The economic liberalisation has brought drastic changes in the corporate environment. Specialization has become, the need of the hour. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) though is a relatively new field, it has assumed significant importance in the changing business scenario. Their work primarily focuses on the financial analysis. To meet the changing requirements of the financial sector, CFA programme has been designed and conducted by various Institutes. The programme is more of a practitioner's course. It imparts trainning in the fields of corporate finance, investment management and financial services. The programme is better suited for executives who want to enhance their skills in the field of finance.
Nature of Work
The CFA programme imparts enough knowledge and expertise in the finance fields and those having undergone this programme have an edge over others. The areas of work for CFAs are as follows.
- CORPORATE FINANCE: Necessary technical skills and knowledge imparted in the CFA programme in fields of corporate finance, like Indian Financial System, Financial Accounting, Management Accounting, Financial Management, Advanceed Financial Management, and International Management adds to the advantage of CFAs in disposing of their duties and responsibilities.
- INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT: Investment management is an analytical subject. To manage investments, requires thorough knowledge of the subject. The CFA programme takes care of all these needs and covers important aspects of the subject including, Economics, Quantitative Techniques, Economic Legislations for the Securities Industry and Security Evaluation Techniques.
- FINANCIAL SERVICES: The CFA programme being a specialization programme in finance helps CFAs to foray into financial services like Leasing, Hire Purchasing, Project Planning, Issue Management, Credit Rating, Venture Capital etc.
Unlike other finance and accounts related professions like Chartered Accountancy, Cost Accountancy, MBAs and Company Secretaryship, the very basic requirement for a CFA is to have good numerical ability. CFAs should have a logical approach so that the facts and figures are interpreted accurately. The work involves critical analysis of data, therefore a methodical approach helps in efficient handling of matters. Awarenesss about the economic conditions and up to date knowledge of the financial policies and legislations are also important for them.
The CFA programme is conducted by Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI). The course targets two broad groups, namely Executives and Graduates. Candidates seeking admission to the CFA programme have to appear for an admission test. The test is based on verbal and quantitative reasoning which seeks to test the aptitude of the candidates for professional studies in Financial Analysis.
The course is divided into 4 modules namely Foundation, Preliminary, Inter and Final. Graduates and students in the final year of their Bachelor's degree in any discipline are eligible for admission to the programme. However, Commissioned defence personnel having 5 years of experience can pursue the CFA programme even if they do not have an undergraduate degree. Certain categories like CAs, ICWAs, MBAs and Postgraduates are exempted from the foundation module of the course. The following segment highlights the different modules and thier subjects.
- FOUNDATION COURSE: This is a beginner's course and except for the exempted categories, everybody else has to enroll to this module to start with the CFA programme. The examination for the module can be taken in the following subjects, after 3 months of enrollment.
- Elements of Financial and Management Accounting
- Basics of Corporate Finance
- Essentials of Investment and Tax Planning
- Statistics of Financial Applications
- PRELIMINARY LEVEL: After qualifying the Foundation examination, the next step is to qualify the Preliminary level. The preliminary level is divided into two Groups namely Group A and B. Group A examination can be taken up after 6 months of enrollment and Group B examination can be taken after 12 months of enrollment. The subjects for both the groups are as follows.
- Financial Accounting
- Financial Management
- Quantitative Methods Economics
- INTER LEVEL: On clearing the Preliminary level, students can take up the Inter examination. The Inter level has two Groups namely Group C and D. Examination for Group C can be taken 6 months after passing the Preliminary examination and Group D examination can be taken after 12 months of passing the Preliminary examination. The subjects for the Groups are as follows.
- Economic Legislation
- Management Accounting
- Security Evaluation
- Project Appraisal Planning and Control
- FINAL LEVEL: The last module is the Final level. This is also divided into two Groups namely Group E and F. Examination for Group E can be taken 6 months after passing the Inter examination and examination for Group F can be 12 months taken after passing Inter examination. The subjects of the groups are as follows.
- Advanced Financial Management
- Financial Services
- Investment Management
- Indian Financial System
- International Financial Management
Colleges, Institutions and Universities
The Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI) situated at Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Andhara Pradesh, INDIA, conducts the CFA programme which is a 3 years and 3 months Postgraduate programme. The course can be done as a distance education course. Contact courses are organised throughout the country to facilitate distance education.
CFA programme can be done as a regular campus course for 2 years. Many business schools also offer this course. These are advertised from time to time in the newspapers and the entrance tests are conducted throughout the country. Some of Institutes where CFA programme can be pursued are as follows.
- Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani.
- Narsee Monjee Institute of Management, Mumbai.
- International Management Institute, New Delhi.
- SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai.
- Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar, etc.
The openings available to CFA degree holders are in Banking, Insurance, Corporate Sectors and Finance, Leasing Companies. Even organisations like Railways, Reserve Bank of India and Financial Institutions like ICICI, IDBI, IFCI and UTI have given due recognition to the CFA programme. Most ICFAI graduates receive offers for challengimg professional positions with attractive emoluments. The career prospects are as bright as of any other in the field of finance. Fresh graduates with a degree from ICFAI generally start as executive trainees in the financial sector. After gaining experience, they can even go on to, head their departments.