money matters for students

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Course overview

CFA is a qualification for finance and investment professionals, particularly in the fields of investment management and financial analysis of stocks, bonds and their derivative assets. It certifies that the individual is having in-depth knowledge of security types and investment vehicles. It also provides an expertise in quantitative methodologies for analyzing securities, such as assessing their value and analyzing their risk. The program focuses on portfolio management and financial analysis, and provides generalist knowledge of other areas of finance. 

Why a CFA?

The constantly developing industrial scenario has created a demand for experts in the field of finance. This has created a niche that can be filled by a person specially trained to handle financial matters with all its ramifications. To fulfill this need, the CFA program has been brought into existence. This course has also been demanded for senior positions in Securities and Investment related matters. Certain 'Financial Advisor' roles are also taken up by CFAs. This course is a prestige credential that enhances the worth and credibility as a financial professional.

What can CFA do for your career?

Employment opportunities are plenty to CFA degree holders in Banking, Insurance, Corporate Sectors and Finance, and Leasing Companies. The other organizations that recognize the CFA program are Indian Railways, Reserve Bank of India, International Development Bank of India (IDBI), Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI). CFAs are trained to utilize their managerial skills in the core areas of corporate finance, investment management, international finance and financial services. Senior positions in "Securities Research" and "Investment Management" are also in need of CFA. Apart from this, "Financial Advisor" roles are also taken up by CFAs. A trained CFA can also be an independent business consultant or join an existing consultancy firm. A chartered accountancy firm or a firm specializing in cost accountancy is another option for a trained CFA.

Leading colleges for CFA

  1. CFA Institute in India  (US Program)
  2. ICFAI University, Tripura - 24months; Full time.
  3. Deming Asia - Super Specialization in Management Education, Noida - 2yr; Full time.
  4. International Institutes in Financial Markets, Delhi - 6months; Part time.
  5. School of Market and Investment Learning and Education, Mumbai - 3yr; Part time.
  6. Piron School of Business and Finance, Bangalore/Noida/Mumbai/Chennai - 29 months; e-learning

Note that CFA is the trademark of The CFA Institute and similar programs offered by other institutes are known by other names. Most of them are recognized as Master degree courses by IGNOU for PhD.

Course Content

Most CFA programs would include the following subjects although the nomenclature may differ.

Ethical and Professional Standards- Quantitative Methods, Quantitative Methods, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Corporate Finance, Investment Tools - Equity Investments, Fixed Income Investments, Derivatives, Alternative Investments, Asset Valuation, Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning.

Course Fee

Fee for CFA from ICFAI is around Rs 45000 per semester. Fee for CFA from CFA Institute is approximately Rs 48000 per level.

Application process

As most CFA courses are distance learning courses of self study there is no entrance exam to qualify aspirants. The eligibility criteria include having a bachelor's degree in any discipline, management student or a working executive and professional. The foundation course offered by ICFAI is a 6 month distance course. The executive course is a campus based two year course which is open to

  • Graduates (any discipline)
  • Final Level students of CA, CWA, CS and other PG and CAs, CWAs, Company Secretaries and other Postgraduates (any discipline).
  • Working Executives, Entrepreneurs, Bankers, Civil Servants, Consultants, provided they are graduates.

For applying to the US CFA program a student must possess a degree comparable to a US bachelor's degree.

Is it suitable for me?

A financial analyst should have two traits, the first being the ability to work well with numbers and the second being the ability to convey his viewpoint in a precise and comprehensive manner. Other traits that are required include keen, analytic, inquisitive mind, capacity for working long hours on complex mental work. 

Fintotal Insight

It is observed that obtaining a CFA from The CFA Institute has more value in the corporate scenario than from ICFAI or any local institute offering similar programs.

Unlike most graduate school programs, the self-study format of the program allows you to continue working full time as you progress towards earning the CFA charter.

When it comes to access to opportunities in the investment profession, there is no equivalent to earning the CFA charter. It is a cost-effective or well-respected credential program that better prepares you with the skills you need to meet the challenges of today's world of professional investing.

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