The mission of CFA Institute is served by generating value for investment management professionals and engaging with the investment industry to advance ethics, market integrity, and professional standards of practice, which collectively contributes value to society.
In 1947, analyst societies of Boston, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia joined forces in realizing their shared commitment to bringing higher standards to the investment profession. On 11 June 1947, a national federation was formed and together these pioneer societies defined the role of the investment professional as one steeped in research and critical thinking.
The Singapore society launched in 1987, the first society outside of North America, thereby beginning the international expansion of the CFA Society network, which now links more than 190,000 members in 160 markets around the globe.
Learn more about our global community of investment professionals: Membership
Investment analysis became a credentialed profession in 1963, when 284 candidates sat the inaugural CFA Program exam. From an idea first conceived by famed investor Benjamin Graham, six decades of the CFA Program reflect the evolving dynamics of a complex investment industry and the changing needs of candidates, employers, and clients.
Most recently we announced three specialist pathways at Level III of the CFA Program, providing candidates with portfolio management, private wealth, or private markets study options – all in pursuit of the same global credential – the CFA Charter. Digital practical skills modules have been introduced to help candidates become desk ready in subject areas including financial modelling and Python.
A first edition of today's Standards of Professional Conduct—introduced in 1969—set the first global benchmark for the professional conduct of the investment professional, bringing ethics directly to the heart of the CFA Program and CFA charterholder community. CFA Program and CIPM candidates are required to follow the Code and Standards.
Empowering the investment industry to realize the world’s greatest possibilities.
Financial technology, consolidation, and fee compression continue to disrupt the financial industry. New technology, business models, and learning preferences are changing what is required of the profession. And society as a whole faces long-term challenges such as economic dislocation, climate change, geopolitical conflicts, inequality, and so much more.
As we continue to deliver the highest standards of excellence, ethics, and education, we seek to look beyond what we do for our constituents today to better meet their current needs and to anticipate what they will need tomorrow – and contributing to ultimately benefitting society.
With cutting-edge thought leadership, we drive how the industry thinks and what it does. Through our professional standards and advocacy, we bolster a more principled industry. Expanding our suite of educational products will support new workplace dynamics and professional development from career entry to exit.
We believe that financial markets and services should operate in the following ways:
- Investment professionals contribute to the ultimate benefit of society through the sustainable value generated by efficient financial markets and by effective investment institutions.
- Good stewardship and high ethical standards are necessary for trust and confidence to be secured and for society to be served. Financial markets should afford every investor the opportunity to earn a fair return.
- Financial markets are more effective with knowledgeable, diverse participants.
- High ethical principles and professional standards are essential to positive outcomes; rules and regulations, while necessary, are not sufficient by themselves.
Historically, differing performance presentation styles across the investment industry meant poor transparency for millions of investors. A need for fund performance comparability led us to develop the first set of global performance presentation standards. Now known as GIPS, more than 1,800 organizations in 49 markets today claim compliance with the Global Investment Performance Standards.
Our long history in Codes and Standards, and an industry skills gap concerning sustainable investing, spurred our first voluntary Global ESG Disclosure Standards for Investment Products to enable investors, consultants, advisors, and distributors to better understand, compare, and evaluate ESG investment products. The newly launched Certificate in ESG Investing is upskilling the global investment community.
Within 30 days of its launch, 30 North America investment organizations added their commitment to the newly launched voluntary Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Code (USA and Canada), joining CFA Institute as early signatories to an action-oriented DEI Code that will lead to greater inclusion of wider viewpoints from the best talent, better investment outcomes, better working environments, and a cycle of positive change for future generations.
Our University Affiliation Program enables aspiring investment professionals to combine their undergraduate degree with CFA Program curriculum content. The CFA Institute Research Challenge, an equity research competition for students worldwide, attracts thousands of competitors each year, who compete against other teams and benefit from expert mentoring in real-world financial analysis, an international platform, and an enhanced global network.
In 2015, Women CFA Institute Board members—past and present—convened to discuss gender diversity in the investment industry. Our Women in Investment Management initiative has subsequently developed research, scholarships, a women’s network, and a new bootcamp and internship offering through our Young Women in Investment program.
As a global, independent organization, we play a role in being a steward and champion of the investment industry. In addition to direct benefits to their clients, the work of investment professionals and the impact of the investment industry also benefits society through improved investor outcomes and the resulting effective allocation of capital that drives economic growth and development.
Our own cultural values at CFA Institute - Curiosity, Inclusion, Trust, and Service - guide our behaviors and bind us together in passionate pursuit of our mission.
Our strategy is:
Shape the Future of the Industry and the Profession
In a continually evolving market, policymakers, organizations, and the investment industry are looking for a clear, unbiased, and authoritative voice. We hold an influential position on investment practices and outcomes. With that responsibility, we must advocate for the professionalism and ethics that drive investor trust.
Build a Diverse Portfolio of Learning Products
For decades, we have prepared professionals to begin their careers as CFA® charterholders. Now, our vision is for CFA Institute to be where the investment industry comes to skill, upskill, and reskill. We will create a seamless, lifelong learning experience that guides professionals through the many defining moments in their careers, while inviting more professionals to benefit from lifelong learning.
Modernize and Grow the CFA Program
We will develop a candidate experience that is modern and personalized. By incorporating digital study and peer interaction, elevating instructional design, and enhancing content relevance and practical application, we will build candidates’ professional competence while extending our global reach.
We aspire to develop global financial markets that serve the public interest. The overall outcomes that we believe will contribute to this aspiration are a community of educated, ethical investment management professionals and financial markets that reflect CFA Institute beliefs.