Getting the CFA charter may be a gruelling process, however, the benefits you reap at the end of the journey will make you realize that it was all worth it. All the wavering thoughts before taking up the CFA exam will turn out to be a self-fulfilling decision. You may experience sleepless nights, lose weekend fun with family/friends and make many other sacrifices just to create a few more hours of preparation time. All these sacrifices are completely forgotten after you get the CFA charter, as a whole new world full of opportunities opens up before you.
Before we go on to explore the benefits of being a CFA charter, let’s just give a brief look at what is required to attain the charter. A CFA candidate needs to pass all three levels of the program and complete the required work experience to obtain the prestigious CFA “Charter”. Level 1 examination is held in December and June. Level 2 and 3 examinations are only conducted in June. Without completing the required 48 months of work experience, you cannot obtain the “Charter” designation.
Below are the main benefits of being a CFA Charterholder. These benefits are listed to serve as a motivation to work towards attaining a CFA qualification.
1. Your CV will stand out:
Other than the educational benefit that an individual gets from the CFA curriculum, the qualification and charter stand out clearly on the CV, since not many can claim to be one.
2. More time and cost-effective than an MBA program:
On one hand, getting a CFA qualification is certainly valuable to any professional who wants to get into the investment banking environment. On another, it is also more effective to an individual who does not have the time or the resources to go through a full-time MBA program in a top-tier university. Granted that it is difficult to equate both courses, there are certain career paths where getting the CFA Charter is definitely more beneficial than an MBA, including those in investment banking, portfolio management, stock broking, etc.
3. Instant Credibility and Industry Respect:
CFA is known to be the most prestigious and valued qualification in the finance and investment industry. People widely understand and know the intense process that candidates need to go through before getting the charter. This makes it easier when stepping into the industry, as CFA charter holders gain instant recognition and respect, making it easier for them to take up interesting roles or positions. Quoting Financial Times on the credibility of attaining a CFA: “Among the countless finance degrees around the world, the Chartered Financial Analyst qualification has become the gold standard.
4. Networking opportunities for a faster career growth:
The charter holders and CFA societies present worldwide to give you access to more resources to boost your career prospects. CFA societies post job openings specifically for charter holders. Being part of these societies will not only increase your networking opportunity but also your chance of landing a dream position.
5. Better job prospects at the top investment firms:
Openings in areas such as asset management, hedge funds, fixed income, equity research etc. are more suitable to CFA charter holders. The CFA curriculum has an in-depth focus on financial modeling, portfolio management and other finance and investment related areas. Top investment firms value this knowledge base and give more preference to charter holders than other candidates from related fields.
6. The pay package is more attractive:
Having a CFA qualification and working in a company that values it will make your pay package more attractive. Work experience, however, is very important and an added asset to your CFA qualification when looking for a higher pay scale.
To avoid being left behind in the competitive finance and investments world, it is better to start off on this path early in your career, to reap the benefits of being a CFA Charter holder.