The Chartered Financial Analyst tag is obtained only after months of blood, sweat and tears going into preparations. Yet the CFA designation remains one of the most coveted job roles in the world and, in recent times has seen astonishing growth in hopeful candidates.
What is CFA?
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The CFA has come to be one of the most influential and recognisable investment insignia worldwide. The designation is bestowed upon successful candidates by the CFA Institute which was formerly known as the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR). This institution is responsible for the examination and certification of financial analysts; their exams are frequented by thousands every year.
The CFA exam has three levels, the successful completion of which will establish candidates as masters in the investment and management fields.
Why Are CFA Courses Increasing?
- The increased flow of money: The CFA designation is still heavily sought after, despite the rigorous run-up to the examinations. For starters, this is because the demand for highly qualified finance professionals is increasing with the proliferation of globalisation and the increased flow of money.
- Great job prospects: CFAs are usually in demand for top decision-making positions where each ‘yes’ or ‘no’ has significant bearings on the functioning of the company. Naturally, then, passing the CFA exams and earning yourself the tag will guarantee excellent job prospects at top tier firms in several investment areas. From investment firms to hedge funds, investment-related entities know and value the knowledge base acquired by CFAs in the duration of their course. Thus, their resumes place top, over all other candidates in related fields.
- Knowledge of regulatory standards: CFAs are also valued for their high professional and ethical standards. Companies benefit from hiring financial analysts who know the laws of the game like the back of their hand– this prevents any auditing and regulatory hiccups in the future which tend to spell massive losses at any scale.
- Experience and practise: The charter is conferred after four years in the industry– rigorous years of practice and experience that are of immeasurable value to companies locked in aggressive competition. The ideal CFA course allows candidates to engage in real-world scenarios to sharpen their problem-solving and analytical abilities.
- Abundant networking opportunities: Numerous worldwide CFA societies allow graduates to build unbeatable connections. These global networks are beneficial in that fresh graduates can find job opportunities while veteran CFAs can find willing partners to either employ or collaborate with over a venture.
- More focused than MBAs: While 2-year MBA programmes offer students a wide and comprehensive perspective of the investment field, no course goes as in-depth into financial analysis as an international CFA course does. It is also a more affordable option for those looking to jump into the industry but unwilling to pay ceiling-high tuition fees for MBA courses.
What Does 2020-2027 Look Like?
As of 2019, over 167,000 investment analysts and professionals hold the official CFA charter. In the coming few years, the number is likely to increase, especially since India is moving to the forefront. International financial entities are setting their eyes on India to outsource a massive amount of work and set up remote offices and branches. As they will be looking to recruit the highest credentials in the investment world, obtaining a CFA charter all the more important for Indian investment professionals.
The growth of wealth management will also aid the expansion of CFA charter-holders across the globe, India included. The industry has been growing at a year-on-year figure of 20%.
As time goes by, more and more exciting opportunities will crop up for investment professionals to make their mark. The CFA course aims to create a pool of professionals that are steeped in ethics and knowledge, ready to lead the industry in the coming years.