DEFINITION of 'CFA Institute'

Formerly known as the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR), CFA Institute is an international organization comprised of more than 70,000 members who hold the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation or are otherwise bound by its rules. Its primary mandate is to specify and maintain a high standard for the investment industry.


CFA Institute has active members in most countries. It is guided by a board of governors comprised of 20 board members, most of whom are elected by the institute's members for three-year terms. The Institute has major offices in the United States, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, and it produces industry guidelines such as the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS).

The mission of CFA Institute is to promote the highest standards of ethics, education and professional excellence in the global investment industry. The Institute aspires to serve financial professionals by providing education, professional development and networking opportunities. It also aims to be a global leader in investment ethics, industry practice and capital market integrity.

CFA Institute has created and maintains the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, which is an ethical benchmark for investment professionals around the world, regardless of their specific jobs within the industry. Institute members and CFA charterholders and candidates are required to adhere to this document throughout their careers. Beyond monitoring and updating this standard of conduct and behavior for investment professionals, CFA Institute also works to shape and influence public policy and industry practice to put investors' interests first.

Designations Offered

Besides the industry work the Institute does, it also offers education programs resulting in various designations. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation is its most popular and widely recognized. The CFA Program provides a strong foundation in portfolio management and investment analysis skills. The CFA charter is the professional standard of choice for over 31,000 investment firms worldwide. The designation requires candidates to pass three successive examinations that cover ethical and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting, corporate finance, equity, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments and portfolio management.

Another designation offered by CFA Institute is the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM), which is designed to give candidates the practice-based investment performance and risk evaluation skills that are globally relevant. The program covers ethics and reporting standards, manager selection, appraisal, attribution and measurement.

The Institute also has the Investment Foundations Program, which covers the essentials of investment roles, finance and ethics. The self-study program is designed to benefit people who work for or in investment and financial services companies, such as sales and marketing professionals, human resources, or information technology professionals.

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