A:

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.

RELATED FAQS
  1. 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 >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. How do changes in capital stock illustrate the overall health of a company?

    Understand what capital stock is comprised of. Learn how changes in capital stock illustrate and provide insight into the ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Financial Advisor

    Study Does Not End After The CFA

    Getting your CFA is an admirable achievement, but it doesn't end there. Find out what is expected of CFAs after they become charterholders.
  2. Personal Finance

    Is the CFA Useful for Corporate Finance?

    The CFA is useful for some job functions, but an MBA may better suit younger workers.
  3. 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.
  4. Personal Finance

    Portfolio Manager: Career Path & Qualifications

    Learn about the basic requirements for getting hired as a portfolio manager, and discover how most professionals in the field rise into the position.
  5. Financial Advisor

    So, You Want to Earn Your CFA?

    Here are some pros and cons to consider before you take the CFA charter plunge.
  6. 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.
  7. Financial Advisor

    What Is A CFA?

    CFA stands for "chartered financial analyst." Find out what this designation does and doesn't say about the person holding it.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Financial Advisor

    How to Become a Financial Analyst

    A career as a financial analyst requires preparation and hard work, but the payoff can be especially rewarding. Here's what it takes.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Investment Analyst

    An investment analyst is a financial professional with expertise ...
  2. Chartered Bank

    A financial institution whose primary roles are to accept and ...
  3. Security Analyst

    A financial professional who studies various industries and companies, ...
  4. CFA Institute

    Formerly known as the Association for Investment Management and ...
  5. Money Manager

    A business or bank responsible for managing the securities portfolio ...
  6. Chartered Accountant - CA

    An accounting designation given to accounting professionals in ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Nostro Account

    A bank account held in a foreign country by a domestic bank, denominated in the currency of that country. Nostro accounts ...
  2. Retirement Planning

    Retirement planning is the process of determining retirement income goals and the actions and decisions necessary to achieve ...
  3. Drawdown

    The peak-to-trough decline during a specific record period of an investment, fund or commodity. A drawdown is usually quoted ...
  4. Inverse Transaction

    A transaction that can cancel out a forward contract that has the same value date.
  5. Redemption

    The return of an investor's principal in a fixed income security, such as a preferred stock or bond; or the sale of units ...
  6. Solvency

    The ability of a company to meet its long-term financial obligations. Solvency is essential to staying in business, but a ...
Trading Center