Recipients of the CFA charter have successfully completed a graduate-level, self-study curriculum and series of three intensive examinations taken sequentially over at least two years. It is recommended that candidates prepare a minimum of 250 hours per exam, with substantially more recommended for individual circumstances.
Since the inception of the CFA Program 45 years ago, pass rates at each of the three exam levels have averaged about 50 percent. Because of the rigor of the program, only about one in five candidates who enter the program pass all three exams and successfully complete all the requirements to earn the charter.
Administered exclusively in English, the international language of business, the three six-hour exams cover ethical and professional standards, securities analysis and valuation, financial statement analysis, quantitative methods, economics, corporate finance, portfolio management, and performance measurement.
“This isn’t about adding three letters to the end of my name,” Smith pointed out. “At a time in the market where there is so much uncertainty, I’m happy to be able to do something that not only makes me a better advisor, but also gives our clients some added confidence in who they are trusting to get them safely home.”
“Five months ago, you could have picked a portfolio by throwing darts at the Wall Street Journal and had a great return,” Smith said. “But today, we think we’re looking at just the opposite. That’s an almost inconceivable shift in such a short amount of time. The CFA program has given me the knowledge, insight, and persistence to tackle this ever-changing investment landscape.”
And if his day job weren’t enough, he’s got a full load on his hands at home. “I’ve got a 115 year-old house, one toddler and another due soon, and a honey-do list that, due to the CFA exams, has been three years in the making,” Smith noted. “All that CFA work is going to seem like a breeze compared with what I have in store for me at home.”
Robert R. Johnson, Ph.D., CFA, deputy CEO, explained what motivates candidates to make such a significant investment of their time and energy to seek to earn the CFA designation.
“For more than 40 years, candidates have sought to earn the CFA charter for two chief reasons,” Johnson said, “one, to expand and test their knowledge of current practice across a broad range of investment topics, and two, to demonstrate to clients, employers, and peers their mastery of a demanding body of knowledge.”
CFA Institute is the global association for investment professionals. It administers the CFA and CIPM curriculum and exam programs worldwide; publishes research; conducts professional development programs; and sets voluntary, ethics-based professional and performance-reporting standards for the investment industry. CFA Institute has more than 96,000 members, who include the world’s 82,800 CFA charterholders, in 133 countries and territories, as well as 136 affiliated professional societies in 57 countries and territories. More information may be found at http://www.cfainstitute.org/.
Jonathan Smith & Co., Investment Counsel
Jonathan Smith & Co. is a Registered Investment Advisor providing investment counsel and financial planning for individuals, trusts, estates, corporations, investment trusts, employee benefit trusts, and institutions. Aware that each engagement’s wealth management needs are unique and often complex, they craft individualized solutions and simplify life’s financial aspects for their clients. Their mission is to build, protect and manage each client’s wealth through every stage of life. More information may be found at http://www.jonathansmith.com/.