The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program is a professional credential offered by the CFA Institute (formerly AIMR) to investment and financial professionals. A candidate who successfully completes the program and meets other professional requirements is awarded a "CFA charter" and becomes a "CFA charterholder."

The CFA designation

The CFA charter is a qualification for finance and investment professionals, particularly in the fields of investment management and financial analysis of stocks, bonds and their derivative assets. The program focuses on portfolio management and financial analysis, and provides a generalist knowledge of other areas of finance. Additionally, the CFA charter has experienced increasing relevance and demand within corporate finance.
The CFA designation was first awarded in 1963. As of March 2012, CFA Institute has about 107,000 members in 138 countries around the world, including about 98,000 CFA charterholders.


To become a charterholder a candidate must satisfy the following requirements.
  • Have four years (48 months) of qualified work experience (or a combination of education and work experience acceptable by the CFA Institute). However individual level exams may be written prior to satisfying this requirement
  • Complete the CFA Program (mastery of the current CFA curriculum and passing three six-hour examinations)
  • Become a member of the CFA Institute and apply for membership to a local CFA member society
  • Adhere to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
Independent of any other requirements for becoming a charterholder, the CFA Program takes an average of four years for candidates to complete.