In September 2022, the CFA Institute released some important program updates and changes in the curriculum from 2023 onwards.
The revised curriculum applies to all students who will be appearing for the CFA exams in 2023. Every year, the CFA Institute takes a survey of investment professionals about the kind of skills and knowledge they need for their jobs and how the industry is evolving.
The institute uses the findings of the survey to update the CFA program and curriculum. In this way, CFA candidates are tested on the most up-to-date concepts and learn the most relevant information essential for a bright career in finance and investment.
Along with the updated curriculum, the CFA Institute has also released other updates like eligibility extension, optional practice pack, practical skill module and a few other changes in March 2023. All these changes are meant to help candidates in their preparation and will be applicable from 2024 onwards.
This blog will throw light on all the curriculum changes and updates for CFA in 2023.
The CFA Institute has extended the CFA program eligibility by one year. This means that university students who have two years remaining in their undergraduate program can now start their CFA preparation.
Earlier, students in their third year of the undergraduate program were eligible to appear for the CFA level 1 exam. Now with the extended eligibility, even those students in their second or penultimate year can appear for CFA Level 1 exam.
Say for example you are in the first year of your B.Com/BBA/BAF and you want topursue CFA. Now you don’t need to wait for your final year to take the CFA Level 1 exam. You can start preparing for the Level 1 of CFA Program in your first year & take the Level 1 Exam in the 2nd year of your graduation. This means that by the time you complete your graduation, you will already be preparing for the Level 3 of the CFA Program.
If you’re pursuing a finance-related degree, you are well-equipped to handle the more advanced CFA curriculum. The extended eligibility policy enables students to demonstrate their commitment to a career in the investment field.
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Practical Skills Module
The CFA program will now include practical and hands-on skill training that can be useful to candidates in their jobs. A typical Practical skill module (PSM) will be a combination of video, MCQs and case studies.
Candidates will have to complete at least 1 Practical Skill module at each level. They can choose the PSM topic after registration, but the module must be completed before the results are released. It will take 10-15 hours to complete each module.
For Level 1, the PSM module will be applicable from the February 2024 exam and for Level 2 candidates from the August 2024 exam. For Level 3, the PSM module will be added from 2025 onwards.
Here are the topics covered in PSM for each level:
- Financial Modeling
- Python Programming Fundamentals
- Python Programming Fundamentals
- Analyst Skills
- Python, Data Science and AI
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Optional Practice Pack
The CFA Institute has identified 3 key elements that lead to success in CFA exams.
- A long study plan
- Attempting a high number of practice problems
- Completing several mock exams
Supplementing your study with practice and regularly giving mock exams increases your chances of passing by 2 times.
To help candidates prepare better, CFA Institute is now offering a Level I Practice Pack which includes an additional 1,000 practice questions and six mock exams in addition to the study materials already provided upon registration. As of now, this optional practice pack is only available for Level 1.
Level 3 Specialized Pathways
In April 2021, the CFA Institute conducted two analyses – a job role analysis and a market analysis – to determine which job role sectors to focus on for specialized pathways. Two sectors emerged – Private wealth and private markets.
Starting from the 2025 Level III exams, CFA Institute will offer three pathways for candidates to choose from: Private Wealth, Private Markets, and Portfolio Management. Each pathway will have a “common core” curriculum at Level III, supplemented by specialized content related to the chosen pathway. Candidates can choose any one pathway that aligns with their interests and career aspirations. The pathway is to be chosen at the time of registration.
Digital Badges for Level 1 & Level 2
While the goal of the CFA program is to become a charter holder, however, there are a few significant achievements along the journey. To acknowledge these achievements, the CFA Institute has decided to improve its recognition strategy for candidates who have completed level 1 and level 2 of the program.
The Institute will introduce digital badges in 2023 to acknowledge the achievements of candidates, which will be easily verifiable by employers and colleagues. The digital badges will help to increase the visibility and value of progress through the Program and show the market that completing Levels I and II is a significant accomplishment, demonstrating a candidate’s commitment to the industry, learned skills, professionalism, and ethical practices
The CFA Institute has found that most Level I candidates already have a good understanding of basic financial concepts from their university studies or previous work experience. So, they have decided to move some of this content out of the Level I curriculum and provide it separately as reference material for registered candidates. This will free up more time in the exam for more advanced practice concepts and new practical skills modules.
Topics like the time value of money, basic statistics, microeconomics, and introduction to company accounts have been moved to pre-read. However, candidates who still need to learn these basic concepts can access them as companion pre-read materials at no extra cost. All these changes to the level 1 curriculum will be applicable from February 2024 exams.
2023 CFA Level 1 Changes in Curriculum
There are 73 learning modules in the 2023 Level 1 Curriculum, an increase of 13 modules from 2022.
For the 2023 CFA Level 1 curriculum, here are some major changes:
- The Corporate Issuers topic area has been updated and expanded to provide more comprehensive coverage of modern business practices.
- In the Derivatives and Alternative Investment topics, changes have been made to their structure. They are now divided into 10 and 3 learning modules, respectively.
Here are the 3 learning modules (1 in Economics and 2 in Corporate Issuers) added:
- Introduction to Geopolitics is a brand new module that reflects a new line of knowledge for CFA candidates. This module is structured as a learning module and includes assessments within the new content.
- Corporate Structures and Ownership, cover the different organisational forms used in the finance industry. While it focuses on corporate structure, it also includes information on general partner and limited partner structures used in alternative investments.
- Business Models explores what a business model is and how it relates to financial modelling. It also covers alternative business models within an industry and the risks associated with different models.
4 learning models (all from Corporate Issuers) are significantly revised:
- Capital Investments
- Working Capital
- Introduction to Corporate Governance & Other ESG Considerations
- Capital Structure
The content has been revised to a learning module structure with a focus on Learning Ecosystem (LES) approach. This means that the modules have been designed with a focus on using visual aids, realistic examples, and expert demonstrations, and each module can be completed in an evening of study. The modules also include formative assessments to help candidates practice and retain their skills.
You can visit the CFA website to know more about the updated 2023 CFA Level 1 Curriculum.
2023 CFA Level 2 Changes in Curriculum
There are 49 learning modules in the 2023 Level 2 Curriculum as opposed to 47 in the 2022.
From the 2022 curriculum, 5 readings were omitted:
- Introduction to Linear Regression
- Capital Structure
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Capital Budgeting
- Return Concepts
1 new model was added:
- Cost of Capital: Advanced Topics
6 modules are updated:
- The Multiple regression content has been updated and split into four learning modules. The new modules are now investment-focused and contain relevant datasets.
- A “Financial Statement Modeling” reading has replaced “Industry and Company Analysis,” introducing financial modelling in the LES and providing additional content on behavioural biases in forecasting.
- “Cost of Capital: Advanced Topics” replaces the previous “Return Concepts” reading
- “Corporate Restructuring” replaces “Mergers & Acquisitions” and it now focuses on corporate restructuring and how to model all types of corporate restructuring using expanded spreadsheet modelling coverage.
- Three integrated modules have been added that cover various topics in Real Estate such as investments through private vehicles and publicly traded securities, consolidating and replacing the material in the previous two real estate readings.
- Finally, “Application of the Code and Standards” includes a new vignette that ensures complete coverage of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.
You can also visit the official CFA institute website to know more about the updated CFA Level 2 curriculum 2023.
2023 CFA Level 3 Curriculum
The CFA institute has made no changes in the Level 3 curriculum for 2023. The content stays the same as that of 2022.
There are 35 readings in the 2023 CFA Level 3 curriculum. Below are some minor amendments to CFA Level 3 curriculum:
5 new readings were removed:
- The Behavioural Finance Perspective
- Concentrated Single-Asset Positions
- Professionalism in Investment Management
- Taxes and Private Wealth Management in a Global Context
- Estate Planning in a Global Context
2 new readings were added:
- Case Study in Risk Management: Institutional
- Topics in Private Wealth Management
You can visit the official CFA institute website to know about the CFA Level 3 curriculum.
Changes Applicable From 2024 Onwards
- Starting in 2023, when registration opens up for February 2024 exams, Level 1 candidates will have the opportunity to purchase an optional practice pack that includes 1000 practice and six mock tests.
- The Practical skill module (PSM) will be added for Level 1 candidates beginning from February 2024 exams and for Level 2 candidates from August 2024. PSMs in Level 3 will be added from 2025 onwards.
- The CFA Level 1 curriculum will be updated from 2024 onwards. This will be done with a focus to maximise learning and keep study time at par to 300 hours per level. Topics like the time value of money, basic statistics, microeconomics, and introduction to company accounts will be available to candidates as pre-reads at no extra cost.
If you want to have a bright career in the world of finance and investments, a CFA will be the right headstart. To ace your CFA exams, you can learn from the best in the business!
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