Tools by Topic

Choose an investment topic below to access resources and tools that will help you develop your knowledge and understanding of each topic.

Alternative Investments
A diverse suite of tools to evaluate various alternative investments.

  • Real Estate Investing Tools – These tools, provided by Real Estate Financial Modeling, provide "back-of-the-envelope" calculations to determine if you should further analyze an apartment complex or office development for consideration as a possible investment.
  • Option Position Simulator – Do you want to learn how a collar or covered call position changes over time, or do you need to know the daily time decay for your long call? Visit this simulator to find out the answer to these and many other questions.
  • Futures Trading Simulation – Learn about some of the intricacies of the futures market by taking the perspective of either a hedger or speculator during this eight-week trading session (condensed into a two-minute period). Buy or sell lumber contracts based on various news announcements and experience some of the decision-making process involved in using futures.
  • Option Strategy Screener – Do you want to know what the maximum gain and loss is for a bull call spread, or do you need to know what a condor is or the time decay characteristics of a straddle? Find out answers to these and many other questions.
  • Commodity Valuation Tool – A tool designed to estimate the value of in-the-ground ore metals.
Behavioral Finance
Behavioral finance is ostensibly about the soft skills of investing, the part that deals with human beings as humans, and not as cold, analytical machines. Our goal is to provide members with a suite of tools that allows them to take advantage of their whole brain, and not just certain parts.

Criminal justice professionals have done the overwhelming majority of research into lying/deceit behavior detection. This, despite the fact that the consequences of bad actors in the business and finance world numbers in the trillions of dollars. In addition to the links below, CFA Institute is committed to a multi-year project to develop lying/deceit behavior detection skills for finance professionals. Look for additional tools and resources to be released in the future.

Derivatives

Calculators and Simulators

These free calculators and simulators from various sources allow you to model complex investments and examine changes in positions in response to changes in key variables.

  • Eurex OptionMaster – Enter inputs to option pricing and calculate the value, delta, gamma, theta, and rho of both call and put options.
  • Option Margin Calculator – Determine the margin (U.S.) on stock and option positions by utilizing this tool from the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE).
  • Option Position Simulator – Learn how a collar or covered call position changes over time, or the daily time decay for a long call.
  • Options Strategy Screener – Find out what the maximum gain and loss is for a bull call spread, time decay characteristics of a straddle, or learn what a condor is.
  • Basic Options Service – Examine the level of historical volatility in stocks and indexes as well as the implied volatility of their options and determine the correlation of the stocks and indexes to the overall market.
  • Futures Trading Simulation – Learn about some of the intricacies of the futures market by taking the perspective of either a hedger or speculator during this eight-week trading session (condensed into a two-minute period).
Economics
Global economic statistics available from a variety of sources.

Equity Investments
Equity Valuation Models

New York University Stern School of Business Professor Aswath Damodaran built over 70 downloadable spreadsheet models in 13 categories to illustrate valuation techniques ranging from determining a company’s optimal capital structure to multi-stage dividend discount models.

  • Dividend Discount Model – A complete dividend discount model that can do stable growth, 2-stage, or 3-stage valuation.
  • High Growth Firm Valuation Model – This spreadsheet can be used to value tough-to-value firms, those with negative earnings, high growth in revenues, and few comparables.
  • Leveraged Beta – This spreadsheet will calculate the effects of leverage on beta using the stock’s current beta, tax rate, and current debt-to-equity ratio.
  • Implied ROE and ROI – In a DCF model the terminal value has a tremendous influence on the present value. This spreadsheet template calculates the implied ROE and ROI for the company given the model’s terminal value assumption. It is a good check to see if the terminal value implies returns that are not compatible with past or future business conditions.

Note: To download these tools you must have Microsoft Office 97, or a later version, including Microsoft Excel.

Browse additional valuation models.

Other Equity Investment Tools
  • Margin of Safety Tool – Based on the work of Columbia Business School Professor Stephen Penman, as presented in his book, Accounting for Value, this tool is intended to help an investor determine whether a stock has a margin of safety at its current market price.
  • Implied Growth Calculator – One clue into the riskiness of a stock is the implied long-term growth rate of the company. This long-term growth rate calculator is based on the concepts presented by Columbia Business School Professor Stephen H. Penman in his book Accounting for Value.
  • Risk Screen – This calculation is based on the residual earning model. It uses the company financial statements, earning estimates, and current market price to determine the implied growth rate of the business. Businesses with high implied growth rates are often risky because a high implied growth rate means the business needs to grow a lot in the future to achieve an economical value in line with its current price.
Fixed Income
These free spreadsheet applications for performing a variety of fixed income calculations are available from several different sources, including CFA Institute, Yieldcurve.com, and Aswath Damodaran.

  • Negative Nominal Yield Bonds – Download this spreadsheet created by CFA Institute to demonstrate the consequences of negative nominal yield bonds. Instructions are also available.
  • Convertible Bond Pricing Model – Based on Espen Gaarder Haage's model originally developed by Goldman Sachs.
  • Euro-Future Strip Hedge – Calculate an approximation of the futures strip required to hedge a long or short position in a cash bond.
  • Risk Neutral Default Probability – Calculate risk-neutral default probabilities when pricing bonds with embedded options.
  • Debt Rating – The main driver of changes to a company’s debt rating is interest coverage. This spreadsheet helps estimate debt ratings with changes in interest coverage.
Note: To download these tools you must have Microsoft Office 97, or a later version, including Microsoft Excel.
Leadership, Management, and Communication Skills
Career and Personal Development ResourcesFrom self-assessment and career development planning to executing a strategic job search, be prepared to leverage any career opportunity with these tools.

  • Career Centre – Features self-assessment tools to help you clarify your career goals and deepen your self-awareness, resume and CV tools, industry and company information tailored to the financial professional, discussion forums to network and learn from your peers, and access to vetted career consultants and executive coaches.
  • Career Resources Library – Access all of our career-related products in one collection including webcasts and podcasts, web resources, articles, handouts, and presentations from career events.
  • JobLine – Use our exclusive job board service to apply for top investment jobs throughout the world.
  • Social Media Handbook - Originally drafted for CFA Member Societies, this handbook contains practical tips for using different social media platforms, including Twitter.
  • MarketPsych assessments help you determine your personality style and increase your self-awareness (registration with MarketPsych is required to complete these assessments.)
Portfolio Management
Russell, S&P Dow Jones, and MSCI are purveyors of some of the most widely followed financial market indices. Below are links to the firms' websites. Each website provides comprehensive composition and performance data for the respective indices.

Private Wealth Management
Practice Management Tools for Wealth Advisers Risk Tolerance Assessments
The following are illustrative examples of financial risk tolerance assessment instruments used by financial services providers. Although these are not specifically endorsed by CFA Institute, they are representative guides that facilitate the risk tolerance assessment process.

Elements of an Investment Policy Statement (IPS)

These documents offer elements of investment policy statements that should be considered by advisers to institutional and individual clients. Investment policy statements serve as important guides to the strategies and tactics employed in an investment program. Because each investor’s situation and circumstances are unique, developing an IPS requires careful consideration of relevant considerations of return objectives, risk management practices, and governance. Investors and their advisers may benefit from considering the Elements of an Investment Policy Statement to ensure accounting for an appropriate range of issues. Advisers add value to the process from accurate interpretation of client circumstances and development of policy guidelines.

Client Acquisition and Marketing
Please see the Marketing Tools section.
Quantitative Methods
Historical Time Series Data

Other Quantitative Tools

  • The R Project for Statistical Computing – R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms, Windows, and MacOS.
Standards, Ethics, and Regulations (SER)