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Q1. What is CFA?

The CFA® Charter is a globally recognized certification in the area of Investment Finance offered by the CFA Institute, United States. It is a key certification for investment professionals, especially in the areas of Portfolio Management and Investment Analysis. The CFA designation is a valuable credential certifying you as having in-depth knowledge of security types and investment vehicles. It also indicates that you are expert in quantitative methodologies for analyzing securities, such as assessing their value and identifying their underlying risks. The CFA® designation is given to investment professionals who successfully complete the requirements set by the globally recognized CFA® Institute.

The CFA Program would help you enhance and build knowledge is the area of investment finance It is a key certification for investment professionals, especially in the areas of Research and Portfolio Management. It has 3 levels of examination. The Course is divided into 4 broad heads: a) Ethics & Professional Standards, b) Investment Tools, c) Asset Classes and d) Portfolio Management.

The CFA Program is an educational program that tests your mastery of a body of knowledge through a series of exams. If you pass these three exams and meet other requirements, you earn a CFA charter.

Q2. Why enroll for CFA?

With only 100,000 investment professionals globally having achieved charterholder status to date, completion of the program puts you in an elite group.

The designation is therefore:

  • Career-enhancing – Held in great esteem by employers and by your peers alike
  • Well-respected – A reflection of your professional excellence
  • Credible – The designation is praised and supported by the industry’s top organizations
  • Globally recognized – If you change company or move country, the charter remains a mark of quality
  • Globally relevant – The broad-based curriculum ensures you gain knowledge that has a global perspective
Q3. What are the job prospects? Where do most CFA Charterholders work?

The CFA Charter will open up opportunities in the areas of Equity Research, Portfolio Management, Corporate Finance, Credit Analysis, Trading, Investment Banking, Investment Analysis, Wealth Management, Private Equity, and Valuation etc. 

Thus, any profile which requires investment analysis and understanding and analysis of financial markets, can be a potential area of opportunity for a CFA Charterholder.
Q4. What is the difference between CFA vs MBA Finance and CA

CFA charter is globally recognized as a relevant and practical qualification for those looking to further their career in investment banking and fund management. The CFA charter has become mandatory for many investment analysts and portfolio managers. Also the cost of completing the CFA Program is significantly less than the cost of an MBA or Masters and you can also work throughout the CFA Program. The CFA curriculum teaches you practical aspects of finance, concepts that are used on the job everyday.  Unlike CA which focuses on accounting and audit, the focus of CFA is on analysis and valuation.

The finance content in CFA would go much beyond what one covers in an MBA Finance. CFA is a specialization in Investment Finance, and focuses on the concepts and tests the candidate through a single examination. The purpose of an MBA is to get a good overview of the concepts and build on the personality skills of the individual for e.g. Presentation Skills, Team Work, Leadership skills etc. So therefore a choice between an MBA and CFA should be based on the skill set an individual is looking to add. If you wish to be a specialist in Finance, then doing a CFA would surely be a better option.

But having said that the two courses should, however, not be strictly looked at as substitutes. They build on different skills. An MBA is holistic development along with adding knowledge in the area of specialization, but CFA is a specialization in finance and would go in-depth into investment finance and portfolio management.  

The CFA program, unlike the MBA, is focused on investment knowledge and has increasingly become a mark of distinction for investment professionals. It is often seen as career booster for Wall Street executives.

Q5. What are the eligibility criteria for the CFA exam?

You need to be a graduate to give the CFA Exams. There is no requirement in terms of minimum marks or the graduation to be in a specific specialization.  You can also give the CFA Level 1 Exam, while you are in your final year of graduation. But to give Level 2, you must have completed your graduation at the time of registering for the exam. For further details on the eligibility criteria click on http://www.cfainstitute.org/cfaprogram/process/Pages/index.aspx

Q6. What are the main topics in CFA and what is the structure of the examination? 

The curriculum is divided into 4 major areas:

  1. Ethical and professional standards
  2. Tools and inputs for investment valuation and management (Quantitative Techniques, Economics, Financial Statement Analysis, Corporate Finance)
  3. Asset valuation (Equity Valuation, Fixed Income Valuation, Derivatives, Alternative Investments)
  4. Portfolio management
  5. There are 10 topic areas in the CFA Exams.

There are 10 topic areas in the CFA Exams.

COURSE SUBJECTS (Weightage) Level I Level II Level III
Ethics 15% 10-15% 10%
Quantitative Techniques 12% 5-10% 0%
Economics 10% 5-10% 5-15%
Financial Reporting Analysis 20% 15-20% 0%
Corporate Finance 7% 5-10% 0%
Equity Investments 10% 15-25% 5-15%
Fixed Income 10% 10-20% 10-20%
Derivatives 5% 5-15% 5-15%
Alternative Investments 4% 5-10% 5-15%
Portfolio Management 7% 5-10% 40-55%

Note: There is very little (if any) maths (calculus) in this course. Also, you are allowed to carry a calculator to the exam.

Q7. What is exam structure ?

The exam is structured as 3 Levels: Level 1, 2 and 3. Level 1 Exam is conducted twice every year on 1st Saturday of June and December. Level 2 and 3 Exams are conducted only once every year on 1st Saturday of June every year. The Level I exams will include 240 multiple choice questions, divided between 2 exams held on the same day i.e. 120 on the ‘Morning Session’ from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and another 120 questions on the ‘Afternoon Session’ from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Each multiple choice question is free-standing (not dependent on other questions) and has three possible answers: A, B, and C. All questions are equally weighted and there is no penalty for guessing.

Exam Format Type of Questions No. of Questions Duration of Exam
Level I Multiple Choice 240 Two Exams on same day of
3 hrs each
Level II Multiple Choice 120
Level III 1/2 Essay type & 1/2 multiple choice 10 + 60
Q8. How Do I register for the exam?

The registration process is quite simple. Go to the CFA Website www.cfainstitute.org and create your login, and register for the exam online. You would need to fulfill your personal, professional details, select your test center, and pay up the fee for the exam.

 

Once you register, you will get a confirmation email from the CFA Institute. You will receive the soft copy material – which can be downloaded onto your computer. If you have ordered the hardcopy material, it could take about a week to ten days to arrive.

Q9. What is the fee for this exam?
Payment deadlines (For June 2015 Exam) Program enrollment
(new candidates only)
Exam registration Total cost
24 September 2014 $450 
(One Time Charge)
$630 $1,080
18 February 2015 $825 $1,275
18 March 2015 $1210 $1,660

 

Note: If you have given the exam before, then you would have to pay up only the examination registration.

For complete details on the fee for the CFA Exams log on to http://www.cfainstitute.org/cfaprogram/process/fees/Pages/index.aspx

Q10. What are the pass rates?

Q11. In what all methods can I pay the fees to the CFA Institute?

The fees to the CFA Institute can be paid via

  1. Credit Card. This is probably the best and the fastest method to pay the fee. The credit card company would bill you in your local currency, while pay the CFA Institute in Dollars. The transaction would be done instantaneously and you would get a confirmation of it too.
  2. Bankers cheque / Demand Draft: You would need to go to your bank and provide all the details required to make a dollar cheque and then post it to the CFA Institute.
  3. Swift Transfer: Request for the bank account details of the CFA Institute, by sending them an email. And then make a SWIFT (online) transfer through your bank.
Q12. Do I become a CFA Charterholder by simply passing the 3 levels of the CFA Exam?

To become a CFA charterholder, you must:

  1. Pass 3 rigorous six-hour exams - structured as Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.
  2. Have at least four years of professional investment experience.
  3. Become a regular member of CFA Institute
  4. Commit to abiding by CFA® Institute's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.
Q13. In what industry do I need the 4 years of experience and does it have to be after I complete the CFA Exams?

Relevant work experience implies that your work should add value into the investment decision making process. This means, that you should be using on your job any part of the content that you are learning at the CFA This 48 month work experience can be before, during or after your CFA Exams. This is a must requirement to attain the CFA Charter not the CFA Exams. You can give the exams even if you do not work in this area.

Q14. Will the test centers be in India?

YES. There are more than 6 test centers in India: Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Pune.

Q15. Will my non-finance background be a disadvantage while pursuing CFA?

If you have a background in Commerce, Finance or Economics, it will surely be an advantage while you start. But if you don’t have a background, yes you would start at a back foot but then if you put in the time and effort, the course is quite manageable. All topics on the CFA Level 1 Exam start right from the basics of the topic. In our classes, as well, we ensure that all the basics are covered so that all students are at the same level. So if you pay attention in the classes, and put in the required hardwork - you can surely clear this exam.

Q16. Does having a Finance Background help on the CFA Program:

You do not need to have a Finance/Commerce background to start your journey to become CFA Charter holder. Our coaching is structured to ensure students from all backgrounds are able to quickly learn the concepts and apply them in solving tricky questions on the exam. We provide special focus to students from non-finance backgrounds, while at the same time encourage students with any prior knowledge on the topics to actively participate in discussions in the class. Apart from Chartered Accountants, MBA’s in Finance and other finance specialists, we have had students from various backgrounds such as Non-Finance bachelors, Engineering, Human Resource, Hospitality Management and Doctors etc.

FinGuru is a financial services training company providing classroom training for aspiring finance professionals. Our aim is to build and nurture a pool of talent which is expert in Finance.

FinGuru is the largest face-to-face training provider for the CFA exams based in New Delhi. We are the only institute to provide classroom training for ALL 3 levels of the CFA Exams. Through our classes we help students gain a comprehensive knowledge on all topics that encompass the CFA Curriculum. All our faculty are CFA Charterholders with ample industry experience and are specialists in the topic that they teach.

To augment our in-class teaching we provide excellent study material which makes topics easy to understand and focus on key concepts. Our weekend classes are structured in a manner that enables both working professionals and students to excel in the exam.

Q1. When & Where are classes of FinGuru conducted?
FinGuru CFA Coaching Classes are conducted over the weekends (Saturday & Sunday) in New Delhi. Each class is of 4 hours duration. The classes are held at the Indian Social Institute (Behind Sai Baba Temple), Lodhi Institutional Area, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. We provide classroom coaching for all the 3 levels of the examination.
Q2. What is the batch size?
Batch size is approx 30-35 students.
Q3. What is the structure of the classes at FinGuru?
The classes are conducted in a classroom format and are highly interactive. We cover the basic concepts of each topic, practice lots of questions in the class and answer all doubts. We cover the entire course in about 100 hours of classes and then give tests and hold doubt sessions. We ensure personal attention to all our students. All our faculty are CFA Charterholders with ample industry and teaching experience.
Q4. Do we provide any material in the classes?
Yes. We provide material in the form of presentation handouts, which are concise notes and would greatly help you in your preparation. We also provide you with homework questions after each class. All notes and questions are also uploaded online, so that our students can access them at anytime from anywhere.
Q5. Will the material provided in the classes be sufficient?
You must also refer to that with the CFA books that you get when you register for the exam. You should use the material we give along with the books / material you get from the CFA institute, and that would then be sufficient to do well on the CFA Exams. We will provide you guidance on each subject and tell you what topics must be prepared from which sources. The detailed information on this will be provided in the classes.
Q6. How much time is required to cover the syllabus?

Depending on your background, students require anything from 150-300 hours of preparation for each level of the CFA Examination. The key to success is a dedicated effort (2-4 hours each day) over a period of 3-4 months. 

We start our classes at least 4 months before the examination and complete your course at least 1 month before the exam date. The last month is spent on revision and practice of questions. This much time is adequate for most students to prepare adequately for the exam.

  • You do not need to have a Finance/Commerce background to start your journey to become CFA Charter holder. Our coaching is structured to ensure students from all backgrounds are able to quickly learn the concepts and apply them in solving tricky questions on the exam.
  • We provide special focus to students from non-finance backgrounds, while at the same time encourage students with any prior knowledge on the topics to actively participate in discussions in the class
  • Apart from Chartered Accountants, MBA’s in Finance and other finance specialists, we have had students from various backgrounds such as Non-Finance bachelors, Engineering, Human Resource, Hospitality Management and Doctors etc.