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What does a Chartered Financial Analyst do?

A chartered financial analyst (CFA) helps businesses and individuals make educated decisions on how to best invest their money. They are financial analysts that have successfully completed the CFA Program from the CFA Institute, a rigorous program that requires hundreds of hours of study and the mastering of several different areas, including accounting, economics, asset valuation, portfolio management, securities analysis, corporate finance and financial markets. After earning certification through the CFA Institute, a chartered financial analyst has obtained licensing through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Most financial analysts receive their certification through the course of their career. Employers do not typically expect you to have this distinction as a new hire.

Different Kinds of Chartered Financial Analysts

There are several different kinds of financial analysts, including investments analysts, securities analysts and ratings analysts. Chartered financial analysts are divided into two groups: those who conduct business on the "buy" side and those who work on the "sell" side.
  • "Buy" Side
    Chartered financial analysts that work on the buy side are responsible for helping institutional investors. The analyst helps the business determine their needs and assists them in developing investment strategies.
  • "Sell" Side
    Chartered financial analysts that work on the sell side helps companies price and sell their products.
What Education or Training Do I Need To Become A Chartered Financial Analyst?

If you are pursuing an entry level financial analyst career, a bachelor's degree in a field such as accounting, economics, finance, business administration or statistics is required. In order to become a chartered financial analyst, you must complete the CFA Program from the CFA Institute. This entails a 3 part, 18 hour exam. In addition to this, many employers prefer to hire an individual that has completed a master's degree in a business-related field.

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