Guidance for Standard VII – Responsibilities of a CFA Institute Member or CFA Candidate

This standard has two parts:

  1. Conduct as Members and Candidates in the CFA Program
  2. Reference to CFA Institute, the CFA Designation, and the CFA Program

A. Conduct as Members and Candidates in the CFA Program

This standard states that the members must not engage in activity that affects the reputation of the CFA institute, designation, or exam.

The activities include but are not limited to:

  • Cheating or helping others in the exam. An example is when a student writes difficult formulas on his palm before coming for the exam.
  • Disregarding the rules and policies of the CFA program. An example is when a student continues to write his answers even when the exam timing is over and the exam administrator has announced that all candidates must stop writing.
  • Providing confidential information about the exam or CFA program to other candidates or public. This includes information such as specific details of questions that appeared in the exam, or details of topics that weren’t tested, or the relative weightings of topics on the exam.
  • Disregarding or not circumventing security measures in the CFA exam
  • Using the CFA designation inappropriately
  • Using the association with CFA institute inappropriately for personal for professional gains.
  • Misrepresenting information to CFA Institute. This includes information in Professional Conduct Statement, Continuing Education Program, etc.

B. Reference to CFA Institute, the CFA Designation, and the CFA Program

This standard states that while referring to CFA Institute, membership, designation, or candidacy, the members and candidates should not exaggerate or misrepresent the meaning or implication of the membership, designation, or candidacy in the CFA program.


  • The members must sign PCS annually and pay CFA Institute membership fee dues annually to maintain their membership. Failure to comply will result in an inactive member status.
  • The members should use the marks “Chartered Financial Analyst” or “CFA” in a manner that does not misrepresent or exaggerate the meaning or implications of holding the CFA designation.
  • Candidates may reference participation in CFA program, but should not imply achievement of any type of partial designation. It is fine to say “passed all levels on first attempt,” but should not imply superior ability to perform.
  • The “Chartered Financial Analyst” and “CFA” marks must be used either after name or as adjectives, but not as nouns.


Example 1: David Jones, CFA is the correct representation, while David Jones, C.F.A. is incorrect. Even the use in small letters such as cfa is incorrect.  A person may use the expanded form such as Chartered Financial Analyst. The designation should not be given more prominence; for example, it cannot be bolder or larger in size than the name.

Example 2: The CFA candidates should clearly mention what stage they are in without any exaggeration or guesses. For example, if a candidate has passed Level I exam, he can mention in his resume “Passed Level I of the CFA examination in 2013″. He can’t just say “CFA Level I”, or he can’t say that he’s expecting a degree soon.

Example 3: You can’t say in any way that because you’re a CFA charter holder, you will perform better than others.

Examples of appropriate use of the designation:

  • "I am a CFA charterholder."
  • “I earned the CFA designation 5 years ago.” 
  • “Level 3 candidate in CFA program”

Examples of inappropriate use of the designation:

  • "I am a CFA." – This is incorrect as you cannot use the designation as a noun.
  •  Stephan CFA's, Inc.
  • "Susan Poston, MBA, CFA” on a resume
  • “Gregory Palmer, CFA Level 2”

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