The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a globally recognized self study degree program for anyone aiming at investment related professions. It is conducted by the CFA Institute. Candidates who have completed the course are highly valued by the industry and are preferred for key positions in companies.
The CFA exam has three levels, I, II and III. One has to pass all the three levels and meet some other requirements (professional and ethical) to become a CFA charter holder. The exam for Level I takes place twice a year (in June and December) where as that for Level II and III happens only once in a year (in June only).
If one writes the Level I exam in December and continues through to Level II in June of the next year and Level III in June of the following year, without failing in any of the levels, the minimum time period in which the CFA levels can be completed is 1.5 years. The exam is of moderate difficulty and it requires quite a dedication from the candidate’s part to get through. However, there is no limit to the number of attempts one can make in any of the levels.
The fees for applying for the exam ranges from around 1000 US Dollars to 1400 US Dollars, depending on when you are registering, as there are discounts on early registrations. The study materials and one online sample exam are included in the registration fees.
One note of caution! This CFA designation given by the CFA Institute is not to be mistaken as the CFA in India given by ICFAI (which they got through some court litigation) that is not valued outside India like the former. In fact, due to the litigation, the CFA Institute is not conducting the CFA exam in India until the court gives a ruling in their favor.
So as of now people in India have to go outside the country, to nearby locations such as Srilanka, Nepal, Singapore etc. to take the exam. I hope the court understand the situation and allow the CFA Institute to conduct the CFA exam in India. But whatever it is, the CFA exam is something an aspiring financial analyst should definitely go for.
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