Chartered Financial Analyst is a globally reputed professional qualification provided by the American CFA Institute to the qualified financial analysts and investment bankers. Every year thousands of qualified financial analysts across the globe, mainly from the regions like the USA, Canada, Australia, Asia, Europe, China and India.
Minimum eligibility criteria required for taking the CFA test includes a bachelor degree in a relevant field and at least two to four years of professional experience in a reputed financial organization in the capacity of an investment banker or a financial analyst.
Fee for the CFA test includes two components: program enrollment fee (applicable to new members of CFA institute) of US $400 to US $480 and CFA test registration fee of US $710 to US $955.
The CFA test is a highly competitive examination and it includes three levels of examinations (Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3). Each level of the CFA test is a six-hour duration exam conducted in two sessions of three hours duration. Since each of the CFA test requires a serious preparation, normally test-takers take the CFA test in three years, one level in a year and thus ensure the optimum performance in otherwise tough-to-crack CFA test.
The syllabus for the Level 1 CFA test includes application of financial tools, topics such as asset valuation, financial analysis, financial reporting, portfolio management and other related topics. But the focus of the Level 1 test is the application of financial tools and inputs. Focus of the Level 2 CFA test is asset valuation. Syllabus for the Level 2 CFA test includes application of financial tools, inputs and quantitative methods. Major emphasis of the Level 3 CFA test is portfolio management. In addition to this, it also includes topics such as financial strategies for the application of financial tools and inputs, standard models for asset valuation, individual investment options, institutional investment options and other related topics.
The CFA test is a written examination on paper conducted at various test centers approved by the American CFA institute. The Level 1 CFA test is conducted twice a year, in the months of June and December respectively. The Level 2 and the Level 3 CFA tests are conducted only once in a year, in the month of June. The Level 1 CFA test is a multiple choice type examination and the Level 2 test is an item set section. The Level 3 CFA test consists of a short-answer question section and an item set section. Within weeks after completing all three levels of the examination, candidates are informed about their pass/fail result as there is no scorecard system for the CFA examination.