Getting the 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® Program 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 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 candidate needs to pass all three levels of the program and complete the required work experience to obtain the prestigious CFA® charter. Level I 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® charter
These benefits are listed to serve as a motivation to work towards attaining the qualification.
1. Your CV will stand out:
Other than the educational benefit that an individual gets from the curriculum, the qualification and charter stand out clearly on the CV, since not many can claim to be one.
2. Work experience has given due weight-age:
It is one of the few degrees that also takes into consideration your work experience while granting you the charter. This is to ascertain that your knowledge is not just bookish but also have exposure to the relevant roles in equity research, investment banking or any related field. Having a CFA® designation on your resume immediately convinces employers of not only your in-depth knowledge but also your experience in handling challenging roles.
3. More time and cost-effective than an MBA program:
On one hand, getting a CFA® designation 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® designation is definitely more beneficial than an MBA, including those in investment banking, portfolio management, stock broking, etc.
4. Exposure to a variety of roles in finance
CFA® Program is not just limited to investment banking and equity research, but plenty of other profiles as well. Today, be it Fintech, Foreign Exchange, Alternative Investments or other offbeat profiles, The charters are the most preferred options for employers. Having gone through a rigorous syllabus, charters are quite well prepared for all kinds of demanding profiles.
5. Instant Credibility and Industry Respect:
The charter 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 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.
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6) Abreast with the latest knowledge: Knowledge plays an important role, as the finance professional must be aware of the relevant accounting and corporate laws in the particular country. In case of transactions with foreign clients, he has to understand foreign accounting rules and regulations. Also, tax laws keep on updating periodically, hence, the finance professional must keep himself abreast with the latest knowledge.
6. Networking opportunities for faster career growth:
The charter holders and CFA Society® present worldwide to give you access to more resources to boost your career prospects.
CFA Society® 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.
7. 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 these charter holders. The CFA® Program curriculum has an in-depth focus on financial modelling, 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.
8. Prepares you for a global career in finance:
The designation is one of the most preferred gateways for a global career in finance. The worldwide recognition of the designation is so strong that when it comes to making an impact overseas, the financial analyst is the best option. The curriculum of this course gives extensive coverage of global markets and offers the best preparation for a wide spectrum of international profiles in finance.
9. The pay package is more attractive:
Having a CFA® designation 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 qualification when looking for a higher pay scale.
10. All set to include Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in the curriculum
In today’s world, no profession is complete without the inclusion of Big Data or analytics. Realizing the importance of these new age tools, CFA Institute plans to include questions on Big data, robot advisory and artificial intelligence. This will prepare the charterholders for any kind of technology disruptions or automation in the future. This will also help candidates to stay in tune with the latest trends and land jobs with better remunerations.
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® charterholder.
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