CFA and FRM: Best Way to Get Both Quickly | Zell Education

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      CFA and FRM: Best Way to Get Both Quickly

      “Can I do CFA and FRM together?”

      “Is CFA and FRM a good combination?”

      If you are in a dilemma of pursuing CFA and FRM together, then you are not alone!

      Globally, many candidates aspiring to make a career in finance contemplate if CFA and FRM can be pursued simultaneously.

      The answer is yes; you can pursue both the CFA and the FRM simultaneously. 

      A CFA and FRM combination can be an excellent choice as the competitive finance world demands you to have varied skill sets. However, the challenge of clearing the CFA and FRM exams together remains. Before pursuing this combination, you must have a fair idea about the exams and strategies accordingly.

      Things To Consider Before Opting For CFA and FRM

      There are certain things you must have a clear idea about when you decide to opt for the CFA and FRM combination.

      CFA and FRM: Exam Structure 

      Conducted by the CFA Institute (USA), you must pass three levels of exams to complete the CFA course. The CFA pass percentage for each level (August 2022) is as follows:

      • Level I (37%)
      • Level II (40%)
      • Level III (48%)

      Learn How to Become a CFA: A Complete Guide.

      On the contrary, you will need to clear two levels of the FRM exam conducted by GARP (the Global Association of Risk Performance). The latest FRM pass rates for the two parts are:

      • Part I (51%)
      • Part II (57%)

      You can take Part I (morning session) and Part II (afternoon session) of the FRM on the same day.

      CFA and FRM: Syllabus

      To complete the syllabus for CFA, you must devote at least 300 hours to each level. The syllabus for CFA is centred around the following topics:

      • Economics
      • Quantitative Methods
      • Financial Reporting and Analysis
      • Ethics
      • Fixed Income and Derivatives
      • Corporate Finance
      • Equities and Alternative Investment
      • Portfolio Management 

      Check out our blog on CFA Level 2: Course details.

      The FRM syllabus also demands 200-250 hours for each part. The topics in this course include the following:

      • Financial Markets and Products
      • Foundations of Risk Management
      • Credit Risk 
      • Quantitative Analysis
      • Market Risk 
      • Investment Management
      • Operational Risk
      • Valuation and Risk Models
      • Liquidity and Treasury Risk

      CFA and FRM: Fees structure 

      You must be aware of the fee structure when opting for the CFA and FRM combination to avoid any financial burden.

      Cost CFA FRM
      Enrollment fee $450 (Rs. 36,581) $400 (Rs. 32,517)
      Registration fee (per level) $700-$1000 (Rs. 56,904- Rs. 81,292) $550-750 (Rs. 44,710- Rs. 60,969)

      CFA and FRM: Career Opportunities

      CFA certification equips you with real-world skills and expertise in the field of investment analysis. Job roles you can land after earning a CFA certification include:
      • Portfolio Manager
      • Financial Consultant
      • Strategic Analyst
      • Wealth Manager
      • Investment Analyst

      Learn more about CFA scope and job opportunities.

      Identifying, analyzing, and mitigating risk are skills you will acquire after the FRM course. The job roles in this field include:
      • Investment Banker
      • Risk Analyst
      • Financial Risk Consultant
      • Risk Manager

      CFA and FRM salary packages are quite lucrative, and pursuing the CFA and FRM combination can open up a pool of job opportunities for you.

      CFA and FRM: Syllabus Overlap

      Have you made up your mind to chase the CFA and FRM combination

      Then remember, time will be the most crucial element, and the last thing you want is to waste time studying repetitive topics. Thankfully 55% of Part I and 15% of Part II of the FRM syllabus overlap with the three levels of CFA. 

      Check out the following tables to get an idea about the overlap.

      Table 1
      FRM Part I Topics  CFA Level I Overlap CFA Level II Overlap CFA Level III Overlap
      Quantitative Analysis Common probability distributions, hypothesis testing, sampling, and estimations, probability and statistics Time series analysis, correlation and regression, multiple regression N/A
      Valuation and Risk Models Duration and convexity, fixed income valuation, option valuation Option markets and contracts, arbitrage-free valuation, bonds with embedded options  Risk management of option strategies, risk management
      Foundation of Risk Management Portfolio risk and return Portfolio concepts, corporate governance Evaluating portfolio performance, risk management
      Financial Markets, and Products Asset backed securities, Forwards, futures options and swaps, market organization, and structure, derivative markets, fixed income Commodity investing, FX rates, term structure, and interest rates, Forwards, futures options and swaps Risk management of forwards, futures options and swaps
      Table 2
      FRM Part II Topics  CFA Level I Overlap CFA Level II Overlap CFA Level III Overlap
      Operation Risk and Resiliency  N/A N/A Risk management
      Market Risk Measurement and Management N/A Team structure and interest rates Risk management
      Liquid and Treasury Risk Measurement and Management N/A N/A Risk management
      Credit Risk Measurement and Management Fundamentals of credit analysis Credit default swaps, Asset back securities: CDOs Risk management
      Risk Management and Investment Management Alternate investments: hedge funds, Portfolio risk and return N/A Evaluating portfolio performance, Risk management

      CFA and FRM: How to proceed? 

      Now, you must be thinking: How do I approach CFA and FRM together? What should my preparation look like?

      This totally depends on which course you want to prioritise. Whether you clear your exams on the first attempt is also a deciding factor when devising a preparation strategy.

      But if you aim to get both certifications within the shortest possible time, then you should approach the CFA and FRM exams in the following order:

      • CFA Level I
      • CFA Level II
      • FRM Part I
      • CFA Level III
      • FRM Part 2

      Taking the exams in this order will help you to get the necessary knowledge you need to pass both the CFA and FRM exams. This order will also help you save time and energy, as many topics overlap between CFA and FRM. 

      Plus, you will need to adopt a healthy lifestyle to avoid physical and mental burnout.

      Motivation tips

      Preparing for the CFA and FRM together can wear you out. But the key to success is resilience and hard work. 

      Here are some simple ways that will keep you motivated during your preparations:

      • Take short study breaks when you feel stressed out.
      • Having a positive environment around you is the key to staying motivated. Let your friends and family support you throughout the process.
      • Avoid multitasking.
      • Get adequate sleep.
      • Eat healthily and exercise regularly. 


      Before you start preparing for the CFA and FRM combination, you must ask yourself which course you want to prioritise. While CFA provides knowledge of investments, FRM specialises in risk assessment and management. If your aim is to become a CFA with a specialisation in risk management, then opting for the CFA and FRM combination is a wise call.

      Thinking of opting for the CFA Level I and Level II before FRM Part I? Check out the CFA course from Zell Education. Curated notes, student mentorship, a personalised study plan, and CFA-qualified faculty will help you get the right guidance for clearing the exams.


      Is FRM and CFA a good combination?
      FRM and CFA are globally recognised courses that offer specialisation in key areas of finance. Opting for the CFA and FRM combination can help your career soar high.

      Is there an overlap between CFA and FRM?
      Yes, there is an overlap between the topics of CFA and FRM. The three levels of CFA have 55% overlap with Part I and 15% with Part II of FRM.

      Does CFA include FRM?
      CFA and FRM are two separate courses. While CFA focuses on investment, FRM is about assessing and managing risks. You can opt for both courses simultaneously.

      What is the salary of CFA+FRM?
      The average annual salary of a CFA professional in the USA is $99,000, while that of an FRM professional is $102,000.



      Partham Barot is an ACCA-certified professional. showcasing his expertise in finance and accountancy. he’s revolutionising education by focusing on practical, real-world skills. Partham’s achievements underscore his commitment to elevating educational standards and empowering the next generation of professionals.

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