Becoming A CFA Charterholder: Everything You Need To Know with Anthony Munchak, CFA
Anyone working in finance knows how valuable being a CFA Charterholder can be. As the primary designation that measures and certifies the integrity and competence of financial analysts, it isn’t a certification that should be taken lightly. As someone who has also earned a BS degree and an MS degree in Finance, Anthony Munchak cannot stress the importance of the certification enough. If you’re interested in becoming a CFA Charterholder, Anthony Munchak is going to outline everything you need to know, from criteria and exams to reference letters.
What is a CFA?
A CFA (a chartered financial analyst) is a globally recognized professional designation given by the CFA Institute. Anthony Munchak explains that the CFA charter is one of the most respected designations in finance and is widely considered to be the gold standard in the field of investment analysis. As of 2020, there were more than 167,000 CFA Charterholders worldwide in over 164 countries and regions.
Passing the Exam
The first thing you need to do to become a CFA Charter holder is to pass the CFA exams. In order to take the test and become a CFA candidate, you need to enroll in CFA Program and register for the Level I exam. However, this requires you to meet certain enrollment criteria. Anthony Munchak explains that you need to have either a Bachelor’s Degree or be a final-year student, and have at least four years of relevant professional working experience. You will also need: an international travel passport, be prepared to take the exams in English, meet professional conduct admission criteria, and live in a participating country.
The CFA Program contains three levels of curriculum, each with its own exam, that have to be completed in sequential order. Anthony Munchak explains that passing the exam for all three levels is a requirement to obtain the CFA Charterholder designation. He claims that it requires strong discipline and an extensive amount of studying — each exam typically requires candidates to study in excess of 300 hours. The three exams can be taken once a year in June, with the exception of Level I which can be taken in December as well. The format is 240 multiple choice questions that needs to be completed within 6 hours. Additionally, the exams are not easy; according to the CFA Institute, only 43% passed the first level exam in June 2018.
The work experience requirements can be completed before, during, or after participation in the CFA Program. The experience you achieve must be directly involved with the investment decision-making process or producing a work product that performs or adds value to that process. In addition, you will need to have 2 or 3 professional references.
Once you become certified, you will have to pay annual membership dues, however they are negligible compared to the benefits of the certification. Anthony Munchak explains that there are innumerable benefits to becoming a CFA Charterholder. First and foremost, you gain the educational benefit of the courses and are able to add it to your CV. As the investment industry becomes more competitive, being a CFA Charterholder becomes an incredible asset. Being a CFA Charterholder also allows you to gain international mobility as it is recognized from Asia to Europe and North America.