governors that comprises of 20 board members.

The CFA Institute is a global leader in financial industry practices, investment ethics, and capital market integrity.

 

What is the Work of the CFA Institute?

Established in 1947, the CFA Institute is a globally recognised organisation that provides education for investment and working professionals. It provides the CharteredFinancial Analyst (CFA) designation, covering ethics, economics, corporate finance, and financial analysis.

The CFAInstitute aims to promote the highest standards of education, ethics, and professional excellence in the global investment industry. It also produces industry guidelines, such as the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS), and aspires to serve financial professionals through professional development, education, and networking opportunities.

There are around 172,000 CFA charter holders in 165 countries, with approximately 31,000investment institutions recognising it as a standard of choice.

The CFA Institute also provides a Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement and an Investment Foundations Program.

 

Designations Offered by the CFA Institute

The Institute various offers certifications and education programs, with the CFA designation being the most recognised in the industries.

The CFA program provides a foundation course in portfolio management and investment analysis skills, while being the professional standard of choice for more than31,000 investment sector firms worldwide.

The CFA designation requires candidates to clear all three successive examinations covering quantitative methods, ethical and professional standards, corporate finance, equity, fixed income, economics, financial reporting, alternative investments, derivatives, and portfolio management. Aspiring CFA candidates must also have minimum industry experience before receiving the designation.

 

Benefits of Getting a CFA Certification

You’re not in the wrong place if you’re trying to obtain more financial credibility to your career but if you’re still feeling a little unsure? You’re not alone! No matter how basic the benefits of a CFA designation may seem, it is completely natural to be confused before taking this enormous leap.

We’re here to help make sure you’re making the best possible decision for YOU:

Being a CFA charter holder comes with a lot of distinction and benefits. It recognises the designation as an achievement, making charter holders stand out to potential employers. Charter holders often stand out because of the time, discipline, and dedication it takes to pass the exams and become a member. Are you ready to amaze yourself by the potential CFA might have for you and your career?

  • Vast Learning into Finance: For a long-term and successful finance career, the CFA curriculum provides an excellent opportunity to ensure a substantial knowledge base and top-notch technical skills. You can find everything related to finance and investment covered in the folds of its program. With each level, you’ll discover newer and broader concepts, leaving you wondering if you’re a part of Jumanji. 
  • Many Opportunities: Well, well… if it isn’t the most frequently asked question regarding CFA: what range of job profiles can one access after finishing CFA? After completing the CFA program, there is not one, not two but a pool of opportunities available in the industry. You can work in accounting, Auditing, Taxation, Financial Services, and many more. Take your pick in any field of your choice, from Asset Management, Equities, and Risk Management to Investment Banking, Derivatives, and Research.
  • Recognition: On top of being added to your CV, it lends a skilled hand at boosting your reputation anywhere you go. With the attained recognition of your ability,     dedication, ethical grounding, and analytical skills, you will always be the better choice on most occasions against other non-CFA contenders.
  • Higher Salary: This program can give you a financial advantage with higher compensation opportunities in prominent finance firms. The average salary ranges from INR 4 Lakhs- to 40 Lakhs per annum on completing the CFA course. Institutions like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and UBS.10 prefer taking CFAs over MBAs, thus showcasing a higher skill expectation from the CFA holders.

Like in any other profession, you can only assure yourself to earn better with hard work, personal skills, luck, dedication, political survivance, and character. Don’t rely on CFA to be your ticket to a golden haven.

Substantially, with increasing commoditisation and competition in the investment industry, a portfolio manager with a charter has become a requisite. Investors who deal with CFA charter holders assume them to be better at their craft, whether it be security analysis, portfolio management, business reporting, or some other service. Since the holder has agreed to maintain a higher level of integrity by following the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, a reasonable amount of credibility is added to the individual’s work.

Investment professionals with a CFA designation have put in a significant amount of time and effort to better their skills and knowledge to work for their clients. This will come as a great relief to most investors, mainly if they depend on professional advice in managing their financial affairs.

CFA attracts professionals from outside of the typical finance roles because it allows them to broaden their knowledge horizons. This designation helps them to stand out from their peers. These professionals include accountants, auditors, lawyers, and senior management in operations. Financial firms see the value of having charter holders in other areas outside their trading desks and actively seek them to fill in the gaps.

 

How the CFA Certification Has the Edge Over Other Certifications

CFA vs. CA

First, what is CA?

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) conducts Chartered Accountancy (CA) course.

Also known as Certified Public Accountant, CA is a professional accountant who works with various accountancy firms or companies.

CA prepares monthly financial status, regulates accounting systems, provides consultancy, and files tax returns. Specialisation in the taxation process is the most popular choice among CA.

Being a CA provides you the flexibility to work as an analyst, auditor, accountant, or even a consultant in various companies. You can eventually form your private firms, develop a client base, and offer taxation help and financial to individuals or join the government, public or private sectors.

However, there isn’t global recognition for Chartered Accountancy.

Responsibilities of a Chartered Accountant are:

  • To manage the accounting department and overlook the duties of the same.
  • Manage the entire financial process.
  • Prepare an expense budget report.
  • Financing reporting and auditing.
  • To create and maintain the accounting systems and processes.
  • Coordinate income statements.
  • Prepare monthly financial reports.
  • Review and release online banking payments.

CA average income: A fresher CA graduate earns up to INR 6-8 lakhs per annum, which increases with experience.

How CFA compares to CA:

The CFA program focuses primarily on expertise and knowledge which applies in the management and investment profession. Following is the minimum required time to gain the CFA designation, according to the CFA Institute:

  • Four years, approximately, to complete the program
  • Six months of preparation for each exam
  • Over 300+ hours of study time

With the CFA certification, you’ll have the perks that big MNCs will immediately hire you like Bank of Canada, HSBC Holdings, Wells Fargo, TD Bank Financial Group, to name a few.

CFA program aims to provide formal training and education in financial and investment analysis. We know by now that the exam can be qualified after the three Levels, i.e., Level 1, 2 & 3. The average time you’ll take to qualify and become a CFA is 1.5 to 4 years.

Another benefit of choosing Chartered Financial Analyst is that it has global recognition. The best part of this CFA course is that you’ll have the opportunity of working around the world!

Since the CFA course has global recognition, it increases your probability of getting a higher-paying job in Finance and Banking internationally.

Responsibilities of a Chartered Financial Analyst are:

  • Collecting data about the stock market and converting it into spreadsheets for easy     access to information.
  • Analysing information and providing it to stockbrokers and individual investors.
  • Studying and analysing financial details of companies.
  • Analyse the difficulties of unique entities to help the clients make wise     investments.
  • Preparing reports with all the financial information.

The average salary of a CFA Charter is between INR 6.1 lakh and goes up to 40 lakhs per annum with time and experience.

 

CFA vs. FRM

Now let’s compare CFA and FRM.

What is FRM?

Financial Risk Management (FRM) protects economic value in a firm by using financial instruments to manage exposure to risk such as operational risk, credit risk, liquidity risk, inflation risk, etc.

FRM certification is more specialised than a CFA certification. Its primary focus is on managing exposure to operational, credit, market, foreign exchange, volatility, liquidity, inflation, business, legal, reputational, and sector risk.

Being a CFA charter requires knowledge and expertise in a much broader range of financial analysis topics, such as portfolio management, economics, reporting, quantitative analysis, etc.

Another significant difference that you will see is the exam structure. There are 2 FRM exams - Part 1 and Part 2, and there are 3 CFA program exams - Level 1, Level2, and Level 3, which provide you with much more knowledge and information.

Income: The average income of an FRM is INR 9 lakhs per annum.

How to obtain a FRM Certification:

·     Take and pass the FRM exams. There is no degree or work requirements to take the exams.

·     You need to work full-time in a financial risk role for at least two years.

·     Show your experience to the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) by describing your professional role in financial risk management and submitting to GARP within five years of passing Part 2.

How to obtain a CFA Charter:

·     Clear all three levels of the CFA exam.

·     Complete all work experience requirements before, during, and after participating in the CFA program.

·     Submit 2-3 reference letters based on your work experience and professionalism.  

·     Apply to become a regular member of the CFA Institute.

 

CFA vs. MBA

What is MBA?

Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a general management degree course specialising in the second half of the course. It concentrates on giving the student a general round understanding of the different subjects in management.

CFA, as we know by now, is a highly specialised course meant ONLY for finance professionals.CFA levels 1 and 2 are like the subjects in an MBA in Finance; Level 3 takes you much deeper into the subjects than most MBA courses. A little extra knowledge never hurt anybody, what do you think?

In the MBA course, you will take classes covering all aspects of the business world and the opportunities to focus on a specific industry with two years of full-time study in a program that will cost you around INR 2 lakhs–10 lakhs.Hey, that’s a buck load of money that you’ll be spending!

During the two years of MBA, courses range from human resources (HR) to accounting, from marketing and sales to managing operations, supply chains, and technology. Students get MBAs in specific topics–such as health care, communications, information systems technology–depending on which field most interests them.

Whereas a CFA takes around only 19 months of self-study and the passing of three exams, it’s cheaper than an MBA – under Rs. Three lakhs – focusing on investment analysis, portfolio strategy, and asset allocation.

Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA Charter can be a big deal in your career!You can easily land high-paying jobs in Financial Analysis and InvestmentAnalysis. An enormous relief for you to know is a hike in demand for CFAs inIndia because of industrialisation and globalisation. Almost all the top companies prefer highly trained and designated CFAs to other professionals.

MBA average income: A fresh MBA graduate’s starting salary is approximately INR 2.9–3.5 lakhs per annum.

After getting CFA certification, you can go for jobs in various departments that offer a handsome salary package of around INR 8–20 lakhs per annum. Now that’s a buck load of money!

 

CFA vs. Master’s in Finance

Reaching towards our final comparison, for those of you considering a career in investment, whether to get a CFA credential or a Master’s in Finance (MSF) designation has always been confusing.

Both have their pros, as both programs give knowledge about the financial industry. But there is a subtle difference between them. On the one hand, the Master’s in Finance provides more general knowledge and is best suited for those who practice in more general fields in the business and financial sector. On the other hand, the CFA program is for those who possess specialised skills, such as investment analysis portfolio strategies and asset management.

The MSF provides vast knowledge in every sector related to financial services–commercial banking, corporate finance, financial analysis, personal finances, adversaries’ services, insurance, investment banking, money management, property, business consultancy, taxation, risk management, funds management, stock brokerage services, and underwriting.

Experienced MSF in this industry have the highest salaries. The program provides technical skills, sharpens the critical thinking of its attendees, and teaches accurate business models.

Let’s look at the reasons to get an MSF:

  • Networking opportunities: Earning an MSF degree is an excellent opportunity to expand your professional network. Studying alongside other students working at different companies at various stages of their careers but still sharing your same passion for finance can be a tremendous benefit as you look at advancing your career. Most highly regarded universities have a passionate alumnus active in assisting other alumni. The quality of your network can significantly impact your ability to attain your career goals.
  • Expand beyond investments: An MSF allows you to study advanced financial skills outside of just investment management that the CFA mainly focuses on. It will enable MSF students to gain progressive investment banking, commercial banking, corporate finance, and risk management skills. These advanced skill sets     allow for a broader range of career opportunities in the future. 
  • Leadership roles: An advanced degree is often required for many companies' leadership positions. Those holding a graduate degree in finance achieve top     leadership positions. When filling leadership positions, these advanced skills have the depth and width that employers look for.
  • Career services: Earning an MSF degree will position you to take advantage of the university’s career services office. Many universities have close relationships with employers both locally and nationally.
  • The Gold Standard: For the field of finance, there is no better option to show your commitment to the area and your willingness to become a versatile subject expert than by earning your MSF degree from a highly regarded university.

A Master’s in finance coupled with success in the CFA program is the ultimate combination for those seeking carrier success in the investment profession!

A Master’s degree shows postgraduate academic achievement and the chance to focus on the area of personal interest. Many programs offer options or dissertation roots that allow students to dive deeper into topical, regional, or specialist themes.

The CFA program provides the all-important practitioner focus–the full breadth of skills and competencies employers are looking for in work-ready investment professionals.

CFA charter holders are exceptionally career mobile and have a considerable breadth of technical understanding outside their job roles.

 

Why you Should Choose CFA over other Finance-related Disciplines?

Overall Comparison:

 

Salary Comparison:

Diverse options in CFA job role:

 

Eligibility Criteria

If CFA has piqued your interest, and you want to enrol in the program, keep in mind the following eligibility criterion:

·     Either:

o  A Bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognised college or institute. Although inmost cases, individuals usually from finance or a similar background aspire to become a CFA.

o  In the last year of your bachelor’s degree program, you can still register for the CFA course for the Level 1 exam. However, you must attain your undergraduate degree before registering for CFA Level 2 exam.

o  There’s also a scenario wherein you have a minimum of 4 years of work experience or a combination of work experience and education totaling four years. You stand eligible for the program. Anything from an internship or article ship to owning a business count as work experience, except those that are unpaid or without proof of payment.

·     A valid passport

·     Completed assessment in English

·     Meet the professional conduct admission criteria

·     Live in a participating country that is registered for the CFA exam

Note: As an aspirant, you must be working in afield where your job construes to be within the realm of acceptable experience.For the work experience to qualify, at least 50% of the time being on the job must be directly involved in the investment decision-making process or producing a product that impacts that process. Otherwise, you will not receive the designation despite passing the educational requirements because you do not have the required professional experience.

 

Registration Process

Once you’re aware of your eligibility, it is time to understand how to proceed with the registration. The 2022 registration deadlines for the February, May, August, and November exams for CFA Level 1 are up on the official website of the CFA Institute.

For Level 1 Candidates:

Online registration is now the most common, quick, and hassle-free way.

1. First, you need to enrol and create an account on the CFA Institute website. You will get the registration form via email from the CFA Institute.

2. Then, put in all the necessary, appropriate information, select your preferred exam centre and dates, and then schedule an appointment.

3. If you are eligible and wish to apply for any scholarship, we expect you to register much earlier to submit your scholarship application.

4. If this does not apply to you, the next step would be to pay for your application and exam fee via credit card, wire transfer, etc. The amount will depend upon when you registered.

For Level 2 and Level 3 Candidates:

Now that you’re a Level 2 or Level 3 candidate, registration and scheduling for the 2022CFA exams is merely a two-step process.

1. First, you need to log in to your existing account

2. Select your exam window and schedule an appointment.

Note: You can view the current dates, times, and test centre options during the scheduling process.

Price change for 2023!

It should be noted that 2023 onwards, the early registration fee will increase from $700 to $900, and the standard fee will increase from $1000 to $1200 as per the CFA institute announcement.

 

Important Dates to Remember: 

 

CFA Program Level 1

You already have the exam insights of CFA. Now, the first pillar you must cross to earn a CFA charter is the CFA Level 1 exam. This level of the CFA exam tests your knowledge and comprehension ability. The focus is on ethical and professional standards and investment tools.

It is a computer-based exam consisting of 180 multiple choice questions, split between two 135 minutes sessions (approximate). You must take both sessions to receive CFA Level 1 exam results.

The Level 1 exam is offered four times a year. It mainly focuses on recalling formulas and definitions from memory, and most of the material is a straightforward introduction to the concepts covered.

Exam pattern

CFA level 1 is computer-based, and the question patterns are multiple-choice, which is divided into two sessions:

The first session (135 minutes): 90 multiple-choice questions covering the topics of quantitative methods, ethics & professional standards, economics, and financial reporting and analysis.

Second session (135 minutes): 90 multiple-choice questions covering the topics of corporate finance, equity, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments, and portfolio management.

Each multiple-choice problem in the CFA Level 1 exam comprises of a question, a statement, and/or table and three answer choices (A, B, or C).

The two formats used in the exam are sentence completion with three unique choices and questions with three individual choices.

Exam Cost

 

How to apply?

Step 1: Open the official website of theCFA institute at cfainstitute.org

Step 2: Enrol for the registration for the CFA level 1 exam 2022with a valid email address and password.

Step 3: Select the CFA 2022 exam level 1and click on ‘save and continue.’

Step 4: Now, fill out the registration form with the necessary details.

Step 5: Select the preferred location for the choice CFA level 1 exam centre 2022.

Step 6: Enter your passport details for the verification purpose, e.g., Date of birth, passport number, etc. 

Step 7: Select the eligibility criteria for the CFA level 1 exam 2022 from the given options.

Step 8: Choose your employer location or profession, or education level.

Step 9: Click on the ‘statement of understanding’ after reading the policies.

Step 10: Select the format of CFA 2022level 1 study material you want to receive.

Step 11: Now, submit the fees for CFA level 1 exam 2022 through wire transfer, ACH, cheque, credit card, postal order, or money order.

Step 12: Take the print of CFA level1 registration form 2022 and save the copy. 

 

Syllabus

CFA Level 1 Topic Area

Topic Weight in 2022

 

Study Tips for CFA Level 1

  • Do NOT ignore Ethics - it is a big mistake to think that Ethics is one of those easy questions that don’t require much reading. Discover your error during the practice exam period and try to correct it as soon as you discover the mistake in the following practice test. Sometimes, Ethics isn’t innate, and you must learn it.
  • Use the end of chapter questions as a topic excellence indicator – the CFA curriculum has some problems at the end of every chapter for candidates to try out. These problems are usually easier than exam problems but are handy to check your basic understanding of the topic. Try to do them all, write your score as a percentage, and keep an eye on it. This will be useful for you to know which topics you need to cover again with more focus and which topics need less focus.
  • Learn from other test takers – it is always good to check out last year's exams to get familiar with the expected trends.
  • Make a good grip on your calculator – it does not matter if you use BA II Plus or HP12C; make sure to have a good grip on the calculator by the time exam time comes, fast but without compromising accuracy. Also, always clear your previous calculations before starting the new one for a question. 
  • Practice makes perfect – as the CFA Level 1 exam consists of multiple-choice questions, the more significant the number of attempts, the better your score. This indicates a better grip on the topic. Therefore, it’s best to give at least a month before exams for the practice test; this allows you to discover new areas that need more work.
  • Time management at the exam is vital – level 1 is about breadth. You need to be ruthless in time management (approximately 1.5 minutes for every multiple-choice question). Give yourself enough time to mull over problems, but once the time is exhausted, choose an answer and move on! There is no negative marking for a wrong answer, and it’s best to guess than leave it blank.
  • Have  a (good) study buddy – Trust us, it helps a lot and not just for academic reasons but also for other reasons. It’s good to have someone to go for lunch with, cry about the mind-boggling FRA questions, or just play football during your free time.  
  • Take care of yourself – it’s just the first battle out of three battles to be fought, so take care of your well-being by getting good food and sound sleep. Drink coffee shots (optional) at night to stay attentive. Do some exercise, have enough sleep, and eat healthy to focus better during study sessions. It pays a good return in the long run; it is a marathon, after all!

 

CFA Program Level 2

Level II of the CFA exam tests your knowledge in application and analysis, focusing on asset valuation. Unlike Level 1, Level II focuses on how you apply standards to situations that analysts face.

It is offered two times a year. Be prepared to demonstrate that you can use tools and relationships to analyse assets and financial data valuation. Retaining concepts should not be your focus; instead, you need to show that you understand how to use them. It is computer-based and consists of vignette-supported multiple-choice questions.

Exam Cost

 

Exam pattern

The LevelII exam has a standardised structure with 11 item sets for each session, for a total of 22 on the exam. 

Multiple-choice problems in each item set must be answered based on the information in the vignette. Therefore, the things are not free-standing, as in the CFA Level I exam. You will need to refer to the vignette before answering each item. 

All topics in the Level II curriculum may be covered in either the first and second sessions or possibly both sessions.

Duration: The duration of the Level II exam will be 4 hours and 24 minutes, which splits into two equal sessions of 72 minutes, with an optional break in-between.

 

How to apply?

Step 1: Go to the official website of the CFA Institute at https://www.cfainstitute.org/.

Step 2: Visit the login page and enter your registered email address and password for the previous Level

Step 3: Select the CFA 2022 exam level II and enter the ‘save and continue option.

Step 4: Fill up the registration form with the necessary details. 

Step 5: Select the preferred location for the choice CFA level II exam centre 2022.

Step 6: Enter your passport details for the verification purpose, e.g., Date of birth, passport number, etc. 

Step 7: Choose the eligibility criteria for the CFA levelII exam 2022 as suitable for the candidate

Step 9: Choose your employer's location or profession and your employment status.

Step 10: Click on the ‘statement of understanding’ after reading the policies.

Step 11: Select the CFA 2022 level II model to study the material by which you want to receive the books

Step 11: Now, submit the fees for the CFA level 2 exam 2022through wire transfer, ACH, cheque, credit card, postal order, or money order

Step 12: Review the registration form and edit if editing is required

Step 13: Take out the print of the CFA level 2 registration form 2022, and save the copy

 

Syllabus

CFA  Level II Topic Area

Topic  Weight in 2022

 

Study Tips for CFA Level 2

  • Balance breadth vs. depth – level II materials are more intense because they are more calculation-based, which requires a deep understanding of a concept. On the other hand, this can work if you aim to grasp critical concepts and test your knowledge with practice problems on that topic. Fix a time to do this for each concept and move on to the next once the time gets over as there’s lots to cover. You need to make sure you’ve at least understood 70% of all the materials, rather than 100% of half the syllabus. 
  • Make summary notes – while studying for each concept, summarise your learnings on paper. Especially for topics that you find difficult to understand. It aids memory, and you’d be thankful for concise revision notes nearer to the exams.
  • Save time by skimming questions first – a technique that works well in the exam with item sets is to have a quick look at the questions in a vignette. You can then go forward to read the vignette with more focus on the search for the answers. This will significantly reduce the back-and-forth checking between vignette and questions – a super time-saver!
  • Emphasise keywords – this should be done in conjunction with the point above^. Always highlight keywords in your reading of questions and vignettes. With more to read at this level, you can spot and remind yourself of tricky wordings and minimise costly mistakes. Some examples include “except,” “is not,” “most/least likely,” “closest to,” etc.  
  • Time management – it may seem more relaxing now that there are only 10-15 vignettes with 4-6 questions per vignette in each paper, but believe me, the pressure is the same! You don’t have 3 minutes per question, as you need to consider the time it takes to read the vignette (and they are on average 1/2 pages long). So, allow yourself a maximum of 18 minutes per item set, and when time’s up, shoot and go.
  • Take the last 1 - 2 weeks off work – all levels need to take a week off before the exam for previous minute drilling. However, we recommend adding an additional week of personal holidays for an extra boost this time. You will learn loads quickly by doing practice questions, reading your summarised notes, and reviewing formulae. Get additional materials if you find yourself idle. Now is the time to work for it and we promise you, you won’t regret it.
  • Plan your celebration – the most fun tip of all! Set up a plan to celebrate once you’re done with your exams. Whether it’s a party, a nice dinner out, or bungee jumping, it’s crucial to have something to look forward to on days when motivation is lacking. The more outrageous and fun, the better. For me, my reward was having a couch potato evening (yes, wild, I know) with junk food as dinner. It’s even become a post-exam tradition for me ever since!

CFA Program Level 3

The Level III of the CFA exam is the last of three exams conducted by the CFA Institute.Mixed with at least 48 months of relevant work experience, completing the final level will result in a CFA charter membership.

While the first two levels revolved around investment valuation comprehension, basic financial knowledge, and the application of both, the Level III exam focuses primarily on portfolio management and wealth planning.

Exam Cost

 

Exam pattern

The exam format, which is only offered in June, is a mix of item set questions (likeLevel II) and essay-type problems. Like the other exams, the Level III exam is also conducted in two slots: the morning slot and the afternoon slot.

In the morning slot, there are 10 to 15 essay-type problems. Each problem further divided into multiple parts, such as A, B, C, etc. These problems may put you in a situation and ask you to give your recommendation or solution. In the afternoon slot, there will be 10 item sets.

How to apply?

Step 1: Go to the official website of the CFA Institute.

Step 2: Now, log in with the registered login credentials.

Step 3: Select the CFA 2022 exam level 3 and click ‘save and continue.’

Step 4: Now, fill out the registration form with the necessary details.

Step 5: Select the preferred location for the CFA level 3 exam centre 2022.

Step 6: Fill in the international travel passport details for verification, e.g., Date of birth and passport number.

Step 7: Select the suitable eligibility criteria for the CFA level 3 exam 2022 from the given options.

Step 8: Choose your employer location, profession, or education level.

Step 9: Click on the ‘statement of understanding’ after reading all the institute's policies.

Step 10: Select the format of CFA 2022 level 3 study material you want to receive.

Step 11: Now, submit the fees for the CFA exam 2022 for level 3 through any one mode such as credit card, wire transfer,ACH, cheque, postal order, or money order.

Step 12: Save the copy of the complete form.

Step 13: Now, take out the print of theCFA level 3 registration form 2022.

 

Syllabus

CFA Level III Topic Area

Topic Weight in 2022

  

Study Tips for CFA Level 3

  • Try every question to maximise your score – this one’s tried and tested, guys. It really does work.
  • Second thing to do - is to stick to the time limit per question (whichever best suits you, i.e., the ‘shoot-and-go’ principle). If the time is up, choose or write an answer depending upon the type and move on to next one. This is the only way to attempt each question, even if you’re not sure (this feeling could permeate the whole exam)! For the first paper, it’s a little trickier than having a multiple-choice to ‘shoot’ and move on. But if you are stuck, write the best answer according to you and move to the next one. There is no penalty so try to maximise your attempts.
  • If you have absolutely no idea what to answer - list down any possible answers on the side in pencil as a reminder BUT pick the best solution for that instance and type them on the answer sheet. You can always revisit the question if you have extra time later.
  • Keep your constructed response answers short and simple - when we’re not sure of a solution, the common tendency is to start writing a lot. Let’s include everything, and maybe something will stick! That’s not a good idea, unfortunately. CFA examiners recommend writing concise, straight-to-the-point answers with no fluff. This means using bullet points, short sentences, shorthand for formula notation, etc. – these are all acceptable and encouraged! The reason for this is two-fold:
     
  • You  will not get rewarded for more information than asked for. Try to answer exactly what they have asked for. Don't write more, even if you know a whole lot more about the topic. The examiners have no interest in looking at an epic essay. They will likely cross it all out if it’s not relevant.
  •  
  • The guideline answers in your practice exams are more elaborate and longer for explanatory reasons. For the actual exams, short and crisp answers in bullet points are more than enough.
  • For questions that require calculations - show your calculation methods for arriving at your answer. Even if the final output is wrong, you may get awarded points for the correct formula application.
  • Keep calm and carry on: You’re already in the exam and nearly done with the certification. No matter what happens, chug on and finish it the best you can. You’ll be surprised at how smart, resilient and resourceful you are when you face these challenges. 

When shit hits the fan, your mental power is vital. Your choice of reaction in the exam will determine the outcome.

This attitude will save you during the constructed response part of the exam, where most students lose track of time.

This positive mind power is also cultivated way before the exam. 

 

How Each Level of the CFA Program is Different from Each Other 

The following tables gives a comparison of all the CFA levels in term of topic weightage and basic cost:

According to topic weightage:

According to Basic Cost:

Scholarships 

Scholarships available for candidates
Application process for scholarships

Terms and conditions for scholarships:

1. You should not register for a CFA program exam, while your scholarship is under process.

2. Only you can take benefit from a scholarship, it cannot transfer to another person.

3. If you are awarded the CFA Access Scholarship, and you don’t show up for the exam, you may be ineligible to receive future scholarships.

Important Links 

CFA Official Website Link: https://www.cfainstitute.org/

CFA program Enrolment/Registration/ Rescheduling Link: CFA Program Enrolment Link

Apply for a Scholarship: https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/programs/cfa/scholarships

Email Address for Applying for Scholarships: scholarships@cfainstitute.org

MasterCFAPrep: https://www.mastercfa.com/

 

Life after CFA

Better job opportunities: Financial and investment service companies are taking longer to fill positions, focusing on finding candidates who mesh with their cultures. CFA Charter holders have a distinct advantage with demonstrated expertise in investment management and financial analysis in this competitive environment.

Instant credibility and industry respect: CFA is the most prestigious and valued qualification in the finance and investment industry. This makes things easier when entering the industry, as CFA charter holders gain instant recognition and respect, making it easier to get exciting roles or positions.

Career advancement opportunities: Completing the CFA Program allows you to become a CFA Institute member, a global network of investment professionals. The charter prepares you well for various investment-related jobs, such as portfolio manager, risk manager, research analyst, etc.

Global recognition and networking: The CFA charter is recognised by regulators, universities, and certification programs in more than 30 countries and territories. So, you will become a part of the global network. You’ll gain unmatched career resources and relationships and access to jobs worldwide that require a CFA charter designation. 

Real-world expertise: A CFA charter is considered as a niche in the larger business world than an MBA, which addresses a broad array of topics with less depth. The skills and knowledge you will develop as you become a CFA Charter holder will serve you well throughout your career.

 

Career Options:

Some of the jobs that a CFA qualified professional can obtain are:

• Portfolio Manager: In this designation, a person invests related decisions for other people who control that money in the manager’s hand or a person in charge of a firm’s assets and liability (loan and deposit)portfolios. The CFA program focuses on training you to become a portfolio manager, so this job is a complimentary job given by the CFA Institute.

• Risk Manager: A person who predicts and manages the risks that a firm faces or might face in the future. How to cope with and avoid such risks and analyse their effects is the work of a risk analyst. With its widespread content on managing risk, the CFA course coaches you well enough to become a coherent Risk manager.

• Chief Executive: It is the highest and most senior corporate officer managing a profit organisation. You will be in the order of maximising the value of the entity. He behaves as a decision-maker, a manager, a leader ,and an executor. CFA helps you gain leadership and managerial qualities along with firm decision-making traits.

• Research Analyst: Securities analyst, Financial analyst, investment analyst, rating analyst, or equity analyst is a person whose job is to analyse the financial records of its clients. He gives reports and notes to his clients after exploring all that the client would want to know. CFA prepares you to analyse and derive the information about a firm in such an efficient way that you don’t miss out on anything.

• Financial Advisor: A person who provides advice and guidance to firms or individuals on investment and finance-related decisions. They help them make the right decisions and direct them to a higher profit-making area.The CFA course enables you to analyse the best out of a situation, allowing the CFA candidates to make accurate and the best decisions. They are well prepared to make the best of a scenario.

• Consultant: A consultant is a person who provides professional advice and suggestions that will benefit a firm. They can be internal, functioning within a company, or external, giving advice and help outside a company. The CFA course covers corporate finance and alternative investments, enabling you to make correct decisions and advise people according to their requirements and background.

• Accountant/Auditor: An accountant or auditor keeps track of all the financial incomes and outcomes of a business. It sees to it that no entry has been omitted or entered incorrectly. The CFA course focuses on financial reporting and analysis, which automatically trains us to become an accountant quickly.

• Investment Banking Analyst: A person who analyses and contemplates all the investment possibilities. He directs the investment process and makes individuals and firms aware of mergers and accusations. TheCFA course has a section on equity investments, corporate investments, fixed incomes, and economics which directly grooms you for this job with ease.

• Corporate Financial Analyst: A person who follows and analyses an assigned company’s financial workings – going over financial statements, expenses, tax rates, and the like – to develop an understanding of where the company makes and where the company loses money. The CFA course aims to make you an efficient financial analyst. That is what you become if you hold a CFA certification, no power in the world can deprive you of a financial analyst’s designation.

 

What is at stake while you are preparing for CFA?

Money: 

Getting a CFA certification is expensive (albeit, relatively cheaper than other avenues)from enrolment to clearing the exam. This cost only increases if a student undertakes extra help from third-party prep providers and comprehensive study material. Usually, economically weak students find it very difficult to finance their certification if they fail the exam as there is a rescheduling fee.

However, the institute also provides various scholarships to reduce this expense. 

Time:

CFA aspiring candidates should be studying at least 6-7 hours a day to have a good grasp of topics. It also increases depending upon the candidate's ability to understand and display a willingness to learn. That's why time management is an essential skill that should be mastered by the candidate while in the exam preparing phase, which also helps the candidate in the future.

Mental health:

Tension for covering the left-out topics, fear of failure, and managing other activities while preparing for the exam can be stressful. These factors can affect a student’s mental health, which reduces student productivity and ultimately low performance in the exam. Thus, a student should be looking after themselves and prioritising their mental health in order to do well in the exam without compromising their productivity. 

 

Third Party Prep Providers to ease CFA exam preparations:

Let’s look at a couple of prep providers and understand how they’re different from one other in terms of the services they offer:

  • Kaplan/Schweser: It’s the largest and most established provider, offering its products in packages that increase the price accordingly. The basic self-study package costs $699, including practice exams, questions, notes, and planning tools. The most popular package includes adding OnDemand instruction and access to an OnDemand Review Workshop for $999.
  • Salt Solutions: A new and sound option for CFA exam prep, Salt Solutions was launched in late 2020 with its Beta platform for CFA Level I exam preparation. The company is now officially accessible, and the whole CFA learning experience is available for Levels I and II (Level III will be available in 2022).
  • Bloomberg Exam CFA: they provide a modern, AI-based learning platform that aims to help identify and focus attention on your weak areas. The self-study and instruction-based package costs around $700 and gives you access to “micro-lessons” on the entire curriculum. You will also get variable amounts of admission to practice questions and instructors, depending upon any add-ons you choose.
  • Wiley Efficient Learning: It offers layers of packages that increase in price by how many materials you need. The standalone self-study course costs around $645 and includes questions and two mock exams. For about $995, you can get instruction in a live-on-line or video format and the right to email questions to an instructor, flashcards, and other goodies.
  • MasterCFA:  It’s a new startup with a vision to provide CFA prep to students in short videos and pocket capsules. It has the most significant question bank     available with packages lower than every other Prep Provider. MasterCFA packages include quizzes, notes, videos, a personalised dashboard, and many other things. The platform is also available for mobile devices, but it is in Beta Phase now and will be soon available. It posts blogs, which helps guide students through the Preparation Phase. 

 

Why MasterCFA has edge over other Prep providers:

Largest question bank: MasterCFA has the most extensive question bank library. The question bank includes not only sample questions but also questions from past years. This will help candidates get familiar with the past trends and prepare for all kinds of situations, like out-of-the-box questions.The solutions are well-explained and equipped with images and graphs to supplement the learning. The notes and videos itself use examples to make students understand better.

Budget-friendly: Compared to other third-party prep providers,MasterCFA is much less expensive. We aim to deliver incredible and helpful content for a fraction of the price. This is because we know how hard it is currently (inflation skyrocketing and the pandemic still ongoing) for our consumers to be able to afford good study material on their student budgets. We’ve been there, ourselves.

Unique teaching approach: MasterCFA videos has an innovative format where videos are designed so that each sub-topic can be viewed as different content. This means that it does not require a precedent.This design saves time and saves you from mulling over the whole topic to revise a particular topic section.

Pocket-Friendly material: MasterCFA has a cross-platform presence. It is available for desktop as well as mobile devices. This will stop travel from interrupting your study. You can study anywhere and as the video content are bite-sized, you can always take a quick break to revise, anywhere and anytime.

 

Commonly Asked Questions 

Is it possible to postpone or reschedule the CFA exam?

It is possible to change your planned exam, but you must do so within the current exam session. It is not possible to switch to a different testing window. It's worth noting that changing your CFA Exam date costs $25.

Deferral means postponing an individual exam, and it is only permitted in certain conditions. Within ten US business days after the exam window, you should submit a delay request to the CFA Institute.

The CFA Institute may consider your deferment request and decide individually. The CFAInstitute's judgment on deferral requests is final and is at its discretion. If you're unsure whether you should request a postponement or not, the CFA Institute offers a self-assessment tool to assist you in deciding.

The circumstances that may be considered as exceptional for deferral include:

  • Your employer, university, or government imposes travel restrictions that stop you from accessing the exam centre.
  • You or a direct family member have a very fatal or life-threatening disease.
  • You are pregnant.
  • There is an unexpected death of one of your family members.
  • You must go for mandatory military service on the exam date.
  • There is a natural disaster affecting your area.

 

Your request to defer your examination should be sent to the CFA Institute through email. They'll look over your situation and see if you can reschedule your exam for a later date. If your case fits the requirements, you will be granted a qualifying deferment, but the payments you have already made will be forfeited.The CFA Institute, on the other hand, will defer your enrolment to the next available session.

The CFA Institute's policy on forfeiting any money paid in the event of a postponement is that the paid registration fees are used to arrange exam logistics and provide support services. The quantity of paid registrations aids in the planning of testing centres, computers, furniture, and exam stationery, and a deferral leaves a space that remains unfilled.

Your deferral request could take up to 6 weeks to be processed.Your registration and, if applicable, planned exam appointment may still be active within the testing window, and you may receive additional notification regarding your exam appointment. Your deferral request will be canceled if you decide to take the exam after submitting the form.

Deferrals can be used for any of the following exam windows*:

  • Nov 2021 candidates: May, August, or November 2022**
  • Feb 2022 candidates: August 2022, November 2022, or February 2023 (request form not yet available)
  • May 2022 candidates: November 2022, February 2023, or May 2023 (request form not yet available)

* The level II and III tests are not offered at all times. It's possible that some exam windows aren't yet open for registration. Exam registration dates can be found on the exam calendar.

** Please note that the CFA Program curriculum has been revised for 2022, and all candidates taking exams in 2022 will be assessed on the new curriculum. If you sign up for a 2022 test, you'll get access to both the 2020 and 2022 curriculum content in the CFA Learning Ecosystem to see what's new.

If you fail to qualify for a deferral, you can withdraw or cancel the CFA exam.

 

How do you withdraw or cancel the CFA exam?

If the CFA Institute denies your deferral request, you can withdraw from the CFA exam five days before the scheduled test date. You are not required to take the exam, but you must register if you wish to take it later.

According to CFA Institute standards, if you withdraw within the first three days after registering for a test, you will receive a full refund of your registration and exam fees. If it has been more than three days since you enrolled, you will be required to forfeit all expenses paid.

Once your withdrawal is approved, you can register for the exam, but you must pay all fees again. If you do not withdraw before the planned exam date and do not take the exam, you will have to wait until the CFA Institute releases all the results from the current sitting before registering for the next sitting.

To avoid any inconveniences, you should withdraw from your CFA test as soon as possible and through the proper channels. It's important to remember that a withdrawal is final, and you won't be able to re-register for the same session.

 

What is the refund policy of CFA?

Within fourteen (14) days of payment, candidates submitting an initial registration for CFA Exams in 2022 will get a full refund of their enrolment cost, registration fee, and any additional sales tax payable and paid by the candidate in their country of residence (through 11:59 PM Eastern Time on the fourteenth day). A registration filed to reschedule a test sitting either deferred by the applicant or postponed by CFA Institute does not count as the initial registration.

Institute does not guarantee that the exact amount paid to CFA Institute will be refunded back in a currency other than the dollar currency due to moving exchange rates. Even if circumstance like a medical issue or other exceptional occurs after the fourteen days have expired, enrolment and registration payments are non-refundable. Fees for enrolment and registration are non-refundable. Once an order has been placed, charges for print curricula are non-refundable. CFA Institute strongly recommends candidates not misuse these policies by attempting to receive a greater refund by demanding a refund for an exam.

As soon as you register for your exam, make a study schedule and stick to it. During your studies, concentrate on the essential themes and practice taking the exam.

You can refer to our website: https://www.mastercfa.com/ and social media link to get the exam-related update and any help or guidance if required.

 

How to reapply for the CFA exam?

Step 1: Go to the official website of the CFA Institute.

Step 2: Now, log in with the registered login credentials.

Step 3: Select the CFA 2022 exam level where you want to appear and click ‘save and continue.’

Step 4: Select the preferred location for the CFA exam centre 2022.

Step 5: Now, submit the re appearing fees for the CFA exam 2022 for preferred level through any one mode such as credit card, wire transfer, ACH, cheque, postal order, or money order.

Step 6: Save the copy of the complete form.

Step 7: Now, take out the print of theCFA exam registration form 2022.

 

 

 

What is the cost to reapply for the CFA exam?

Expense for reappearing for the exam in case of failure or skip

Cutting down expenses for the CFA exam

  • Try to be early: CFA institute provides various time slots for exam registration for the convenience of candidates. But these different exam registration slots have varying charges. Obviously, for the early registration window, the cost is lower compared to standard and late registration. You’ll pay $300 less if you apply in the early registration window. Similarly, you will pay $450 less if you apply in the Standard registration slot as compared to the late Registration Slot. Also, in comparison to late registration, early registration will save you a whopping amount of $750. Therefore, you can cut down your CFA expense if you apply in the Early registration slot as compared to the Standard and Late Registration slot.
  • GST benefit on CFA exam fees: In the past couple of years, people have seen many up and downs because of the pandemic. Many sectors, like the education sector, were affected. As a result, the CFA exams saw a huge loss in terms of the percentage of students who passed the exam. The mental health of students also severely deteriorated. This resulted in policy changes in tax collection to provide relief to students.

In India, you are subject to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for Online Information Database Access and Retrieval services (OIDAR), a category of services provided through the medium of the internet and received by the recipient online without having any physical interface with the supplier of such services. 

If you are a registered GST taxpayer under India GST regulations and hold a valid GST registration certificate on the date of payment for the relevant fees and GST, you are eligible for a GST refund under OIDAR services. You have to contact the India GST Team and provide necessary details like the Indian GST registration certification number, your full name, your CFA Institute ID, and your receipt number. After verification of details, you will be eligible for a refund.

  • Use the free resources available: Many prep providers upload free CFA content and material for students on to their websites. This includes study plans,     timetables, and blogs related to stress management to make the learning process easy.
     
  • It’s not just prep providers but also CFA charter holders who’ve completed all  levels of the CFA exam that want to disperse their knowledge with other aspirants. They also share the difficulties that they faced during their preparation for exams so others can avoid the same mistakes. There’s a ton of free resources available on the internet curated by CFA charter holders, and coaching institutes to help aspirants to prepare well for the exams.
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  • MasterCFA also has tons of useful, free resources to help you pass your exams. Our vast library of question banks will prepare you for every possible scenario      that can happen in the examination hall and the study plan guide will reduce the stress to make your preparation go with ease. Use them to save money as well as time!
  • Apply for scholarships: There are various scholarships available for CFA aspirants to aid the deserving candidate. Some of the scholarships are the Access Scholarship, Women's Scholarship, Student Scholarship, Professor Scholarship, and Regulator Scholarship. Each of the mentioned Scholarships has different eligibility criteria and requirements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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