What is CFA? - Full Form, Syllabus, Eligibility, Career Opportunities

What is CFA? - Chartered Financial Analyst

By IIC Lakshya

01 Jul 2024


What is CFA?

What is the full form of CFA?

CFA full form is Chartered Financial Analyst. CFA is among one of the most in-demand positions for investment experts around the world. CFA Institute offers a globally recognized professional credential in Financial Management & financial investment. Since it is the most honored of all finance and investment management certifications globally, the CFA program is therefore considered to be the best one. If you wish to pursue a career in investment management that is reputable internationally, then the CFA program might be worth considering.

Why pursue CFA and What is CFA Course Details and Syllabus?

By pursuing this course, candidates can acquire knowledge regarding the finance and investment industry, which will enhance their skills. India has been experiencing a record rise in the demand for CFAs due to the growth of industry and international trade. Candidates who pass all three courses will receive the CFA charter holder certification from the CFA Institute. CFA course details are as follows:

  • CFA Level 1
  • CFA Level 2
  • CFA Level 3

Exams for all three levels are conducted by asking questions related to Economics, Security Analysis, Accounting, and Wealth Management. The CFA exams for all three levels are conducted in June. In addition, the CFA Level 1 exam is also held in December. The CFA course benefits people willing to pursue a career in the field of banking, corporate, or financial services. Besides, taking up independent practice also becomes an option after completing the course.

CFA Subjects

Weight Given in CFA Level 1

Weight Given in CFA Level 2

Weight Given in CFA Level 3

Ethical and Professional Standards




Quantitative methods








Financial statement analysis




Corporate issuers




Equity investments




Fixed income








Alternative investments




Portfolio management and wealth planning




What is CFA Eligibility Criteria and Duration?

The CFA program is a rigorous exam series that evaluates a candidate’s expertise in different aspects of financial analysis. Let's delve into the eligibility details:

CFA Eligibility Details:

  • Undergraduate Student: 

Your exam period must be 11 months or less before the month you will graduate with your bachelor’s degree or a similar program. Realize that to take a Level II exam, you have first to graduate.

  • Bachelor's Degree:

Finish a bachelor’s degree or another equal program and obtain a diploma from an accredited college or university. The college of the university will guide you in determining whether your course is equivalent.

  • Work Experience: 

Before you are allowed to sit for the Level I exam, you need five months of work experience or more and/or higher education accomplished within a year's time frame. Any kind of education and professional work experience cannot run concurrently. Provided you have both professional work experience and higher learning with minimum hours as well as years to be met, then the calculation can be made that there are 1000 hours per year for higher education.

CFA Course Duration: 

The CFA course duration is around two years with Level I exams taking place in June and December while Level II & III exams happen in June. Still, for most candidates, it generally takes at least three to four years because they would, typically, study around 300 hours per level examination.

What are the Advantages of being a Chartered Financial Analyst?

CFA is becoming a preferred career option due to its high-income level, global recognition, numerous job opportunities with chances for promotion, and its emphasis on professionalism, continuing education, and networking as it enhances future career prospects. 

Pursuing a career in Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) finance in India can benefit individuals. The CFA designation offers several advantages, such as:

  • High earning: 

In general, CFA holders earn more than professionals who do not have any certifications like Certified Public Accountants or Certified Managerial Accountants among others. Their ability to analyze investments and conduct financial analysis is what makes the charter necessary for them.

  • Recognized globally:

The CFA designation is widely acknowledged and accepted worldwide, which enhances its value when finding a job or business prospects abroad. The CFA certification and charter provide numerous employment prospects for candidates.

  • Job Variety: 

A CFA allows you to go into a variety of professional paths like investment banking, portfolio management, research, and consultancy. This would enable students to select the career that best suits their aptitude and areas of interest.

  • Promotions: 

The CFA credential can help you grow your career and become a leader in your company. This may include a higher salary, more job responsibilities, and numerous opportunities for career growth.

  • Professionalism: 

Compliance standards are a major area of focus within the CFA curriculum, which has potential benefits for those working within the finance industry. Hence we should ensure that CFA charter holders have what it takes in terms of skills and knowledge to make sound decisions on behalf of their clients.

  • Continuous learning: 

As part of their professional duties CFA charter holders are required to maintain current awareness about the latest developments within their respective fields. This way they are equipped with new methods on how to approach emerging issues or challenges in fast-changing financial markets.

  • Collaboration Opportunities:

In this regard, CFAs have options for global networking where they can interact with other professionals doing similar activities thus expanding their careers. By doing this, they can establish connections with other professionals in their field, exchange ideas, and work together on projects.

  • Improved job security:

Having a CFA charter provides an edge over non-CFA professionals in terms of job security, as employers generally prefer highly skilled and well-trained CFA charter holders.

Is CFA worth it?

CFA qualification is a symbol of financial expertise and distinction. It demonstrates one’s dedication to professional standards, ethical behavior and lifelong learning. CFA charterholders have in-depth knowledge about investment analysis, portfolio management as well as financial markets thereby making them highly demanded in the fierce world of finance. Thus getting a CFA designation can lead you to exciting positions and prove your commitment to excellence in the realm of finance regardless of whether you want to develop your career in asset management or investment management or alternatively become a good financial analyst.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is a famous chartered financial analyst?

Prashant R. Khemka, a renowned CFA, is the founder of WhiteOak Capital Management.

How often can I attempt the CFA exam? 

Candidates are permitted to take the exam twice per calendar year (when applicable), but not in consecutive windows or windows that are six months or less apart. Candidates are allowed. A maximum of six attempts per exam level.

What are the hardest parts of CFA?

Generally, our research shows that candidates' CFA Level 1 hardest topics are Financial Statement Analysis, Fixed Income, Quantitative Methods, Derivatives and Economics. Meanwhile, CFA Level 2 most difficult topics are typically Financial Statement Analysis, Portfolio Management, Ethics and Derivatives.

How many CFA institutes are there in India?

CFA Colleges in India 2024: Admissions, Fees, Courses, Placements. There are about 50+ best CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) colleges in India.

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