What is CFA? Course Details, Full Form, Exam Pattern, Fees, Syllabus

What is CFA? Full Form & Course Details

CFA, also known as Chartered Financial Analyst (Full Form), is one of the most sought-after professions in the field of finance. If your inclination lies toward investment management, you’re sure to master it efficiently by pursuing this course. However, let us inform you beforehand, that clearing the CFA course isn’t for the fainthearted.

In the three CFA levels that you appear for, it’s not just your learning and skill level that will be tested but also your patience and consistency. Once you clear the CFA course and become a Charterholder, you are sure to be welcomed into this field with several exciting opportunities and attractive salary packages.

If you’ve made up your mind or are still deciding whether to pursue the CFA Course or not, we’re about to simplify this course for you with exam pattern, syllabus, and CFA Full fees.

What is CFA? 

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a position designated by the CFA Institute. Companies employ CFAs in large numbers at various positions for their specialised knowledge in finance. They are hired for various roles such as Portfolio Management, Consulting, Risk Management, to name a few.  The field offers vast opportunities in the world of finance and necessitates a steep learning curve.

Let us learn more about the advantages of pursuing a CFA certification:

Course Name   Chartered Financial Analyst
Exam Mode Online
Fees 50,000 – 1,50,000 Rs
Duration of Course 2 – 3 Years
Levels in CFA Course 3
Eligibility for CFA  Bachelor’s Degree

CFA Course Details

CFA Eligibility Criteria

First things first, let’s check your CFA eligibility for the examinations. And in case if you are not, what are the other routes available to lock in your CFA eligibility. Here’s what you’ll need 

  1. A Bachelor’s degree from a renowned university
  2. An undergraduate degree before applying for CFA level 2
  3. A combination of 4000 hours of professional work experience and higher education
  4. Professional work experience need not be investment-related, they could also be paid articleships or internships
  5. Live in a participating country and have an international passport
  6. You need to fill up and submit a Professional Conduct Statement form 

Please note: The CFA Institute may request proof of education (copy of diploma, mark sheet, any other relevant documents) and/or work experience (letter of employment, salary slips, any other relevant documents) to be submitted at any point of your learning duration.

Things to Keep in Mind About CFA Examinations 

CFA is a globally recognised qualification offered by the CFA Institute based out of the USA. Thus, its exam pattern is quite different from the examinations offered by the Indian board.

  • CFA includes three levels of exams (Level 1, 2 & 3)
  • Level 1 is conducted every June and December, and Levels 2 and 3 are conducted every June
  • The syllabus covers the entire world of investment management – from Equity to Derivatives to Portfolio Management
  • From 2021, the CFA exams were been conducted four times a year for Level 1, Level 2 and 3 exams will be held quarterly

CFA Syllabus

cfa syllabus

The CFA Course curriculum comprises the following 10 topics, further split into their corresponding sub-topics as mentioned below:

CFA Level 1

CFA Syllabus Level 1

Weightage

Ethical and Professional Standards 15-20%
Quantitative Methods  8-12% 
Economics  8-12%
Financial Statement Analysis 13-17%
Corporate Finance  8-12%
Equity Investments  10-12%
Fixed Income  10-12%
Derivatives  5-8%
Alternative Investments 5-8%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning  5-8%

CFA Level 2 

CFA Syllabus Level 2

Weightage

Fixed Income 10-15%
Derivatives 5-10%
Alternative Investments 5-10%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning  10-15%
Ethical and Professional Standards  10-15%
Quantitative Methods  5-10%
Economics 5-10%
Financial Statement Analysis 10-15%
Corporate Finance 5-10%
Equity Investments 10-15%

CFA Level 3

CFA Syllabus Level 3

Weightage

Ethical and Professional Standards  10-15%
Quantitative Methods 0%
Economics 5-10%
Financial Statement Analysis 0%
Corporate Finance  0%
Equity Investments 10-15%
Derivatives 5-10%
Alternative Investments 5-10%
Fixed Income 15-20%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning  35-40%

CFA Exam Dates 2022

The Chartered Financial Institute conducts CFA exams the CFA Level 1 exams four times a year in total. The months in which you can appear for these examinations are February, May, August and November. To find out the CFA exam dates for the year 2022 to 2023 for all the 3 levels check out the table below.

CFA Exam Dates August November February
CFA Level 1 Exam Date 23-29 Aug 2022 15-21 Nov 2022 14-20 Feb 2023
CFA Level 2 Exam Date 30 Aug-3 Sept 2022 22-26 Nov 2022 Not Available
CFA Level 3 Exam Date 30 Aug-6 Sept 2022 Not Available 21-23 Feb 2023

CFA Exam Pattern

CFA Level 1 Exam 

  • CFA Level 1 consists of 2 exams of 3 hours each on the same day, with a 2-hour break covering all 10 topics
  • Total of 240 MCQs (120 per exam) with subject wise bifurcations
  • No Negative Marking

CFA Paper Pattern – Level 1

CFA Level 1 Paper Pattern

CFA Level 2

  • CFA Level 2 of two 3-hour sessions consisting of 21 case-studies with 10 and 11 item-set questions in each respective session
  • There will be 120 questions –  18 case studies x 6 questions, and 3 case studies x 4 questions
  • The length of a case study is from 1 to 2 and a half pages. It can include tables and diagrams

CFA Paper Pattern – Level 2

cfa level 2 paper pattern

CFA Level 3 

  • CFA Level 3 consists of two 3-hour sessions. The first session can contain anywhere from 8-12 essay questions (with sub-parts) and the second session can contain 11 case studies where 8 case studies x 6 questions, and 3 case studies x 4 questions.
  • An essay question has 2+ parts
  • The length of a case study is from 1 to 2 and a half pages. It can include tables and diagrams

CFA Paper Pattern – Level 3

CFA Paper Pattern Level 3

CFA Exam Dates 2022

CFA Level 1 Exam Dates 2022

Month Date
February  15 Feb – 21 Feb 2022
May  17 May – 23 May 2022
August  23 Aug – 29 Aug 2022

CFA Level 2 Exam Dates 2022

Month Dates
February  22 Feb – 26 Feb 2022
August  30 Aug – 3 Sept 2022

CFA Level 3 Exam Dates 2022

Month Dates
May 24 May – 26 May 2022
August 30 Aug – 6 Sept 2022

Scope for CFA in India

Source

Scope of CFA is one of the most recognised courses for finance in India, with jobs in profiles such as Portfolio Manager, Research Analyst, Risk Manager, Corporate Financial Analyst, and Investment Banking Analyst.

There’s a rising demand for the skills that these professionals possess. That’s why companies such as KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, EY, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Motilal Oswal, and Anand Rathi hire CFAs from Level 1 itself.

The pay packages are similar to that of CAs, ranging as a CFA salary from ₹4 to 8 lacs per annum. One common question we are asked is whether CFA Level 1 students get hired and paid? The answer is – yes, CFA Level 1 students do get hired and paid with packages ranging from ₹4 to 6 lpa depending on the company and profile. A fully qualified CFA Level 3 would be paid higher in the range of ₹7 to 10 lpa.

CFA Course Comparison 

CFA vs FRM: Which course is better?

A question that most CFA students often ask when looking for a lucrative career in finance. While CFA equips with broader financial concepts, FRM is a niche course that specifically focuses on risk management. In terms of salary and global opportunities, both these courses are almost at par with each other. However, in terms of future scope and growth, the CFA course takes a step ahead from FRM due to its wide range of learning and opportunities.

CFA or MBA: Which course is better?

If you’re stuck between choosing an MBA in Finance or CFA, you must weigh your options correctly before you make your final decision. While CFA can open up multiple global opportunities in the field of financial markets and investment, an MBA in Finance from one of the top universities can make you an ideal candidate for companies in India and abroad. However, you need to keep in mind that the university you choose for MBA needs to be one of the 10 universities known for an MBA in Finance, for your degree to truly make an impact on your career.

CFA vs US CMA: Which Course is better?

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is an international qualification pursued by those that aim to work in the investment industry & portfolio management whereas Certified Management Accounting (CMA) is for those that are more inclined toward the accounting aspect of finance. Since CFA and CMA are specialisation courses in different fields within commerce, you should analyse where your interests are before deciding between the two. Still confused read more about the difference between CFA and US CMA  

CFA Fees

Wondering how much would it cost you to complete your CFA course? Here’s a breakdown of the CFA fees, from registration to coaching.

  • Program Enrolment Fee: $450 (for first-time exam registrants only)
  • Early Registration Fee: $700
  • Standard Registration Fee: $1000
  • Late Registration Fee: $1450
  • Zell Coaching Fee: Starting from INR 17,700

CFA Course Scholarships

1. Access Scholarship

The Access Scholarship CFA Program is designed for students who can not afford the CFA program fees. With this scholarship, the student will only have to pay 250 USD for the exam registration fee which is usually $1,000 USD. And also, the enrollment fee of $450 = INR 34,000  is completely waived off, & you only need to pay a balance $250 = INR 19,100

How to avail this CFA scholarship: To avail this scholarship you will be expected to submit and state all of your financials, for example: family income and the current assets of your family. Additionally, you need to write an essay which states why you as a candidate deserve this scholarship. 

2. Women’s Scholarship

The Women’s Scholarship Program, as the name suggests, is specifically designed to encourage women to sign up for the CFA program. Under this scholarship program, you will only have to pay 350 USD= INR 26,752 as exam registration fees which is usually $700= 53,000. The enrollment fee of $350 = INR 26,812 is completely waived off as well. 

How to avail this CFA scholarship: To be eligible for this CFA scholarship, you need to be a woman who isn’t eligible for any other CFA scholarship. You must not apply for the CFA program until you receive your scholarship award.

3. Student Scholarship

If you are currently a student and are enrolled with a University affiliated with the CFA Institute, then you may be eligible for the Student Scholarship Program.  With this scholarship, your enrollment fee of $350 = INR 26,812 is waived and you are only required to pay $350 as registration fee instead of the $1,000 USD registration fee. 

How to avail this CFA scholarship: Students currently attending an Affiliated University and have not yet registered for their next exam are eligible to apply for a CFA Program Student Scholarship. Students must also satisfy the enrollment criteria and requirements for the CFA program.

4. Professor Scholarship

If you are currently working as a professor at a college or a university and you teach subjects like finance, economics, business, or any of the topics from the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK). Under the Professor Scholarship Program, you are only required to pay 350 USD as your registration fees

How to avail this CFA scholarship: To avail this scholarship you must be a full time professor, administration or department head at college or university. They should have the minimum number of credit hours for the scholarship eligibility.

5. Regulator Scholarship

A Regulator Scholarship is designed for those working in a company that is responsible for overlooking the standards of practice or business conduct of the investment management industry. This could include financial regulators, central banks, securities commissions, stock exchanges, SROs and/or government entities that have an agreement with the CFA Institute. With this scholarship, your registration fees are reduced to 350 USD. 

How to avail this CFA scholarship: This scholarship is awarded to organisations and not directly to students. To apply for this scholarship, your organisation must nominate you for it. For this, you must check with your HR or designated CFA representative.

The Chartered Financial Analyst is a globally recognised qualification in the field of finance and investment. If you have recently completed your graduation or are appearing for your final semester, you may be eligible to become a CFA. Interested? We highly recommend checking out our Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) course.

Is CFA worth pursuing?

CFA is one of the toughest accounting courses to crack, but it is also an in-demand profession with high earning potential. While your learning journey may be posed with interesting challenges, the final destination is surely going to be worthwhile.

Why is the CFA program so hard?

CFA requires time commitment, patience and hard work which can often get difficult for those who want to fast-track their career.

Which level of CFA is the toughest?

As per several CFA charter holders, Level 3 of the CFA exam is considered to be the toughest.

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