If you ask the general public (or even a business professional) to define a certification for excellence in financial markets, you probably would get a variety of answers: Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Planner, or perhaps Certified Management Accountant. The truth is that all of those are on the B team of certifications, the gold standard of financial markets certification is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
This “gold standard” endorsement was validated by the recent CFA survey of June 2012 exam takers. When asked “about how many hours did you spend preparing for the June 2012 CFA exam,” the average was 291 hours for those that Failed the exam, and a wopping 309 hours for those that Passed. That equates to 12 complete days of studying, or equivalent of 15% of the annual average work year.
Investing in the CFA is a costly investment of time and resources, but this certifcation creates knoweldge that pays dividends for decades to follow.