The CFA in brief

■ The chartered financial analyst (CFA) charter is provided by the CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals.

■ In 2012, the Institute reported that there were 100,925 CFA charterholders globally.

■ The CFA programme is the Institute’s graduate-level course of study. It must be completed before an investment professional can earn the CFA charter.

■ The programme is made up of three levels, each taken over a year. The three levels must be passed sequentially in order to earn the CFA charter.

■ The curriculum examines topics as diverse as the basic principles of economics, financial reporting and analysis, alternative investments and risk management.

■ The number of candidates for the CFA programme has increased over the past few years. Between 2011 and 2012, the Institute recorded a 5 per cent increase, building on a further 5 per cent increase the previous year.

■ A network of CFA societies sits alongside the CFA Institute. 66 per cent of their 107,812 global members were based in North America, with a further 19 per cent in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and 15 per cent in Asia Pacific.

■ 24 per cent of CFA society members describe themselves as portfolio managers, while 17 per cent are research analysts, and 8 per cent are chief executives.

■ 38 per cent of society members work primarily in equity investment, while 18 per cent work in fixed income, and 4 per cent are in private equity.