The types of positions that a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is likely to fill include any position that deals with large-scale wealth management, financial analysis, or complex accounting.
According to the CFA Institute’s June 2019 Survey of Candidates for the Program, the top positions held by charter holders are: 16% are portfolio managers, 12% are CEOs / CIOs / CFOs, 9% are research / investment analysts, 7% are consultants, 7% are financial advisers / asset managers, 5% are risk analysts / managers, 5% are corporate financial analysts, 4% are relationship managers / account managers, 3% are credit analysts, 3% are investment consultants, 3% are investment strategists, 3% are managers of managers, and the rest hold various other positions in finance and investing. The June 2019 survey was used due to the postponement of the 2020 CFA exams due to the global pandemic.
It is easy to see from the percentage breakdown that the most common types of positions held by CFA charter holders include jobs that require high levels of investment decision making. A large number of CFA charter holders hold various jobs in the investment banking industry and manage a large number of assets. Big banks such as Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch tend to be good examples of the specific types of businesses that hire CFA charter holders.
While the best situation with regard to a CFA designation is to pass all three levels and become a charter holder, it is possible to reap benefits by simply passing the Level I or Level II exams. If a candidate has passed the Level I and II exams but has not yet passed Level III to become a charter holder, it is still possible to hold the jobs listed above. The most common types of jobs for candidates who have passed the Level I or Level II exam are in asset management, stocks, fixed income, or hedge funds.
Arden Rodgers, CFA
Arbus Capital Management, LLC, New York, NY
The CFA charter is recognized around the world as the gold standard in the financial sector. It prepares you for a range of positions within the industry.
Passing the three levels of exams and obtaining the charter is not easy. The exams themselves are difficult and their preparation requires a significant commitment of time and effort over several years.
I think it’s worth it. Being a CFA charter holder demonstrates to potential employers that you are disciplined, analytical, intelligent, and that you have promised to adhere to a strict code of ethics. But there is no guarantee of employment if you are successful.
The CFA Institute’s website is packed with information about the program itself and careers in the industry. I highly recommend pursuing the CFA charter.