Complete Guide on CFA Program – Scope, Eligibility, Syllabus, Jobs & More!


The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Program is a global professional credential offered by the American Chartered Financial Analyst Institute, a premier global association of investment management professionals. It is one of the most reputed financial credentials that enjoys high trust and dependence among peers. The CFA Institute, with more than 70+ years of experience, is setting the global standards in rigorous focus, integrity, and advanced skills in the finance and investment industry. This set of skills and knowledge serve you well throughout your career in the finance/investment world and also capital markets.

  1. Scope of CFA Globally – Today over 1,78,000+ CFA Charter-holders influence business across 160+ markets globally. These charter-holders work as Portfolio Managers, Equity Research Analysts, Fund Managers, Wealth Managers, CFOs, and Risk Consultants. CFA qualification is recognized by regulators, universities, and certification programs in over 30+ countries including India. CFA is a preferred qualification and a mark of distinction for more than 31,000+ employer investment firms to meet their ever-evolving needs. As per the information shared by the CFA Institute, their top 11 global employers include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, UBS, RBC, HSBC, Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Smith Barney, BlackRock, and Citigroup. With newer conventions being introduced in the finance domain along with globalization, the demand for CFAs will only increase, both, in India and abroad.
  1. CFA Eligibility Criteria – To be eligible for registering for the CFA course, you must satisfy any one of the following:
    1. You have a bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree
    2. You are in the 2nd year of a bachelor’s degree program
    3. You have 4 years of professional work experience
    4. You have a combination of full-time work experience and university education that totals at least 4 years prior to enrolment

Comfort and proficiency with the English language and a valid international passport are also required. These days we are seeing an increasing number of commerce graduates, Chartered Accountants, Engineers, and MBAs pursue the CFA course.

Stages for being a CFA

  1. CFA Course Structure – CFA students are expected to dedicate about 1000 hours (in total) of intense study to pass the 3 levels or exams, typically completed in 1.5-2 years. These exams are conducted online across the world for over 4.5 hours on one day (2 sessions of 2.25 hours each). The following table will give you an idea about the levels, exam cycles, and past pass %:
Levels Exam Cycle (Attempts) Pass %
CFA Level 1 Exam February, May, August, November 38% (Dec 2022)
CFA Level 2 Exam 2021: May & August & November

2022 onwards: February & August

44% (Dec 2022)
CFA Level 3 Exam February & August 49% (June 2022)


Completing the program confirms mastery over the rigorous curriculum. Clearing all three levels of the exam is the main requirement for earning the CFA charter. The final ranking is based on the percentile calculation without any negative marking. The grading of the program results happens on the basis of MPS (Minimum Passing Score); after every exam, an MPS is calculated based on the performance of an average candidate. There is no limit on the number of attempts any candidate can give for any level; though the candidate is expected to pay the exam registration fee for every attempt. 

  1. CFA Syllabus – The CFA syllabus focuses on the knowledge of 10 topic areas (mentioned below) designed to teach the candidate the various concepts of the finance and investment world. Focus on each topic area varies by exam level, increasing in complexity and difficulty with a core of ethics and professional standards across all levels. The following table highlights the exact weightage:
Curriculum Topics Level I Level II Level III
  Weightage  (%)
Ethics and Professional Standards 15-20 10-15 10-15
Quantitative Methods 08-12 05-10 0
Economics 08-12 05-10 05-10
Financial Reporting and Analysis 13-17 10-15 0
Corporate Issuers 08-12 05-10 0
Equity Investments 10-12 10-15 10-15
Fixed Income Investments 10-12 10-15 15-20
Derivatives 05-08 05-10 05-10
Alternative Investments 05-08 05-10 05-10
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning 05-08 10-15 35-40

CFA Level Syllabus highlight in exact weightage

  1. CFA Jobs & Salary – Once you are a charter holder a very bright future awaits you, the start salary being anywhere between INR 6 to 8 lakhs p.a. in India. With CFA you open doors to the best and most interesting roles all over the world across private equities, stock markets, derivatives, real estate, and more. There are abundant internships and work options available for CFA candidates globally. The top 5 Charter-holder roles include Portfolio Manager, Research Analyst, CXO Executive, Consultant, and Risk Manager. From an ROI perspective, you might end up investing anything between USD 3,000-4,000 for the CFA charter but you can command promising lifetime returns thereafter.

Becoming a CFA charter holder is a defining moment for any aspirational candidate in the finance and investment profession. Choose wisely! To join our upcoming LIVE Online CFA batches, click here

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