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CFA Institute

Chartered Financial Analyst, or “CFA”, is a graduate-level designation awarded by the governing board of the CFA Institute, a non-profit organization committed to promoting the highest academic and ethical standards for investment professionals across the globe.

The CFA designation is awarded to college graduates who successfully complete three, six-hour exams in three years and meet other requirements.  Each examination requires 250 hours of study and preparation.  The award requires four years of work experience in an investment decision-making position.  To use the designation, candidates must fulfill membership requirements of the CFA Institute and commit to uphold the Institute’s stringent Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct standards.
 
Proposed in 1942 by Benjamin Graham, the CFA designation is recognized as the “Gold Standard” among investment analysis designations across the world by The Economist magazine.  Charterholders have in-depth analytical skills in investment analyses, asset valuation, and portfolio management.

CFA Society of St. Louis

The CFA Society of St. Louis is a professional society of local investment professionals. The Society promotes ethical and professional standards within the investment industry, encourages professional development through the CFA® Program and continuing education.

Eidelman Virant Capital's CFA Charterholders include:

• David R. Eidelman, CFA
• Thomas A. Eidelman, CFA

CFA Designation

CFA LogoThe Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) designation is a globally recognized standard for measuring the competence and integrity of investment professionals.

The CFA designation demonstrates a balanced approach to investments, academic discipline, and practical experience that is unique in the investment industry. Employers know that individuals who have earned a CFA charter have attained a superior level of professional excellence in the investment profession. Investors know that CFA charterholders are qualified to assist them in making informed investment decisions.

First awarded in 1963, employers and investors recognize the CFA designation as the definitive standard for measuring competence and integrity in the fields of portfolio management and investment analysis.

Virtually no other designation within the profession of investment management carries as much prestige as the CFA charter. That prestige is accompanied by the responsibility to uphold ethical standards that are as much a part of holding the CFA designation as passing the examinations. The program’s professional conduct requirements demand that both charterholders and CFA candidates adhere to the highest standards of ethical responsibility. Adherence to these standards distinguishes the CFA charter among professional credentials.

Why a CFA Charter is Important

Experienced investors recognize the importance of education and knowledge when it comes to managing financial assets. While they may spend hours learning about markets, securities, and risks, investors often overlook the qualifications of the professionals whom they hire to manage their money.  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 designation.

In the late 1940s, Benjamin Graham, often called the “dean of investment analysis,” first proposed a “Qualified Securities Analyst” designation for members of the growing investment profession. After much work from Graham and other dedicated professionals, the first CFA exam was administered in 1963 to 284 candidates, most of them senior-level practitioners.

The backbone of the CFA Program is a three-level examination that measures not only a candidate’s understanding of a multi-disciplinary base of knowledge, but also the ability to apply it 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 its history. 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 (both institutional and individual, including performance measurement). Importantly, each examination includes a thorough section testing knowledge and application of ethical and professional standards.

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) has dropped from over 90 percent in the 1960s to the 60 to 70 percent range in the 1970s and 1980s to under 50 percent in 2003.

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.

The integrity of investment advisors is of the utmost importance. Their skills and advice directly impact the financial well-being of their clients. That is why 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.

Eidelman Virant Capital has adopted the CFA Institute's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

To learn more about the CFA Institute or the CFA designation please go to www.cfainstitute.org.