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Your CFA® charter Work Experience Requirements

Posted on March 1, 2015 1:52 pm;

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To attain your CFA® charter you will need four years (48 months) of professional experience. Read on for Morgan’s handy guide to what exactly this means.

What kind of work?

Your professional experience must be related to the financial industry, and must be full time. You can earn it before, after, or during your participation in the CFA® Program, but it is essential for you to qualify for the charter. The charter requires that your experience takes place in a professional environment and below is a rough guide to what is allowed.

Take a look at just some of the job titles often held by CFA Institute members.

Client service representative
Compliance analyst/officer
Corporate chief financial officer
Corporate finance analyst
Credit analyst
Derivatives analyst
Financial adviser
Financial journalist/editor
Institutional sales professional/business development
Investment banking analyst
Investment consultant
Investment strategist
Investor relations
Mutual fund sales
Portfolio administrator
Performance Analyst
Portfolio manager
Private client investment adviser
Product/software developer
Quantitative investment or risk analyst
Real estate investment manager
Relationship manager
Research Analyst
Securities trader
Securities underwriter
Security/investment analyst
Supervisor of investment firm
Treasury Analyst
Valuator of closely held business
Venture capital analyst


Note: In any of these roles at least 50% of your time must have been spent directly involved in the investment decision-making process.

How to describe it

You will need to supply details about your work experience to the CFA Institute and attest that your duties in each of your roles qualify. For this, you should provide some detail beyond the job title. You can continually save and update your record until you submit your application to the CFA Institute.

Make sure you only enter relevant positions that qualify. If you are not sure, use CFA Institute’s work experience self-assessment tool to help you decide.

Let’s look at an example of how much detail is required. Imagine your job title is “Consultant Management”. For the description, it is not enough to say something like “consulting for the financial services industry”. Instead you should include the types of clients you serve, what types of products you recommend to clients, how your efforts add value to the investment decision-making process, and any independent analysis you perform.

The ideal description therefore would be more along the lines of: “I am a management consultant to the financial services industry, working with risk management functions, assisting clients in developing and refining statistically based credit risk models covering a diverse range of portfolios”.

Think about references

CFA Institute membership requires that you also supply professional references who can confirm your role in the investment decision-making process. You will need to find three, or, if one of these is a regular member of the society to which you are applying then two will suffice. A reference from a supervisor in any of your roles is always preferred. Your references will be asked to advise on your work experience and professional character; you will be asked to send them instructions as part of your application.

Membership Application

When it’s time to apply, make sure your contact information is up to date. If the CFA Institute has any queries they will try to contact you by phone or email. Application updates will also be sent by email. The entire process should take several weeks for review and approval.

Got questions? Contact a Morgan to help guide you through the process, we’re always happy to help!

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