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Educational Information

What Is A CFA?

Pinnacle Investment Management
Greystone Court
573 Hopmeadow Street
Simsbury, CT 06070
Phone: 860.651.1716

Chartered Financial Analyst


There are a number of reputable and helpful credentials that financial
professionals in different disciplines may hold, but none is as rigorously
focused on investment knowledge as the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®)

The backbone of the CFA program is a three-level examination that measures
not only a candidate’s understanding of a multi-disciplinary, globally
relevant Body of Knowledge™, but also his or her ability to apply this
knowledge to the investment decision-making process.
A distinguishing characteristic of the program is its uncompromising emphasis
on analysis and the application of financial knowledge across core areas of
the investment process, particularly in securities valuation and portfolio
management. A relevant and evolving curriculum, rigorous examinations, and a
stringent Code of Ethics have been hallmarks of the CFA Program throughout

Knowledge and Experience

To become a CFA charterholder, a candidate must pass a series of three
practice oriented, six-hour examinations, taken in sequential levels. Average
completion time is four years. Core elements of the CFA curriculum include
investment tools (economics, financial statement analysis, quantitative
analysis), asset valuation (analysis of debt investments, equity investments,
derivatives, and alternative investments), and portfolio management.

Each of the six-hour examinations takes, on average, approximately 250
hours of intensive study and preparation. The combined pass rate (aggregated
over all three exam levels) is under 40 percent in 2004.
As rigorous as the curriculum and examinations are, the CFA program requires
more than academic preparation. Before they earn the right to use the CFA
designation, candidates must have three to four years of acceptable
professional experience in the investment decision-making process.
Additionally, they must fulfill the CFA institute membership requirements and
commit to uphold the CFA Institute stringent Code and Standards.


Every CFA charterholder, CFA Institute member, and CFA candidate is
required to sign an annual statement declaring their adherence to the CFA
Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.
The Code and Standards require them to act with integrity, practice in a
professional and ethical manner, exercise independent professional judgment,
and put client interests before their own.
CFA Institute investigates all allegations of violations of the Code and
Standards, whether self disclosed by the CFA charterholder or raised by an
investor or fellow investment professional. Those who are found to have
violated the Code and Standards, or who fail to divulge formal complaints as
required in the annual CFA Institute Professional Conduct Statement, are
subject to disciplinary sanctions from CFA Institute. Sanctions can range from
private censure up to and including losing membership in CFA Institute and the
right to use the CFA designation.

Additional information may be found at

Excerpts taken from a CFA Institute publication.