The Chartered Financial Analyst is a highly credible and recognized career in the domain of Financial Management. In India, the CFA Institute offers world-class industry-endorsed courses that are recognized globally.
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification is a designation held by over 170,000 people worldwide. The CFA is considered a benchmark job for professionals within the investment management industry. All CFAs have to meet rigorous examination and work experience standards before they can add the letters to their name.
According to the CFA website, as a CFA charter, you will have the knowledge and the skills to thrive in the competitive investing industry. The CFA charter gives you expertise and real-world skills in investment analysis.
To register for a certified financial accountant course, all you need is a graduation degree in any subject or discipline along with work experience of a minimum of 4 years. Since it is a course offered to work professionals also, there is a flexible time period to complete the course, ranging between 18 to 48 months. This is of course highly dependent on the student's capacity and acumen.
Career Opportunities for Certified Financial Analysts
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) services are held in high regard. It is a highly revered qualification for accounting professionals in the investment management industry.
If crunching numbers, solving complex business problems, or analyzing investment trends is something that excites you, then there are plenty of accounting and financial analyst jobs out there for you.
For a finance analyst, time is of great essence. So if you already have a graduate degree or have just completed your MBA, and considering a specialization, then waste no time to enroll for a CFA course right away.
A financial analyst can work across all domains. Due to the highly specialized nature of the course, there is a great demand in any business, or social enterprise, or even in government departments.
What Jobs Can I Explore As A CFA?
The top jobs available for a certified financial analyst are mainly offered by companies in sectors like investment banking, financial research, risk analysis, portfolio management, and many more. Data analytics and management are by far the front runners when it comes to the expertise of financial analysts. They provide ample growth opportunities as well.
A CFA would fit the bill for the following top jobs in businesses and finance companies in India:
- Research analyst;
- Financial analyst;
- Portfolio manager;
- Risk manager;
- Fund analyst;
- Business consultant;
- Chief Financial Officer.
In India, the typical salary in a permanent job for a CFA ranges anywhere between INR 9 to 20 lakhs per annum. Of course, as you grow up the ladder, the income potential expands exponentially. You can offer your expert skills to lead and build a team of financial analysts, or open your own firm to train aspiring analysts.
Some employers, or a potential employer, are even willing to pay for your CFA exams, but it is worth confirming with them before undertaking the qualification.
It is equally important to do your homework about possible financial analyst interview questions. Gather more information about the potential job prospects and scope of CFA certification at the CFA Institute.
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All You Need To Know About CFA Exams
Once you have chosen your preferred institute for CFA certification, all that is left to do is prepare for the exam. You need to register on the CFA Institute website with valid credentials and follow the instructions to complete your registration. You may also apply for available scholarships, provided you fulfill the eligibility criteria for the same.
The financial analyst course is divided into three separate levels:
- Level I;
- Level II;
- Level III.
The three levels are sequential and entail qualifying for each before you can move on to the next one. Each Level has its own examination structure, as outlined below.
The exam for the Level I qualification comprises 240 multiple-choice questions, which are answered over two exam sessions that add up to six hours in total. This level is MCQ-based and usually conducted twice a year in the months of June and December.
The exam for the Level II qualification also comprises 120 multiple-choice questions, half of which are answered during a morning examination session, with the remainder answered during the afternoon examination session. The questions are based on case studies.
The exam for the final Level of the CFA qualification comprises a mixture of item sets and essay questions. It consists of 60 questions in 10 case studies, with 3 hours dedicated to each session.
You can find out more details about your options to appear in upcoming CFA exams here.
Don't be too harsh on yourself if you stumble at any of the levels of the CFA qualification. Even having passed just the Level I is usually regarded as quite an achievement. According to the CFA India website, June 2018 sitting saw 43% of candidates passing the Level I, 45% passing the Level II, while 56% passed the Level III. This is compared to 43% of candidates passing the Level I, 47% passing the Level II, and 54% passing the Level III in June 2017.
There are many reasons for the relatively low pass rates. For instance:
- The courses are predominantly self-study, that requires dedication, persistence, and aptitude.
- It requires a very high level of time commitment, which, for work, personal, or other issues, can be difficult for everyone to meet.
- The course material itself can be challenging to learn for some, especially in the absence of a teacher or guide as in a classroom setting.
The CFA exam s designed to be tough to prepare you for the challenging role a sharp financial and business analyst. As a financial analyst, you are expected to demonstrate excellence in one or more of the following:
- Quantitative Analysis.
- Financial Reporting.
- Professional Ethics and Standards.
- Equity Investment Analysis.
- Fixed Income Analysis.
- Sound understanding of Economics and Derivatives.
- Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning.
- Corporate Finance.
- Alternative Investment Plans.
Due to the nature of the role, the financial analyst course also comes with its own set of parameters that help create a benchmark for you. This proves to be crucial as you strive for excellence as a financial analyst.
Progress as a Financial Analyst with CFA Certification
Becoming a financial data analyst is more than just taking a big leap of faith. It requires ample planning, perseverance, rising up from failures, and of course never losing sight of the goal. And an expert certification certainly helps the cause.
So if you’re thinking about working within the investment management industry, then the Certified Financial Analyst course is certainly worth your time, money, and energy. It is just like adding another feather to the cap and establishing yourself as an expert in the finance domain. This can amplify your chances of landing lucrative jobs that pay well and enable you to grow further.
With markets opening up and international trade becoming smoother, businesses are in need of expert financial analysts who can expedite their growth with powerful insights and strategies. And the most exciting part about this expert designation is that it cuts across nations. So you can be a financial analyst in demand not just in India, but also in London, New York, Tokyo, or any of the big industrialized countries.
The fact that anyone can become a financial analyst makes the course all the more desirable. So if you are a fresh graduate, or an MBA holder, or a corporate executive, or even an academician, you can still enroll in a financial analyst course. Your graduation degree, sincerity with the study materials, exam performance, along with your preparation for the financial analyst interview questions, will see you through.
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