Investment bankers are critical to both corporations and communities looking to raise money to fund their activities. Investment bankers underwrite securities and help corporations navigate through some of the most difficult business processes, such as mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings.
While it’s common to hear people say they are “studying for the CFA® exam,” the CFA Program actually includes a series of three exams: Levels I, II, and III. Each exam is offered annually at test centers around the globe on the first Saturday in June. Level I is offered an additional time each December. As you’d expect, the exams get more difficult with each level. It is recommended that a candidate study for a minimum of 300 hours per level to pass the exam.
Asset management is an incredibly attractive profession for many finance students and young professionals…and for good reason. Many of the world’s leading asset management firms oversee trillions of dollars in client assets. Savvy professionals with the skills and knowledge to make sound decisions for clients are highly valuable to those firms. But landing a position with a reputable firm isn’t as simple as submitting a resume and acing an interview. Here are some steps that could be helpful if you’re wondering how to get into asset management.
The Level I CFA Exam is a 240-question, multiple-choice exam. There is a 6-hour testing period, divided into two 3-hour sessions. Both the morning and the afternoon sessions feature 120 questions, covering all topics. Candidates are required to attend both sessions. According to CFA Institute, you should allow approximately 90 seconds for each question, on average.
The Level II CFA Exam is a formatted differently than Level I. There are 120 items overall in Level II, consisting of 20 item sets, each containing a vignette with 6 questions. Each question is weighted equally and worth 3 points, and you aren’t penalized for wrong answers. Like Level I, there is a morning session and an afternoon session and you must attend both. Each session consists of ten vignettes.
The Level III CFA Exam includes item sets, like level II. But it also consists of constructed response (essay) questions. There is a morning session and an afternoon session. In the morning, you’ll complete 8 to 12 essay questions, each with several subparts. The point value for each question is provided in the exam book. In the afternoon, you will complete 10 item sets.
If you’re thinking about pursuing the CFA® charter, you may someday find yourself on the career path of a corporate financial analyst. Corporate analysts are valued and respected in business, especially amid increased competition and economic uncertainty. So what does a corporate financial analyst do?
If you are considering a career in financial services, an advanced designation can help you set yourself apart from the competition. But, which career path makes more sense for you: CFA® charter or CFP® mark? Both designations lead to unique professional opportunities, but they have different requirements and focus on different aspects of the financial services industry.
The CFA charter is geared predominently toward investment and wealth management in corporate settings by helping individuals develop advanced knowledge of investment tools and techniques. The CFP® mark, in contrast, trains finance professionals to work more directly with indivdual clients to help them create broader financial goals and plans for achieving them. Both paths have a lot of opportunity. It just requires you to think about what you want to do long-term.
Earning the CFA® charter is a great way to set yourself apart in the financial industry. Not only will your job prospects improve with the charter, but you’ll gain global recognition and real-world expertise that will help you better serve your clients for the rest of your career. The path to becoming a CFA charterholder is challenging, but it can open new doors to you in global finance.
There are four components to getting the CFA charter, which we have outlined below.
Pass the Exams
If you are considering the CFA charter, you have probably heard about the CFA exams you have to pass first. There are three exam levels (I, II, III) with unique topic and learning focuses. The topics include investment tools, asset valuation, and portfolio management. Each exam will test different learning focuses. The Level I exam focuses on knowledge and comprehension, while Level II is more application and analysis based. The Level III exam focuses on synthesizing information and making evaluations.
The CFA® charter is a globally recognized financial designation that serves as a badge of knowledge, commitment, perseverance, skill, and hard work. Earning your CFA charter sets you up well for growth in your career as a finance professional. But exactly what kind of a finance career can you get as a Chartered Financial Analyst®?
CFA Institute conducted a survey of all charterholders to determine their most commonly held job functions. Based on their findings, we’ve detailed the most common job functions of CFA charterholders below to give you a clear picture of what type of career you could pursue if you choose to earn the CFA charter.