Why Choose a Career in the Investment Industry?
Firms and professionals in the investment industry are stewards of capital – they help clients make investment decisions, invest their money, and provide services to enhance financial markets. The scope of these services can include trading, asset management – constructing and managing investment portfolios and funds – and regulation of these systems. Enrolling in the CFA Program and earning the CFA charter prepares and positions you for a variety of career paths in the investment industry.
Career Paths and Jobs for CFA® Charterholders
Widely considered the apex for professional development in investment management, the CFA designation is valued by employers for roles and functions in every sector of the global finance industry, including portfolio management, analysis, private wealth, and consulting. But the CFA charter also equips professionals with the versatility to take their career paths in different directions.
Explore the finance industry, careers, and job descriptions
Typical Jobs for CFA® Charterholders*
The full range of job functions includes relationship management and data science, credit analysis, chief investment officer, trading, accounting and auditing, financial planning, and sales and trading.
Typical Investment Management Sectors among CFA® Charterholders*
- Asset management
- Private wealth management
- Commercial banking
- Investment banking
The full range of sectors includes consulting, asset ownership, and brokerage. CFA charterholders are valued in emerging areas of industry growth, such as fintech.
Explore investment management topics covered in the CFA Program curriculum
Thinking about Your Next Career Step?
CFA® Charterholder Salary
CFA charterholders can be found in a variety of roles across the investment industry. Therefore, compensation can vary based on job function and region. Moreover, a significant amount of compensation in the investment industry takes the form of bonuses, so total compensation includes base salary, any bonuses, and long-term incentives.
What Is the Typical Compensation Level for CFA® Charterholders?
Compensation varies widely in the investment industry and is influenced by many factors, including the specific industry sector, an individual professional’s seniority and area of specialization, and broad regional differences. For portfolio managers, one of the most common roles for CFA charterholders, a 2019 CFA Institute compensation study found a typical self-reported total compensation of US$177,000 (US$126,000 base salary). According to the Future of Finance report Investment Firm of the Future, new business models will have a significant impact on career paths and compensation trends for investment professionals.
* Median values as self-reported by CFA Institute members and charterholders for 2018, according to CFA Institute's 2019 compensation study.
Is Pursuing a CFA® Charter Worth It?
Value to Employers
CFA charterholders are employed by JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Royal Bank of Canada, BofA Securities, UBS Group, HSBC Holdings, Wells Fargo and Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, BlackRock, and TD Bank Financial Group. Some employers even require it.
The average base salaries of CFA Institute members and charterholders in 2019 increased at a greater rate (year over year) than the rate of increase for the general market, according to the findings of the CFA Institute Compensation Study.
Content that Evolves with the Industry
Fintech and other trends in the future of finance will have significant impact on investments firms, career paths, and compensation trends. CFA Institute is poised to lead with our respected thought leadership, dedicated practice analysis, and close ties to the industry.
Benchmarking the CFA Charter
An independent evaluation found the following levels of comparability for the CFA Charter:
|USA||US Masters’ degree standard|
|UK||RQF Level 7*1|
|Canada||OQF Level 12*|
|India||NSQF Level 9*|
|Hong Kong||HKQF Level 6*|
|Singapore||Singaporean Master’s degree standard|
|Australia||AQF Level 9*|
|Brazil||Título de Mestre (Brazilian Master’s degree standard)|
|China||Chinese Master’s degree standard|
|Japan||Japanese Master’s degree standard|
|South Africa||S. A. NQF Level 9*|
|France||NQF Level 7*|
* Comparable to Master’s degree standard
1 In the context of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), RQF Level 7 (CFA Charter comparable level) has been referenced to EQF Level 7. RQF Levels 5 and 4 (comparable levels for CFA Level I and Certificate in ESG Investing, respectively) are both aligned at EQF Level 5.
The independent evaluation also found the following levels of comparability for the CFA Level I:
- Comparable to RQF Level 5 in the UK education system
- In the absence of a national qualification framework or directly comparable qualification in the USA education system, CFA Level I can be considered broadly comparable to completion of Year 3 of a 4-year US Bachelor degree.
Learn more and read the full independent evaluation (PDF)
Compare CFA Program to other leading programs for investment managers like MBA, CPA, and CFP
Registered Candidate Career Resources
Earning the CFA charter gives you the distinction of joining a prestigious group of elite investment professionals, an achievement that can open doors for career growth. CFA Institute supports members and candidates by providing a variety of career tools and resources, access to comprehensive career guides, analysis of future finance trends and help preparing, and even perspective for career switchers exploring new fields.
Become a Member of CFA Institute
You don’t have to be a CFA charterholder—or even a candidate in the CFA Program—to become a member of CFA Institute. We offer two types of membership—regular and affiliate—to reflect the range of experiences investment professionals have. Membership to CFA Institute and a local society gives you access to career resources, networking opportunities, continuing education, and other benefits that support you beyond the curriculum and exams.
Register for the CFA® Program
Are you ready to earn a charter and join the ranks of elite investment professionals?
Don't delay; complete your registration to access study materials and candidate resources to begin the CFA Program today.