Why do you need a CFA certificate and how to get it

You will have to carefully prepare for the exam.

What is CFA Certificate

The CFA certificate is an international document that confirms a person’s professional knowledge in the field of finance, investment and insurance. CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst, or Certified Financial Analyst. The certificate is issued by the American CFA Institute, an international educational organization that unites several thousand financial specialists.

CFA is a certificate, not an educational course. To receive a document, you do not need to attend lectures or complete any assignments, you just need to pass all three levels of the exam prepared by the CFA Institute.

Different skills are tested at each stage. So, on the firstare evaluatedtheoretical knowledge and foundations of investment analysis, in fact, this is the initial level. The further – the more difficult.

Why do you need a CFA certificate

It provides many benefits for people who are engaged in financial analysis and investment .

Validate knowledge of finance and investment

The CFA exam is a good test for any financier. So, in August 2021, only 26% of participantshanded overthe first level and 39% – the last. That is, the holders of the certificate are really highly qualified. Moreover, during the exam itself, not only professional skills are assessed, but also compliance with ethical standards.

It is also important that there are no other diplomas of the same level of prestige in the field of investment. Therefore, for specialists in this field, the CFA certificate is almost the best way to confirm their knowledge.

Become more in demand in the labor market

Since it is not easy to obtain a CFA certificate, any holder of it gains a competitive advantage. Many companies, including those in Russia, pay attention to the existence of such a diploma. Even if only the first level of the exam is passed, such an entry in the resume will certainly be a plus for the candidate.

Moreover, there are organizations that require some employees to have such a certificate. These are, first of all, the companies of the big audit four (E&Y, PWC, Deloitte, KPMG) and specialized departments of the largest banks (Sberbank, VTB, Alfa-Bank).

Get a document that is appreciated all over the world

The CFA certificate is an international diploma, and its holders are respected not only in Russia. Therefore, the document can come in handy when looking for work abroad: if foreign companies are dubious about some Russian standards, then there will definitely be no questions about CFA.

When and how the exam takes place

First level testing organizefour times a year (February, May, August, November), the second and third levels – two (February and August; May and August). Candidates take the exam in person at CFA Institute centers. In Russia theythere is only in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Exam passesin English in the form of computer testing. Administrators monitor compliance with the rules, and participants can only take simple calculators with them.

Exam level Number and type of tasks Time to solve
CFA Level 1 180 test questions in investment analysis, portfolio management theory and professional standards 4.5 hours
CFA Level 2 88 test questions for asset valuation based on situational tasks 4.5 hours
CFA Level 3 44 test questions and essays on portfolio management 4.5 hours

The results are usually announced 1.5-2 months after the exam.

CFA Institute never publishes or reports students’ actual scores or passing scores. The exam participants themselves calculated that historically the passing score was about 70%, that is, in order to pass, it was necessary to answer at least 70% of the test questions correctly.

What are the requirements for candidates

At the time of passing the exam it is necessary to comply several criteria:

  1. Have a bachelor’s degree or total work and study experience of three years or more. The first level exam is also allowed for final year undergraduate students.
  2. Have a valid passport .
  3. Meet the requirements of work ethics – you will need to fill out a special application for this.
  4. Live in territory that is not subject to US sanctions. That is, today the residents of Crimea will not be able to pass the exam.

How much does the exam cost and how to save

To be able to take the exam, you need to pay a registration fee. Its sizedependsfrom the time of payment and the level of the exam. In general, if you register for the exam three months or earlier, the fee for each level of the exam will be $ 700, or 52 thousand rubles, if you do not have time for early registration – $ 1,000, or 75 thousand rubles. For those who want to pass the first level exam, there is a special offer of 450 dollars, or 33 thousand rubles.

However, CFA Institute givesParticipants have the opportunity to save money with a scholarship discount on the exam. To receive it, you need to send an application and a cover letter. In them, you need to talk about your scientific and professional achievements and personal qualities, as well as explain why you want to take the exam. Further, the application enters the competition for a scholarship.

Some of the requirements depend on the type of scholarship chosen .

  • Access. The scholarship is offered to those who cannot afford to pay the full amount of the contribution. The financial position must be confirmed by documents, for example, a bank statement. The price drops to $ 250 (18 thousand rubles).
  • Women’s. Any girl who meets the criteria for the exam can apply for this scholarship. The price drops to $ 350 (26 thousand rubles).
  • Student. Hercan getstudents of educational programs accredited by the CFA Institute. In Russia, these are “Banking and Finance” at ICEF (bachelor’s degree), “Financial Analytics” at Moscow State University (master’s degree), “Finance” at NES (master’s degree), “Capital Management” at PRUE (master’s degree) and “Finance”, “Financial analytics “and” Investment Management “at the Higher School of Economics (Master’s degree). The price drops to 26 thousand rubles.
  • Professorial. Teachers and administrative staff of the same accredited institutions can apply for it. The price drops to 26 thousand rubles.
  • Regulator scholarship. The competition for this scholarship is open to employees of central banks, securities commissions, stock exchanges or government organizations (for example, FFMS, Finmonitoring). The price drops to 26 thousand rubles.

It is important to take into account that the scholarship can be received no more than once a year.

How to prepare for the exam

CFA Institute tests and lists the topics required for study, but does not organize preparatory sessions. Therefore, you will have to prepare either on your own or with the help of third-party organizations.

Make a preparation plan

Countsthat candidates who successfully pass the exam spend about 300 hours on preparation. You should not start too early, so as not to forget anything. So it is best to start your studies 4-6 months before the test date.

According to the simplest calculations, every day you need to spend 2-3 hours on preparation – it is better to train steadily, and not in jerks on weekends. Build your training around this and see if you’re behind schedule.

Don’t forget to practice

On the exam, you will not have time to carefully think over each question, you will have to navigate quickly. Therefore, the key to success is solving as many practical problems as possible in order to deal well with all types of questions.

The textbooks will be sent to you immediately after the registration fee is paid. For this practice, “more” definitely means “better”: set yourself a goal to sort out at least three thousand problems before the exam.

Take a vacation before your exam

It is better to devote the last week before testing completely to preparation. Try to convince the employer that the CFA certificate is useful not only for you, but also for him, as an indicator of the high professionalism of employees .

This gives you more time to prepare. Just do not get carried away – on the night before the exam, cramming theory is definitely not worth it.

What is worth remembering

  1. The CFA certificate is, in fact, the only diploma in investment. It is not easy to obtain it, therefore it is prestigious to own such a document. It is especially useful for people who have linked their careers with investments.
  2. The exam consists of three levels. At the first, the theoretical base and mastery of the basics are checked, on the next – the ability to apply knowledge in practice, for example, to manage an investment portfolio.
  3. Testing takes place in English at test centers. In Russia, they are in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Different levels of the exam last in different ways, but on average – 5 hours, taking into account the break.
  4. Not everyone is eligible to participate in the exam. This requires either relevant work experience or a bachelor’s degree. Residents of Crimea cannot take the exam.
  5. To try the exam, you need to pay a registration fee. It ranges from $ 700 to $ 1,000 for each exam level. You can get a discount through a variety of scholarships.

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