The Chartered Financial Analyst, or CFA, program is a professional certification awarded by the CFA Institute. CFA candidates must pass three exams on topics related to financial analysis, asset classes and portfolio management. Charter holders are considered experts on investment and financial topics.

CFAs are frequently employed by asset management firms, securities brokers, research firms, investment banks, business development and venture capital firms, portfolio managers, business law firms, advisory businesses and large companies with corporate finance divisions. Popular firms falling under these categories include Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Citigroup (NYSE: C), UBS, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), BlackRock (NYSE: BLK), HSBC and the Vanguard Group.

CFA Job Opportunities

A number of different positions are commonly held by CFAs. Research analysts identify and interpret relevant quantitative data and qualitative information to improve financial decision-making. Asset management firms on the buy side and securities brokers on the sell side employ research analysts, as do investment banks and research firms. More experienced and accomplished CFAs may get the opportunity to manage asset pools.

Portfolio managers decide how to deploy their clients' capital and how to manage risk in those investments. Many financial analysts in financial planning and analysis, or FP&A, roles are CFAs. Large companies require corporate finance teams to conduct FP&A functions and ensure capital is being invested in a manner that maximizes returns. CFAs with law degrees have opportunities to work with corporate legal teams or firms specializing in business law. Some CFAs work as financial advisers who help individuals manage their savings and plan for retirement.

  1. What percentage of asset management firms are privately held and not publicly traded?

    Explore asset management firms, a major part of the financial services sector, and learn about the respective markets served ... Read Answer >>
  2. What kinds of financial analysis jobs are there?

    Read about some of the different types of financial analysts, including those considered to be on the buy side and those ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    Guide To Financial Certifications

    To find the right financial professional, you have to sift through an alphabet soup of certifications. Here’s a quick guide to six of the most common.
  2. Personal Finance

    3 Questions to Ask Potential Financial Advisors

    Your financial advisor is a key component to having enough retirement income, so find the right one.
  3. Financial Advisor

    So, You Want to Earn Your CFA?

    Here are some pros and cons to consider before you take the CFA charter plunge.
  4. Personal Finance

    Financial Data Analyst: Career Path & Qualifications

    Learn more about the career options available to financial data analysts, and determine whether the profession is a good match for you.
  5. Personal Finance

    Equity Research: Career Path and Qualifications

    Find out what equity research analysts do on a day-to-day basis, and learn more about the typical career progression for these securities professionals.
  6. Investing

    Top 5 Positions in First Pacific Advisors' Portfolio

    Learn about the top five equity holdings of First Pacific Advisors, an asset management firm that practices the contrarian theory of portfolio management.
  7. Investing

    A Bond Bubble: CFAs Say We're in One

    Almost 90% of CFAs think the bond market is in bubble territory, a recent poll has found.
  8. Personal Finance

    Financial Analyst: Career Path & Qualifications

    Read about what it takes to become a financial analyst in a corporation or securities firm, and learn how far you can rise in the profession.
  9. Managing Wealth

    Financial Designations That Lead To The Highest-Paying Jobs

    Not only do these finance careers pay high salaries, they're also in high demand.
  1. Corporate Charter

    A written document filed with a U.S. state by the founders of ...
  2. Chartered Bank

    A financial institution whose primary roles are to accept and ...
  3. Financial Adviser

    A professional who helps individuals manage their finances by ...
  4. Money Manager

    A business or bank responsible for managing the securities portfolio ...
  5. Personal Financial Advisor

    Professionals who help individuals manage their finances by providing ...
  6. Chartered Accountant - CA

    An accounting designation given to accounting professionals in ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Interest Expense

    The cost incurred by an entity for borrowed funds. Interest expense is a non-operating expense shown on the income statement. ...
  2. Call Option

    An agreement that gives an investor the right (but not the obligation) to buy a stock, bond, commodity, or other instrument ...
  3. Pro-Rata

    Used to describe a proportionate allocation. A method of assigning an amount to a fraction, according to its share of the ...
  4. Private Placement

    The sale of securities to a relatively small number of select investors as a way of raising capital.
  5. AAA

    The highest possible rating assigned to the bonds of an issuer by credit rating agencies. An issuer that is rated AAA has ...
  6. Backward Integration

    A form of vertical integration that involves the purchase of suppliers. Companies will pursue backward integration when it ...
Trading Center