The types of positions that a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is likely to hold include any position that deals with large scale wealth management, financial analysis or complex accounting.
According to the CFA Institute, the top positions that charterholders have are as follows: 16% are portfolio managers, 12% are CEOs/CIOs/CFOs, 9% are research/investment analysts, 7% are consultants, 7% are financial advisors/wealth managers, 5% are risk analysts/managers, 5% are corporate financial analysts, 4% are relationship managers/account managers, 3% are credit analysts, 3% are investment consultants, 3% are investment strategists, 3% are manager of managers, and the remaining are in a variety of other finance and investment roles.
It's easy to see by the percentage breakdown that the most common types of positions that CFA charterholders hold include jobs that demand high levels of investment decision making. A large number of CFA charterholders hold various jobs in the investment banking industry and manage a large amount of assets. Large banks such as Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch tend to be good examples of the specific types of companies that hire CFA charterholders.
Although the best situation in regards to a CFA designation is to pass all three levels and become a charterholder, it's possible to reap benefits by simply passing the level I or level II exams. If a candidate has passed the level I and II exams but has not yet passed level III to become a charterholder, it's still possible to work at the jobs listed above. The most common types of jobs for candidates who have passed exam level I or II are in asset management, equities, fixed income or hedge funds.
Arden Rodgers, CFA
Arbus Capital Management, LLC, New York, NY
The CFA charter is recognized worldwide as the gold standard in the financial industry. It prepares you for a range of positions within the industry.
Passing the three levels of exams and obtaining the charter isn’t easy. The exams themselves are challenging and preparing for them requires a significant commitment of time and effort over multiple years.
I think it’s well worth it. Being a CFA charterholder demonstrates to potential employers that you are disciplined, analytical, intelligent and have promised to adhere to a strict code of ethics. But there is no guarantee of a job if you pass.
The CFA Institute’s website has a wealth of information regarding the program itself and careers in the industry. I highly recommend pursuing the CFA charter.