CFA: Career Opportunities

If you are in the investment industry, and a CFA the chances of you having a growing lucrative career are high. The CFA degree is considered a real asset for anyone who wants to be part of the money management industry. A CFA charter is understood to have the highest professional and ethical standards in the financial industry. It is proving to be the one standard money managers, corporate financers and equity analysts are seeking to have from Bangalore to New York City. Let us look at some of the careers a CFA could pursue.

Banks and Insurance companies look at CFA from the sell side perspective. Here CFAs scout for investment opportunities for the firm’s clients. They may also oversee capital raising for investment bank clients.

CFAs in the role of money managers, brokers and mutual fund managers work in the buy side. Here they manage a client’s funds for greater returns. CFAs who work in asset management companies undertake portfolio analysis and look to boost and manage client assets.

CFAs can also pursue a career as hedge fund managers. They can work as sector hedge fund managers who use their knowledge to invest in a particular sector. For example, real estate investments fund. Here the CFA would be analyzing trends, new growth areas and emerging markets.

As on Sept 2010, there were 91, 779 charter holders worldwide. The chart below below gives a break-up of charter holders from different financial roles.


Portfolio Managers, Research Analysts and Chief Level Executives top the list of professions taking the CFA exam. Top employers included Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, RBC, UBS and Wells Fargo.

Today having the CFA charter helps open doors and keeps it open. This robust program helps finance professional’s keep a high level of integrity and trust.

It doesn’t matter if you are from an Ivy League college or studied at a local college. The CFA exam expects depth of understanding and to be a charter holder you need to pass the three levels. It helps change roles within the finance domain. The CFA course has material from the institute and from several top rated companies, but the student needs to drive her way through the coursework. Earning the CFA charter is not for the faint hearted. While having it doesn’t mean a great career opening, it does tell prospective employers that you are hardworking, persistent, and ethical and technically sound for the role of a financial analyst.