On this day in 1947, the association of investment professionals known as the CFA Institute was formed. On June 11, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago financial analysts societies all joined together to form the National Federation of Financial Analyst Societies (NFFAS). This federation was eventually merged with the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts (ICFA) to become what is known today as the CFA Institute.

Becoming a chartered financial analyst (CFA) member is no easy task. There are three levels that need to be completed as well as a required number of years experience. It becomes a catch-22 "I need a CFA designation to get an analyst job, but need a job to get the designation"

I am looking at the stack of books for level one right now. There are six volumes sitting heavily on my desk, each covering a different major section. For example there are topics such as. "Ethical and Professional Standards and Quantitative Methods," "Economics" and "Corporate Finance and Portfolio Management." (For a complete list of each book and section, just check out our complete online CFA Level 1 Study Guide.)

A quick count reveals a discouraging 3,169 pages total for all six, at a height of just over six inches. But for good reason. Each of the three levels is meant to challenge the reader and weed out the uncommitted. (Here are some pros and cons to consider before you take the charter plunge, see So, You Want To Earn Your CFA? and CFA, MBA ... Or Both?)

There were 128,600 individuals registered for the June 2009 exams, representing 154 different countries. The CFA Institute now has over 96,000 members, including the 84,447 CFA charterholders. This is according to the June 9, 2009 press release, which can be read here.

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