Chartered Financial Analyst Career — An Overview

Introduction

The CFA designation is highly respected among investment professionals worldwide. The course offers a globally recognised professional credential in Financial Management & Investment.

The CFA Institute provides an Investment Foundations Program as well as a Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement. It also educates candidates on investment, personal finance, industry trends, and stock market analysis.

Career Scope in Chartered Financial Analyst

Career Scope in Financial Risk Manager

CFA professionals are widely recognised and esteemed globally. The course is highly regarded for its comprehensive curriculum covering financial analysis, portfolio management, and investment strategy.

Individuals with a CFA certification have diverse career opportunities in finance, such as investment banking, equity research, asset management, risk management, etc.

Due to increased industrialisation and globalisation, India has seen a high rise in job opportunities for CFAs and is further going to witness significant growth in the coming years.

Role & Responsibilities of Chartered Financial Analyst

Chartered Financial Analysts play a key role in financial analysis, evaluating investment opportunities, and portfolio management of a company or individual client. They work alongside Investment Analysts, Financial Planners, and other professionals in the finance or investment department of a company.

CFAs evaluate financial information such as economic predictions, stock and bond patterns, past financial results, and trading activity in an organisation. They also use financial information to assess the cost-effectiveness of a client’s marketing strategies.

The role of a CFA is highly critical in the company as he directly reports to the senior management or other stakeholders of the company.

Employment Scope Career Options for Chartered Financial Analyst

There is a growing demand for CFA professionals in both domestic and international markets. They have diverse career opportunities in the private as well as public sector.

CFA’s can work in a variety of financial institutions such as investment banks, asset management firms, hedge funds, and insurance companies.

Individuals with a CFA designation have career opportunities in equity analysis, portfolio management, risk management, financial advising. Portfolio Manager, Research Analyst, Risk Manager, Corporate Financial Analyst, Investment Banking Analyst, etc. are some of the common job titles held by CFAs.

In addition, CFAs can also work independently or start their own investment firms. Some CFAs also serve as financial advisors, assisting clients in making informed financial decisions.

Some of the top recruiting companies that hire CFA’s are: HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Crisil, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, etc.

Career scope for Chartered Financial Analyst in Govt & PSU sector

Chartered Financial Analysts often work independently or in large firms due to their expertise in financial analysis and investment management. However, their role isn’t only limited to the private sector.

They have equal career opportunities in the Government and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). Financial experts are often needed by government departments and regulatory bodies to oversee investments, funds, and financial data analysis.

In the Government sector, CFAs can work in departments such as the Ministry of Finance, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), etc. They can also work in PSUs like Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), etc.

Salary Range

CFA’s are often highly paid professionals known for their specialised skills in financial analysis and investment management. The salary range for Chartered Financial Analysts can vary based on factors such as experience, location, level in the organisation, and sector of employment.

In India, the average salary for a CFA in entry-level positions ranges from INR 5 to 15 lacs per annum. However, the figure can increase significantly with experience and expertise, with senior-level CFAs earning more than 30 lacs per annum.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Become a Chartered Financial Analyst

Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a multi-step process that requires dedication and commitment. Here are the key steps to take to become a CFA in India:

  1. Meet the eligibility criteria: Candidates must either possess a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, or be within the final 23 months of their undergraduate degree at the time of the exam. In case if this criteria isn’t met, candidates must have at least 4,000 hours of work experience or higher education, as well as a valid international travel passport.
  2. Registration: Candidates who meet the eligibility criteria can then register for the CFA course through the CFA Institute website.
  3. Preparation for the exam: The CFA Program is composed of three levels of exam. Successful completion of each level is required to advance to the next one. The Level I exams are conducted four times a year in February, May, August, and November. Level II exams take place three times a year in May, August, November, and Level III exams are held twice a year in February and August.
  4. Give the exam: The CFA exams are computer-based assessments that include multiple-choice questions, with essay-type questions being included at level III. The exams are conducted in 23 cities across India, including major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore. You can check the exam results online within 60 to 90 days after the test date.
  5. Work experience requirement: Candidates must have completed a minimum of 4,000 hours of professional work experience in investment decision-making, in addition to passing all three levels of the CFA exams.
  6. Application for membership: You can apply for the membership after clearing the exam and meeting the work experience criteria. After approval of your membership, you will be granted the CFA charter and authorised to use the CFA designation.

Eligibility Criteria

eligibility criteria about certified internal auditor

CFA is a certified financial analyst program that requires certain criteria to be fulfilled before enrolling for the course.

Candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from any discipline to enrol in a CFA course, as it is a postgraduate certification. Students in their final year of the bachelor’s program are also eligible to register for the CFA course. But, they need to complete their degree before the Level 2 exam.

In addition, a minimum of 4,000 hours of experience must be completed over at least 36 months. Only hours that directly contribute to investment decision-making or the creation of informative work products are considered as qualified work hours.

Candidates who are pursuing internships or have their businesses are also eligible to apply. The only requirement is to have a source of income. Finally, candidates must be fluent in English and need to submit a professional compliance statement.

 

Exam Pattern for Chartered Financial Analyst

The CFA program consists of a rigorous three-level exam series that evaluates candidates on their knowledge and skills in investment analysis. 

Level 1 Exam

CFA Level 1 includes two exams, each lasting 3 hours on the same day, with a 2-hour break, covering all 10 topics. The exam consists of 120 multiple choice questions, for a total of 240 questions across all subjects.

The good thing is there isn’t any negative marking.

 Level 2 Exam

The CFA Level 2 exam consists of two 3-hour sessions with 21 case studies, each containing 10 and 11 item-set questions. There will be a total of 120 questions, including 18 case studies with 6 questions each, and 3 case studies with 4 questions each.

A case study is typically 1 to 2.5 pages long and can include diagrams and tables.

Level 3 Exam

The CFA Level 3 exam is divided into two 3-hour sessions. The first session includes 8 to 12 essay questions, some with sub-parts.

The second session consists of 11 case studies. Eight of these case studies have 6 questions each, and the remaining three case studies have 4 questions each.There is also an essay question divided into 2 parts.

Subjects and Syllabus for each year

certified internal auditor syllabus

The CFA course consists of three levels, each dedicated to a specific aspect. Level I covers knowledge and comprehension, Level II delves into application and analysis, and Level III examines synthesis and evaluation.

The below table provides an overview of the CFA course syllabus and its weightage in the exam

 

Subjects

Weightage in Level I

Weightage in Level II

Weightage in Level III

Financial Statement Analysis

13-17

10-15

N/A

Corporate Issuers

8-12

5-10

N/A

Ethical and Professional Standards

 

15-20

10-15

10-15

Economics

8-12

5-10

5-10

Fixed Income

10-12

10-15

15-20

Quantitative Methods

8-12

5-10

N/A

Alternative Investments

5-8

5-10

5-10

Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

5-8

10-15

35-40

Derivatives

5-8

5-10

5-10

Equity Investments

10-12

10-15

10-15

 

 

Top Colleges for Chartered Financial Analyst

Many institutes in India offer CFA exam preparation programs. These courses provide study materials, expert guidance, and practice exams to help students ace the exam.

Some of the top colleges offering CFA programs are the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Indian School of Business (ISB), and Faculty of Management Studies (FMS).

IMS Proschool – Pune, Indian School of Business Management and Administration – Nagpur, IMS Proschool – Kochi, FinLearning Academy, Financial Planning Academy – Mumbai, Miles Education – New Delhi, etc are a few institutes among others. 

Fees for Chartered Financial Analyst Course

fees of financial risk management

The fees for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) course may differ based on the institution or college providing the program. The total cost of completing all three levels of the CFA exam in India ranges from INR 1 to 4 lakhs. The total cost encompasses registration fees, exam fees at each level, study materials, and coaching classes.

Early bird discounts are available for registering early, so it is recommended to inquire with the specific institute for current fee information.

Conclusion

Pursuing a career as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) in India can be a valuable and rewarding choice. The career offers opportunities for high earnings, versatile career paths, networking opportunities, continuous learning, and global recognition.

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