College Student

The CFA® Charter: Chartered Financial Analyst® Designation

stock_businesswoman6CFA Institute seeks to inform greater numbers of women and minority students about the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®designation.  The CFA charter has become known as the gold standard of professional credentials within the global investment management industry.

We encourage graduate and undergraduate students to explore information about the CFA designation and investment management profession as you formulate your long-term career options.  Becoming a CFA charterholder brings you into an elite group of practitioners focused on global financial excellence.  The process is rigorous; the rewards immeasurable.  For more than 45 years, the CFA credential has communicated to clients, colleagues, and professionals both a proven understanding of complex financial and investment issues and a firm grounding in professional ethics.  CFA charterholders enjoy worldwide recognition for their unbiased integrity and are sought for the prestige and excellence that the charter represents.

CFA charterholders play leading roles in investment companies, public pension funds, corporate pension plans, foundations, insurance companies, mutual funds, consulting firms, broker-dealers, banks, and investment banks, as well as research and academic institutions.  Earning the CFA charter is a major milestone that brings successful individuals from all over the world into a community of industry thought-leaders.

CFA Institute confers the CFA charter through the administration of the CFA Program–a graduate-level, self-study program that combines a broad curriculum with ethical and professional requirements.  You must pass three sequential exams based on relevant curriculum drawn from current professional practice.  You must pass one exam to move on to the next; if you fail a level, you can retake the exam as often as needed.  CFA exams are held in June (all three levels) and December (Level I only).  The CFA Program is designed to test your mastery of investment knowledge and financial analysis.

The CFA Program curriculum, known as the Candidate Body of Knowledge™, covers ten (10) subject areas.

  • Ethical and professional standards
  • Quantitative methods
  • Economics
  • Financial reporting and analysis
  • Corporate finance
  • Equity investments
  • Fixed income investments
  • Derivatives
  • Alternative investments
  • Portfolio management and wealth planning

CFA Institute has established partnerships with 118 globally diverse, high-profile educational institutions that cover a significant portion of the aforementioned CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge in their degree programs.  As of May 2010 there are 34 CFA Program Partner universities across the U.S.  For the worldwide listing of these universities please refer to

Earning a CFA charter provides a strong foundation for a variety of career choices in the investment profession and access to a global network of industry colleagues.  As of May 2010, CFA Institute has more than 100,000 members and 137 member societies located in 58 countries.  CFA member societies help participants network with peers and participate in the work of the larger organization through focused volunteer activities.  Indeed, the CFA charter and an MBA degree represent two of the strongest career credentials a finance professional can earn.  Combined, they underscore your finance and technical acumen and the management qualities that make great leaders.

We look forward to working with the Forté Foundation to increasingly inform students about the investment management industry.

Allison Grant Williams
Director of Diversity Outreach
University Relations
CFA Institute

CFA Institute is the global association for investment professionals that administers the CFA® and CIPM® exam programs worldwide; publishes research; conducts professional development programs; and sets voluntary, ethics-based professional and performance-reporting standards for the investment industry.  More information may be found at

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