Chartered Financial Analyst

The Chartered Financial Analyst(CFA) Program is globally recognized and is considered to be The Gold Standard for the investment industry. It is held by over 150,000 professionals around the world.

It is a professional credential offered by CFA Institute to investment and financial professionals. The CFA Program has three different levels and the minimum time required to clear all three is around 18 months.

CFA charter membership requires 48 months of acceptable professional work experience and passing all three level exams. It is the highest distinction in the investment management profession. There are approximately 132,000 charterholders around the world.

Job pay structure for CFA Level III passed is 5 - 7 Lakhs. For CFA Charters is greater than 10+ Lakhs

CFA Program

Level I CFA

Introduces various topics likes equity, derivatives etc. which are eventually used for creating portfolios. The Level I exam consists of 240 multiple choice questions, split between two 3-hour sessions. Candidates must attend both sessions.

  • Morning session (3 hours): 120 multiple choice questions, covering all topics
  • Afternoon session (3 hours): 120 multiple choice questions, covering all topics

Each question will have 3 possible choices A, B, or C.
There is no penalty for incorrect answers.

Level II CFA

Emphasizes on application of valuation of asset. The Level II exam has a total of 20 item set questions:

  • Morning session: 10 item set questions
  • Afternoon session: 10 item set questions

On the Level II exam, you will have a total of 120 items (20 Case studies with 6 items each). There is no penalty for incorrect answers.


Focuses on portfolio management and different strategies for creating specific portfolios for individuals and institutions. The Level III exam consists of item set and constructed response (essay) questions:

  • Morning session: Constructed response (essay) questions (usually between 8 and 12 questions, each with several subparts) with a maximum of 180 points. (The point value for each question is provided in the exam book).
  • Afternoon session: 10 item set questions (structure will be similar to Level II Exam).

On the Level II (and III) exams, some topics are covered in the morning session only and other topics are covered in the afternoon session only.

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program is a professional credential offered internationally by the American-based CFA Institute.

The program covers a broad range of topics relating to investment management, financial analysis, stocks, bonds and derivatives, and provides a generalist knowledge of other areas of finance.

Exams are scored following each exam. Results for Level I and II candidates are available within 60 days of the exam date and within 90 days for Level III candidates.

The scores are directly sent to the registered email of the candidate


To enrol in the CFA Program and register for your first Level I exam, the candidate must have a valid International Passport and should meet one of the following criteria's:

  • Undergraduate Education: A bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree or be in the final year of your bachelor’s degree program (You will have to complete your bachelor's degree program in order to register for the Level II exam); or
  • Work Experience: Four years of professional work experience (does not have to be investment related).

Exam Structure

Topic Area Level I Level II Level III
Ethical and Professional Standards 15 10-15 10-15
Quantitative Methods 12 5-10 0
Economics 10 5-10 5-15
Financial Reporting and Analysis 20 15-20 0
Corporate Finance 7 5-15 0
Equity Investments 10 15-25 5-15
Fixed Income 10 10-20 10-20
Derivatives 5 5-15 5-15
Alternative Investments 4 5-10 5-15
Portfolio Management 7 5-10 40-55
Total 100 100 100

The exam registration fee covers the cost of:

  • The eBook (contains the complete curriculum you need to study)
  • Practice tests and mock exams

You may purchase a print version of the curriculum (available for a non-refundable fee of USD 150, plus any fees associated with shipping) at the same time you register for an exam.


Only two calculator models are authorized for use during CFA® Program exams:

  • Texas Instruments BA II Plus (including BA II Plus Professional)
  • Hewlett Packard 12C (including the HP 12C Platinum, 12C Platinum 25th anniversary edition, 12C 30th anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige)

Strictly recommend the BA II Plus Professional Model.
It is available online for an approx price of ₹ 4,500.
This calculator will be useful throughout the CFA Program.


The Curriculum is broadly categorized as follows and consists of the following 10 subjects:

Investment Tools

Quantitative Methods


Financial Reporting and Analysis

Corporate Finance

Asset Classes

Equity Investments

Fixed Income


Alternative Investment

Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning.

Ethical and Professional Standards.

Grading Criteria

Each candidate who sits for a CFA Program exam is provided with a "pass" or "did not pass" exam result as well as detailed information on their performance.
After each exam administration, the CFA Institute Board of Governors sets the Minimum Passing Score (MPS) for each level.
The purpose for this approach is to ensure fairness to candidates across administrations as the difficulty of each exam is taken into account when setting the MPS.
CFA Institute does not release the MPS or individual candidate scores.

Passing Rates

Around 43% of students who appeared for Level 1 December 2017 Examination cleared the test.

June 2017 Exam Pass Rate:

Level I: 43%

Level II: 47%

Level III: 54%

Exam Centres

The following Exam Centres are available in India:

  • Bangalore
  • Kolkata
  • Lucknow
  • Mumbai
  • New Delhi

CFA Member Profiles

Portfolio Manager

Research Analyst

Corporate Financial Analyst

Financial Advisor

Risk Manager

Investment Banking Analyst


Career Opportunities

Organizations like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank may also reimburse fees for their employees pursuing CFA.

Fee Structure for Dec 2018 Exams

Registration Fees $450

(One Time Charge)

14th Mar 2018

Examination Fee $650

15th Aug 2018

Examination Fee $950

12th Sept 2018

Examination Fee $1,380