CFA Work Experience Requirements: A Crystal Clear Guide

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Did you know that there has been some changes to the CFA work experience guidelines that affect both CFA program enrollment criteria and CFA charter applications?

And what does ‘relevant’ work experience really mean when you’re applying for your CFA charter?

No worries, we will take you through this tangled web of mess logically so you are completely up-to-date with with the latest CFA work experience requirements.

Let’s do this.

What is the recent CFA work experience change?

CFA work experience change

The first point I want to make is that there is currently – until 3 March 2021 – a difference in work experience criteria for CFA program enrollment (4 years) vs. CFA Institute membership applications for charterholders (4,000 hours relevant work experience in at least 3 years).

From 3 March 2021, CFA Institute will update their CFA program enrollment criteria to match the current (new) CFA membership, summarized as follows:

CFA Work Experience ChangesCFA Program enrollment criteria when registering for Level 1CFA work experience requirement for CFA Institute’s regular membership
Before 3 Mar 2021– Have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent); or
– Be a final year university student; or
– Have a combination of professional work experience (can be non-investment related) and education totalling 4 years. Part-time work is excluded, full time paid internships are accepted.
CFA Institute’s regular membership work experience criteria has been updated on 1 July 2020:

– at least 4,000 hours of relevant investment-related work experience, completed in a minimum of 3 years. Full time, part-time or remote work arrangements completed before, during or after your CFA program can qualify.
From 3 Mar 2021– Have a combination of 4,000 hours of work experience (can be non-investment related) and/or higher education over a minimum of 3 sequential years. If applicable, assume 1,000 hours per year for higher education.No change from above since 1 July 2020.

CFA Institute members voted to make the regular membership work experience criteria change from 4 years to an equivalent of 4,000 hours, completed in a minimum of 36 months.

This was done mainly to promote greater inclusion of professionals who meet the high standard of membership and address the shift in work patterns of the global investment management workforce: mainly an increase in part-time professionals, flexible and remote working.

As you can see, while the common theme is 4,000 hours of work experience between the CFA enrollment and regular membership criteria, the latter requires it to be qualified, relevant work experience, whereas during CFA enrollment process, the work experience can be non-investment related.

Let’s delve into the details of what a relevant CFA work experience means when applying for your CFA charter (CFA Institute regular membership).

What is the current CFA work experience requirements for CFA charterholders?

cfa work experience requirements

After passing all 3 levels of CFA exam, you’ll need to qualify as a CFA Institute regular member for the right to use the CFA designation. For this, you’ll need 2-3 professional references and achieve the relevant work experience required.

Focusing just on the work experience requirement, you’ll need:

  1. at least 4,000 hours of relevant work experience, completed in a minimum of 3 years. These can be accrued from any previous or current position, and do not have to be continuous.
  2. relevant work experience hours must be directly related to the investment decision-making process or producing a work product that informs or adds value to that process.
  3. work experience earned through full-time, part-time, or remote work arrangements — before, during, or after your participation in the CFA Program — can qualify.

Does my work experience qualify?

CFA Work Experience Requirements: A Crystal Clear Guide 1

In other words, your work experience will be considered relevant for CFA Institute’s regular membership if:

  • It directly relates to the investment decision-making process, OR is producing a work product that informs or adds value to that investment decision-making process;
  • It is accrued before, during or after participation of the CFA program. Note that full time, part time or remote work are acceptable.
  • It is properly described in your membership application.
  • Your references support your experience.

For most people, the question comes down to whether a particular work experience is ‘investment-related’. As a guide, an ‘investment-related’ qualified work experience should involve:

  • evaluating or applying financial, economic, and/or statistical data as part of the investment decision-making process; OR
  • supervising those who do such analysis; OR
  • teaching others on how to analyze and apply the data.

Is there any way to pre-verify your work experience? Not exactly, but you can use the CFA Institute’s work experience assessment tool as a rough gauge of the relevance of a particular work experience.

That said, this tool just provides a guide to give you a better sense of the relevance of a work experience, CFA Institute would not guarantee that you’ll be accepted for membership as it ultimately depends on the work description in your membership application as well as your reference support.

And there is a technique to that, which we will discuss in the next with a couple of examples.

How to describe work experience: Some CFA work experience examples

CFA Work Experience Requirements: A Crystal Clear Guide 2

So here’s what we need to show in our work experience description for the CFA Institute regular membership application:

  • at least 4,000 hours of relevant work experience completed in a minimum of 3 years;
  • include only qualifying work experience (leave out unrelated roles);
  • how each job task you did is related to the investment decision-making process, or adds value to the process.

In your work experience description, remember to focus on the independent analysis you did and how the output of your work impacts on the investment decision-making process to show relevance.

In reality, the 4,000 hours is not the limiting factor, but the requirement of relevant work experience over at least 3 years. Here’s a simple calculation: if we assume a candidate works 50 weeks a year at just 40 hours a week, that’s 2,000 hours itself, assuming 100% of their work is relevant.

So a good place to start is looking over your last 3 years of work experience and roughly estimating what % of time of your work is qualified CFA work experience, and adding it up to see if you make the 4,000 hours. In the actual membership application form, this will be calculated for you based on the number of months you have been working in each position.

In essence, the formula for a good work description for your CFA membership application is:

1) here is what I did
2) this is who it helped
3) this is how my work product affected or added value to the investment decision making process”.

Here are a few good, short examples of qualifying CFA work experience descriptions from various sectors, which focused on explaining the independent analysis they did and how it affected or contributed to the investment decision-making process:

Work ExperienceQualifying Description
Corporate Finance (Example 1)I prepare financial models based on publicly available data to derive valuation metrics. Then evaluated investment opportunities by analyzing cash flow, NPV, and IRR of each potential target company. The result of this work is used to provide recommendations to the investment committee.
Actuary (Example 2)I perform an annual actuarial valuation process of the funded status of a define benefit (DB) pension scheme. This involves performing statistical analysis and long term projections of interest rate, inflation and demographic data, among other things. This analysis shows whether the DB scheme is in surplus or deficit, and what the characteristics of the pension liabilities are, which directly impacts the investment strategy of the pension assets.
Accounting (Example 3)I manage a team that prepares financial statements as well as evaluates the potential return on investment on corporate projects. Our analysis includes cash flow and income projections, capital outlay, net present value and payback period. This analysis forms the basis of our recommendation to senior management on whether to invest in selected property, plant, and equipment fixed assets.

What happens if your CFA work experience is rejected?

CFA Work Experience Requirements: A Crystal Clear Guide 3

Not to worry, you will have unlimited opportunities to update your work experience and resubmit your application, as you continue to gain relevant experience.

While you wait to earn your CFA charter, you can also choose to apply for a CFA Institute affiliate membership with a “charter pending” status. That way, you can still have all the benefits of a CFA Institute membership and local society networking, except the right to vote.

From there, you can work towards getting into a role where your duties directly affect the investment decision-making process. Then, reapply after reaching the minimum of 4,000 hours in 3 years requirement.

CFA work experience writing tips

CFA Work Experience Requirements: A Crystal Clear Guide 4

When submitting your work experience to the CFA Institute, keep these 7 tips in mind:

  1. Job titles alone are insufficient. Be specific about what work you did for the client, what output you generated that meets the work experience requirements above. Feel free to include the type of client or even client name (if not confidential work) to further demonstrate relevance.
  2. Only include positions that qualify. There’s no need to include everything in your CV, leave out unrelated roles.
  3. Write it like a cover letter. You have to treat your work experience application akin to writing a cover letter for a job application. Remember to highlight parts of your role to emphasize its relevance to the CFA work experience requirements.
  4. You must be helping people decide how to invest. The goal is to demonstrate that work contributes to investment-decision-making processes. You don’t have to be directly making the decisions – as long as investment decisions depend on your work in some way (e.g. your research, your analysis, your counsel), then it should be relevant.​
  5. Teaching & supervising also counts. If you’re in a full time position which teaches required skills, or supervises those who carry out relevant responsibilities, this also qualifies as relevant work experience.
  6. Part-time positions are now eligible. Work experience may be part-time. Internships with relevant work experience may also qualify.
  7. Managing your own investments does not qualify. So does running investment clubs, managing your family or friends’ investments, and so on. You need professional, paid experience, i.e. if you manage investments, it should be for paying clients.

Got any tips or experiences to share? Let us know in the comments below!

Meanwhile, here are a few related articles that may be of interest:


115 thoughts on “CFA Work Experience Requirements: A Crystal Clear Guide”

  1. Regarding the reference letter for the membership application. My supervisor will be leaving the firm and pursuing a non-finance career. And I still have 1more year of work experience to clock before. Will my (ex) supervisor still be considered as a valid referrer?

  2. Does working in Insolvency Advisory and Debt restructuring count as work experience in the 4000 hours that I need to attain my membership?

    • Yes, I don’t see why not. Again, when writing up your work experience, be sure to emphasize how your work feeds into investment (or divestment) decisions.

  3. Currently i am working as assurance associate ( audit profile) in big four, will the audit experience is counted for cfa chartered?

    • Yes, I believe so. You will have to emphasise the relevance of your audit work to informing investors and investment activity – which it does!

  4. Another question, generally speaking what information does CFAI require from a candidate’s reference? I am asking because the PMs are very busy and I would offer to write the reference. Obviously they will make any edits they deem necessary, but I cannot ask them to begin from scratch.

    • From my experience (a while ago), they just fill up an online questionnaire. From my personal experience it was quite a quick form and done quite quickly. I get the “write it up and I’ll sign it” culture, but I think CFA Institute specifically wants the reference to complete it by themselves.

  5. Hello, I am trying to confirm that my work experience qualifies and the best way to write it up for CFAI. In summary my role is a classic back to middle office role for a PE real estate investment advisor. Does anyone have any experience writing up their work experience for roles similar to mine? Below is a brief summary of some of the work that I am currently doing.

    I prepare fund financial statements and calculate returns (income/appreciation/total as well as IRRs) that are then reported to investors and the portfolio managers. I prepare schedules and review language included in the portfolio’s quarterly report. I analyze budget to actual variances to explain performance variance of certain properties. I also provide cash management projection/analysis to the PMs as well as modeled IRRs for potential property sales. I analyze property performance for earn-outs on term debt and explain to portfolio management reason for why a certain test failed or passed.

    Based on my review of the content on this blog it seems that my experience qualifies. I just want to make sure I write it up the correct way. Any suggestions are welcome.


    • That definitely sounds like relevant work experience to me. The key thing is to emphasize how this feeds into investment decisions, whether by your company, or clients, or investors.

  6. Hi there

    I work in deal advisory and focussing on technology M&A. My primary responsibilities are conducting due diligence work to
    support PE and strategic buyers in deals. Would this qualify?

  7. Hi

    Any advice on my application would be greatly appreciated.

    I have the 4000 hours (in 3 years) experience in an asset transition team where I planned and executed trades (determined strategy, minimised out of market exposure and drafted trading docs) at a fund level and then analysed the outcome (trading costs etc). From what I have read, this should qualify as relevant.

    Where I’m getting stuck is that when adding work experiences, the cfa portal asks you for the time you spent on the job (44 months) the standard hours of work (35 hours) and then “ What percentage of those hours do you spend performing activities such as evaluating or applying financial, economic, and/or statistical data as part of the investment decision-making process; supervising persons who conduct such activities; or teaching such activities?”.

    I’m a bit stumped by the last bit because I don’t deal with that much data in the same way a portfolio manager would be analysing markets etc. The data that crossed my desk was largely trading frequencies, valuation points and trading costs and I more used this rather than analysed it to plan asset transitions. Does this count and can I put 100%??

    Just don’t want to make any false representations!! I assume as long as I am detailed in my explanation of duties it would be ok?

    • I would assume your percentage is 100%. As you say, make your explanation crystal-clear in your application and it should be fine. Good luck!

  8. Hi everyone – in the comments section I see several references to a rule saying that in order for work experience to qualify, investment decision-making has to be 50% of your work hours / responsibilities. But I see no mention of this policy in CFA statements / guidelines about work experience. Can someone clarify where this came from?

    For my case — I run a non-profit, so it’s not the case that 50% of my responsibilities are related to the investment process. But as a small organization (~20 staff) I am very involved in preparing and analyzing financials, setting spending and budget priorities, etc. I have kept a detailed record of all the hours I spend working on these functions, and I think these hours would qualify in terms of the actual work, but they only amount to around 20 hours per month. Could I submit these anyway (only the hours I think would qualify – not my full work hours)?

    Another way or looking at it is, now that CFA Institute allows part-time work experience to count toward hours… how would my situation be different from doing 20 hours per month of part-time work that is 100% about the investment decision-making process?

    • Hi Zimbo2021, the reference for 50% was for an old criteria and no longer relevant. As far as I understand it, CFA Institute has updated its work experience requirements to include part time work, so your understanding should be correct and you can submit it anyway.

  9. Hi,
    I currently work as management accountant in an oil company.My work mainly involves preparation of financial statements and variance analysis. Can it be accounted as relevant work experience for CFA?

    • I would say so, yes. The key part CFA Institute is looking for is ‘work contributing to investment decisions’, and preparing financial statements definitely qualifies for that.

  10. I am currently working in disbursement hub of a retail Lending and housing finance NBFC called HDFC limited. Does my work experience eligible for CFA ?

    • It really depends on how you write it up. What they’re looking for is work contributing to investment-related decisions – i.e. helping your company or your clients decide on how to invest their money.

    • It really depends on your work responsibilities and how you write it up. What they’re looking for is work that contributes to investment-making decisions. Both investments in securities (e.g. buying stocks, bonds) or investments in the business you’re in (e.g. buying working assets) are fine.

  11. I got through CFA Level I, II and III examination within 17 months period of time. My work experience counts as follows,
    15 months full time in finance related position plus 2 years on part-time remote basis in the same position, as I was studying for my BSc in Computer Engineering in the university. During my degree programme I had 6 months mandatory internship in an international software company and my work involved lot of Data Analysis. Can I account this 6 months period also to my work experience to apply for membership, although this period of work is not directly relevant to finance field?

    • It depends on how you argue your case, and it would depend on what data you’re analyzing. If your analytical work has nothing to do with investment making decisions, then it would be hard to make a case for it.

      If you do end up applying for relevant work experience with the 6 months period, let us know how it turns out!

  12. Hi- I am a senior Finance student, and I want to start working towards my goal of becoming a CFA. At the moment I work for an agent of an insurance company as an account manager where I sell life insurance and annuities. At my job I have the opportunity to get a series 6 license and sell mutual funds. However, since this is an insurance company our main day to day job is not necessarily related to investments and I’m afraid it would not count because 50% of my job is not related to investments.

    My questions is, are there any entry level careers that you recommend that would easily fit this criteria? I would love to start gaining the experience rather than wait until I graduate.

    Your help is appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • It’s arguable that insurance decisions count as investment decisions, so I wouldn’t change jobs on the account of CFA work experience requirements. It really depends on how you write it up and argue your case. Hope that helps!

  13. Did any grab a screenshot or note down the warning/disclosure statement verbiage for non-degreed candidates that appeared as a pop-up while registering? I would really appreciate the share

  14. Hi there,

    Could you help me understand if my working experience is qualified for charter holder application as of now?

    My current job is qualified for CFA experience, which is started from Nov 2018 (more than 4,000 hours, less than 3 years). However I was not doing CFA related job before this experience. While I do have working experience for over 4 years (related+unrelated), do I meet the requirement of “at least 4,000 hours of relevant work experience, completed in a minimum of 3 years”?

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Joanna, based on your description, you probably have to wait until Nov 2021 before applying, as it’s not 3 years yet even though you met the 4,000 hours criteria.

      Unless, you can find any aspect of your previous job pre-Nov 2018 that involved financial analysis that aid investment decision making, in essence. If you’re happy to elaborate more of your previous role maybe we can help, else your best bet is to wait for Nov 2021 for your charterholder application.

  15. Hi everyone!

    I have a quick question. My work experience is in accounting and it’s includes preparing financial statements, cash flow, monitoring transactions and register them into the system. Does my work experience count towards CFA membership?
    Please advise.

    • Hi Husni, yes it could be only if you explain how it impacts investment decision making.

      In your application, you must write what impact on investment decision making your work has to justify its relevance. For example (and only if this is what happens to your case), preparing/reporting financial statements and cashflows helps investors and the market value the company.

  16. Good day.
    I wanted to know if my current role qualifies for CFA working experience.Your response would ve highly appreciated.

    I am a CFA Level 2 candidate.I recently started working at a non-banking financial institutions regulatory in my country. My role is graduate trainee analyst under Anti-Money Laundering (AML). In our department we compile reports,analyse which institutions are abiding to national/international AML policies, conduct AML online workshops,review and comply with UN sanction list . Basically analyse over 300 institutions, and financial analyses is only done probably 5% of the time.

    • Hi Mashaya94, I don’t have enough background to your work to understand its implication. Does your AML work includes some statistical (not just financial) analysis?

      More importantly, can your AML work product/output help inform or add value to that investment decision-making process? I think you may have a case here if you give detailed, specific examples of particular analyses you did. For example, say that you produce a report or even an anti-money laundering “score” to rank 300+ institutions on adherence to AML regulation. This report is important to help investors make investment decisions (or place their funds) in trustworthy firms that abide by the rules.

      Hope this helps!

  17. Would working for a trading prop firm such as T3 where you put up capital to get additional buying power and making trades for your own account count as relevant work experience? We’re technically professional traders because we need our series 57 license.

    • Hi Jack, I assume you are managing your own money here? If so, managing your own investments does not qualify, as mentioned in the article. So does running investment clubs, managing your family or friends’ investments, and so on. You need professional, paid experience, i.e. if you manage investments, it should be for paying clients.

      Hope this helps

  18. Company I work for provides solutions in preventing money laundering (mainly the Watchlist and the filtering engine), and my role here is to provide guidance, consulting and deriving business plans for future needs, so Financial institutes we work with don’t ‘lose’ any money as financial penalties. Will my job description qualify for the CFA?

    • Hi Chris, I think it depends if you can give specific examples in your work of providing guidance, consulting and forming business plans, on how you contributed to an investment-decision process. For example, it could be that you built a business case to compare investment in 2 different money laundering-detection technology, and recommended the better one to your bosses, which led to a decision to invest in XYZ technology.

      Hope this helps, it really depends how you make your experience relevant and show it is applicable to what CFA Institute is looking for.

  19. Hi I have already registered for the level 1 CFA Aug Exam. I am in the final year of my graduation. How does this new guidelines affect my Level 1 examination. Anyone?

    • Hi None, it doesn’t affect you because there are 3 alternative criteria for CFA enrollment: Bachelors degree, final year uni student, or work experience. You meet the second definition so there is nothing to worry there.

  20. Hi – I wonder if experience teaching high school economics would count? We follow an internationally recognized curriculum (Cambridge AS- and A-level).

  21. I run a business that is owned by my spouse, but have 8M in revenues and do all of the accounting, financial analysis, projections, and pursue investment opportunities on behalf of the business. Due to the size of the company, it is fairly well delineated from our personal finances and has provided an incredible amount of valuable experience. Would this qualify? I understand there may be challenges with obtaining references if you don’t have a supervisor, but that issue aside, do you think the experience would qualify?

    It sounds like you can obtain the experience before you pass the exam. Is that accurate? Or does some amount of experience need to happen after you sit for the exams?

  22. I am Chartered Accountant and will appear for CFA level 1 exams what kind of job can I get that will satisfy the requirement of 4 yrs work experience to get the CFA Charter

  23. I have passed CFA Levels I, II and III and working on contract basis for a group of companies engaged in manufacturing, trading and investment in large projects. My past 4 years works with this organization involved in Finance Analysis, assisting finance planning and investment projects under the supervision of the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) and the Director of Finance of this company.I am a passed finalist of CIMA (UK) as well. I have a sound IT skills. Am I eligible for applying for the membership? Can the above two persons be my referees?

      • Would this be the case for preparing financial statements and overseeing accounting, budgeting and financial systems for a non-profit? I’m definitely helping in the financial decision-making process… but when the CFA work requirements state ‘investment-related’ work experience, the word ‘investment’ has a somewhat different meaning for non-profits.

        • Hi James, it sounds like you’re on a CFO-type role, of which I would emphasize more on how preparing financial statements help the board make certain investment decisions (it could be investing in a new IT system etc). While it is a non-profit, there are still investment decisions to be made.

          The key here is to be specific, and look for examples in your work where you have done independent analysis that helps investment decision making (doesn’t have to be financial instruments. Examples relating to overseeing accounting/budgeting are more of an accountant’s role, so would not be relevant work experience here.

  24. hello, thanks for your post, its very helpful. I am an anayst in corporate recovery making Finance data analysis and having a supporting role in the implemenation of strategy for each client (restructuring, bankruptcy etc). Does that count?

  25. I worked as an actuarial analyst in a short-term (or general) insurance company. I did product development and pricing of short-term insurance products. Can I argue that this has a direct impact on reserving investments and client financial planning? Would this count as relevant experience?

    Also, do you need the 2-3 references per position?

    • Hi Jannie, yes your actuarial work experience is relevant. You just need to explain how your work experience contributes to investment decision making or informs/adds value to that process.

      The 2-3 references are for your whole work experience application, not per work position.

  26. I work in technical support servicing a portfolio management and performance reporting software that is used by independent Registered Investment Advisers. I also service the custodial platform independent RIA’s use for placing trades, managing accounts, and researching data in order for them to determine investment decisions. Does this count as relevant work experience? I don’t give investment advice, but I service technology by informing and helping advisers with knowing what features to utilize within the system and how to use them, which advisers depend on to help the manage their investments and determining their investment decisions for their clients. Does this count as relevant work experience?

  27. I was a Senior Accountant in a Fund Administration company for two years. Does it count as part of 4 year relevant work experience?

    • Hi REIL, I certainly think it qualifies. As long as your work experience relates to the investment decision-making process, or producing a work product that informs or adds value to that process. For example, if you help with fund accounting matters such as calculation of net asset value, that is a calculation that helps/informs decision making process for investors, therefore qualifies as relevant work experience for CFA.

  28. Hi. I am planning to take the CFA Level 1 next year, i’ve lost my job and got offered an ESG Research Analyst position. While I think its responsibilities (analysis) is used in investment decision-making of investors, I think it is not that “finance” related. I am not sure if this could be used as “relevant work experience” for the charter in the future, I hope someone can clear it for me. Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Junie, sorry to hear of your job loss, but congrats on your new offer – sustainable investing is super relevant in the asset management market today and definitely a growth area. Your work as an ESG research analyst definitely fits the work experience criteria for CFA exams, as your analysis helps people decide how to invest. ESG is an important factor these days for retail and institutional investors’ decision making, so there is no worry there that it is relevant. It isn’t about whether it is directly ‘finance’ related (but ESG research is anyway), but whether your analysis/advice/work helps investors make investment decision. And it does. Congrats on your new role and welcome to the CFA world!

  29. Hi does working as a private lawyer and guiding the investment firms count as experience and does your work experience count while you are studying a part time course. Please confirm.

    • Hi Henry, as long as more than 50% of your work is on “helping people decide how to invest”, that qualifies. What do you specifically advise investment firms that demonstrate that work contributes to investment-decision-making processes? You don’t have to be directly making the decisions – as long as investment decisions depend on your work in some way (e.g. your research, your analysis, your counsel), then it should be relevant.​ Your part time study course has no impact on whether the work experience counts, as long as your work experience is full time.

  30. I plan to start an RIA on my own after I pass level III in June 2020, but I don’t have any prior relevant work experience. Since I won’t have a supervisor, will the first 4 years of my advisor business count as relevant? My references will need to be past supervisors from work that doesn’t qualify. I just want to make sure this will be acceptable. Thanks in advance.

    • I’m assuming you’re talking about the first 4 years of your future RIA business? It should count as work experience – anyone you work with/for will be able to provide a reference. In your case, clients would be an acceptable reference. Assuming the procedure is still the same as when I went through it in 2011, the referencing process is just a third party verifying that the nature of your work is what you say it is, so it should be pretty straightforward to complete.

  31. I am currently working as Finance Manager in a Oil and Gas Company here in Texas. Does this count as work experience. Thanks

  32. I am currently work as estimation manager in power sector. This role involves preparation of the cost estimation for the service to be offered to client, prepare revenue to be received for the entire length of service. Also prepare sheet for asset purchase evaluation model for the company to buy any asset. Does this count as relevant experience?

    • The asset purchase evaluation model work would definitely qualify. I’m not sure if the other tasks would – at least as you’ve described it.

  33. Okay, so I’m a public accountant pursuing CPA and CFA at the same time. I have three years experience in audit and financial reporting. I am thinking about switching gear as I have passed my level III. I’m not sure whether my work experience as public accountant will be counted as ‘relevant work experience’, and is there any suggestion on what kind of career/position that can integrate CPA and CFA?

  34. I spent the first year of my career at a large discount brokerage as a broker. I was basically an order taker. But I did spend a considerable amount of my time educating clients on different order types, option strategies, technical analysis, etc. They would decide whether or not to execute, and I would place the order(s) for them. Is it possible to have that year approved?

    • Yes, in my opinion I think that should get approved. You should emphasise the investment decisions your clients are making based on your recommendations and work in your work experience submission.

  35. Hi, I am currently working with a Global Bank, in the Statutory accounts team. We prepare the Statutory Financial Statements of entities setup in UK per the Local GAAP (IFRS), which are then audited (we are a part of the entire audit process too) and finally present the financials to the Board of Directors. Does this qualify for the relevant experience criteria?

    • I should imagine so. The financial statements you prepare and audit feed into multiple investment decision processes – that’s a point you should emphasise in your application.

  36. I have obtained two professional references, out of which one is from my direct supervisor and other one is from a regular member of the CFA society I am applying for. However, the website still doesnt allow me to submit my application. Can anyone help me with the possible reason ?

  37. (to Mark above) Yes absolutely. The fact that you don’t accept outside money (e.g. family offices) should have no bearing at all to your acceptance, you’re still making investment decisions – your ‘client’ are the senior members.

  38. Thanks for the insight. My only worry was based on the fact that we dont accept investors money. So as I am making investment decisions, its not for a client or a customer.

  39. I am a senior commodity derivatives trader. I work at a very, very small firm in which we manage “personal money” Two senior members of the firm put up the capital. None of the money put up is mine but I receive a percentage of profits. I also handle all back office work including checking statements/balancing accounts/accounting. I have been with this company for over 6 years. Is this sufficient work experience?

  40. From your understanding, does the investment decision process, or as you put it helping people decide how to invest, include financial analysis conducted internally by a company to inform its management of how best manage its financial position (i.e. earnings, debt instruments, etc.) to further the company’s growth? For example a financial analyst within a mining company that does analysis to inform management’s decisions.

    • Absolutely! Investment decisions need not necessarily be the conventional kind, i.e. ‘here’s some money, invest it and grow’. Investment decisions can also equally can mean capital management decisions.

  41. I am now working for an international consultancy firm. My responsibility includes but not limited to hotel appraisals and valuations, as well as feasibility studies of both hotels and serviced apartments. Does that count?

    • Oh yes it should. Note that in order for your work experience to qualify, relevant activities should cover at least 50% of your daily responsibilities. So valuations etc is relevant, but if it only comprises of say 10% of what you do, you’ll need to have a look at your other responsibilities.

  42. I’m a financial analyst and have been for just under a year. I perform monthly profitability reports analyze is/bs, forecasting etc. I’m concerned that my only “investing work experience” is if we should restructure contracts with clients or to keep them as a client. Do you think I would be approved if I continue with this career

  43. More specifically, what does the referrer see about the CFA candidate requesting the reference, exactly? Do they see his or her work history or when he or she passed each exam, for example? Thanks.

      • Will the person who is referring me be able to see how many times I have failed previous CFA exams? Just curious. Not something I’m proud of. Thanks.

  44. Hi. Can I have sponsors that have not been my supervisors? I have an acquaintance that is part of the local society and a former colleague that is part of another society. Both are charterholders. Is that enough or does at least one sponsor have to be a supervisor?

  45. Would work as a tax lawyer satisfy this requirement. I frequently analyze the tax impact of various transaction structures available to my clients.

  46. I am selling ratings to SME’s. The SME’s buy our non-mandatory ratings to get their company financials evaluated to get loans from banks at concessional interest rates smoothly. It is a Rating Agency like S&P and Fitch. Is it relevant work experience.

  47. Hi my name is Shradha Mani. I am working as a research associate in the School of Inspired Leadership. I am involved with mentoring and training students on the finance courses which involve Financial and Managerial Accounting, Corporate Finance and M&As. Along with this I am also involved in some research projects on finance. Will this qualify as relevant work experience for CFA

  48. Right now i am a Corporate Financial Analyst. I do Budgeting/Forecasting/ROI analysis. I also analyze the balance sheet/IS/Cf statement. I don’t do too much with investment analysis besides whether we should do business with a client or not based on our models. Please Help!

  49. Nice Article…… I have 4 years of experience in IT as a software engineer ….. does it count as a relevant experience in CFA ….

  50. I am a Certified Financial Planner running an investment advisory firm , Does this experience count for full time experience

  51. Do you think my experience in conducting analysis of financial statements for the purpose of audit is relevant? I mean analytical procedures, valuation of instruments for financial reporting, valuation of assets, etc.

  52. I worked 3 years as a financial analyst making models and analyzing companies for IB and PE clients. I quit some time back and am now developing finance content for an education startup. I know my 3 years exp counts (others in my firm have got charters). All I’m worried about is the 4th year.

  53. I was initially worried about the experience requirement because I’m in a government role, which is very “non-traditional”. I’ve since contacted the CFAI and from what I can tell, so long as you’re doing work that is acceptable (i.e. cash flow modeling, derivatives analysis, etc.), it appears that they’re willing to work with you.

    • That’s exactly right – it’s the nature of the job, not the company you’re at that is relevant. I was able to swing my experience from an advertising firm, so you can go pretty non-traditional!

  54. That’s an interesting position to be in – I’ve certainly not heard of that one before. If I were you I’d try to get peers (i.e. your managers, colleagues that you work with) rather than people you manage. If you’re trying to get someone who’s a CFA charterholder to qualify for the ‘2 sponsors’ rule, I’d suggest to go for an acquaintance rather than people that report to you.

    • Thanks. I agree with your suggestion understanding that my situation is bit embarassing. Just because I am too old and all those younger are brighter and got all the qualificaitons.

  55. I am in a supervisory position while my subordinates are CFA. Just wonder if I should ask them to be my sponsors or I better get my friends doing that…

  56. Hi Matt The key is to have someone that knows you professionally, i.e. they can testify to the quality of your work. Preferably these are people that you have worked with directly, but I know of people who used acquaintances in the industry as references successfully as well. So if you are pressed for direct references, your professional acquaintance should do fine. Also note that if you know any current CFA local member you only need 2 sponsors! Good luck!

  57. Do you have any info about who can act as a sponsor? Obviously your supervisor is preferred as one referee, however there is no detail about who the other 2 can be. Do you have to have worked with/for them, or can it be a finance professional who has known you for a significant time? Also, what is the minimum period someone must have known you to act as a referee. I have just changed organisations and so everyone I now work with hasn’t known me too long. Thanks Matt


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