What Is The CFA Institute?

The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute is a non-profit global organization of investment professionals that offers a wide range of programs and professional training that augment the standards and ethics of the investment industry. Formerly called the Association for Investment Management and Research.

The organization helps its members in four key areas. These are programs and professional training, codes and standards, thought leadership and advocacy and professional membership and societies.

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CFA Institute Programs and Professional Training

The Institute offers three main programs for investment management professionals in all levels of experience and for all areas of specialization. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program is considered one of the highest distinctions in the investment industry. Held by more than 150,000 professionals worldwide, this is a self-study, graduate-level program divided into three levels. It is a stepping stone to becoming a CFA charter holder. The Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) credential offers two levels that cover topics such as manager selection, performance and risk evaluation and investment reports. The CFA Institute Investment Foundations Program is designed for professionals outside of the investment industry and covers topics such as the essentials of finance, ethics and investment roles.

Codes and Standards

One of the key areas of operation for the CFA Institute is the development of ethical codes and standards for the investment industry that helps professionals operate in a manner that places clients first. All members and candidates are expected to uphold these codes. The professional code of conduct also outlines disciplinary procedures for violations. Other guidelines issued include:

  • Global Investment Performance Standards
  • Asset Manager Code
  • Pension Trustee Code
  • Endowments Code of Conduct
  • Analyst Issuer Guidelines
  • Soft Dollar Standards for Client Brokerage
  • Research Objectivity Standards
  • Trade Management Guidelines

Thought Leadership and Advocacy

Research and analysis that results in new insight on how to do business in the investment industry is another important facet of the CFA Institute. The organization provides several different resources that members can access to educate themselvs informally on industry trends. Members can read articles from the Financial Analysts Journal or find in-depth research on current issues from the organization’s Research Foundation. An advisory council and a content council also shapes thought on the future of the finance industry.

Professional Membership and Societies

When professionals join this organization, they become part of a society that has more than 150,000 members in over 165 countries. Members can interact with other professionals through local chapters. Benefits for all members include a variety of career resources such as a career center where one can search for jobs and contact employers, personalized career coaching and a host of career-related videos and webinars on finance, economics investment strategies and client relationships. Members also get access to a smartphone app and exclusive members-only pricing for seminars and related events.

Becoming a member of the CFA Institute can help benefit students and new graduates greatly by helping them to succeed in the global financial investment industry. The resources provided by this organization help professionals stay on top of current trends and help them advance.