Welcome to our CFA Continuing Education informative guide.
We’ve rounded up all the critical measures you need to take to acquire your Chartered Financial Analyst Continuing Education in this guide.
This guide should help you fulfill the recommended CFA CE Credits, allowing you to remain employable and broaden your knowledge of current industry trends.
This guide will go over:
So let’s jump straight into it!
How to earn CFA Continuing Education (CE) credits?
With the global economy constantly changing, the investment industry is the biggest to be considerably impacted by these changes.
Due to this, Investment professionals like Chartered Financial Analysts are continually adapting to change by keeping up to date with new trends, policy changes, evolving concepts, and professional standards.
Financial Analysts stay informed by undergoing continuing education to inform financial investment professionals about current changing practices.
The CFA Institute offers its continuing education to active members, which they refer to as the Professional Learning Program.
However, if you do not benefit from the CFA Institute as a member, there are other ways to ensure you keep up to date with current knowledge surrounding CFA Practices.
Before we get to those, though, let’s look at obtaining Professional Learning from the CFA Institute’s Financial Advisor Association.
Getting involved in the CFA Institute’s Financial Advisor Association
A CFA Institute member has immediate access to continuing education opportunities, as the CFA Institute is big on having CFA Charterholders update their career knowledge.
For one, they offer educational publications and learning sessions where CFA Charterholder can engage with current investment industry knowledge.
Additionally, they offer supported events that aim to help members update their skills in Investment Management, Portfolio Management, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Derivatives, and other CFA Subject areas.
Finally, because the CFA Institute created Local Analyst Societies to spread the word of the CFA Designation (at an extra fee), CFA members can benefit from the local CFA society events, which also serve to inform CFAs about industry-related knowledge, counting as CE.
The local Societies often hold luncheons and present information valuable to CFA’s wanting to keep on top of investment industry trends.
Attending CFA events automatically gains you CE Credits which we will explain this in-depth towards the end of this guide.
You can also earn CE Credits without the aid of an educational body, like the CFA Institute.
When engaging in Self-study, the CFA Institute requires that you interact with the study material that teaches more than one investment topic and relates to the issues shared in the Global Body of Investment Knowledge Book.
Furthermore, the study material has to be tailored to facilitate building your knowledge areas and skillsets in the investment industry.
The benefits of self-study are that you can choose your study content based on the work you are currently interacting with and based on your time availability and ideal methods of studying.
The only thing you need to note is that with self-study, the CFA Institute will not automatically track your educational activity and assign you CE Credits.
You’ll be responsible for tracking your Continuing Education Credits by using the PL Tracker, a tracking tool offered by the CFA Institute.
When tracking your CE Credits, remember to record one hour of educational activity as one CE Credit or 1 PL credit.
You can also obtain CE Credits through educational activities set by your employer.
For example, should you engage with on-the-job training, in-house webinars, or workshops, this counts as continuing education.
All you need to do is record how many hours you spend with in-house education and record it with CFA Institute as PL Credits.
Offerings from third parties
Every other educational activity you undertake, which builds your CFA knowledge, can be recorded as continuing education under third-party offerings.
An example of these includes live educational events, technical readings, and university courses, to mention a few.
While the CFA Institute seems to offer considerable freedom on how its members manage obtaining CE or PL Credits, they still suggest requirements that they recommend you follow.
We will discuss these in the next section.
CE Commitment requirements
The CFA Institute recommends that its members obtain at least 20 PL Credits annually to keep up to date with ever-evolving industry practices.
The 20 PL Credits have to include 2 Standards, Ethics, and Regulations (SER) credits, focusing on ethical considerations that investment professionals should uphold globally.
You can obtain your 2 SER Credits by exploring the CFA Institute’s Ethics content or other third-party content that explores topics in the code of ethics, standards, laws, regulations, and professional conduct.
As mentioned earlier in this guide, the CFA Institute requires you to translate one hour of educational activity as 1 PL Credit when recording your PL Credits.
You can also calculate your PL Credits for half an hour of educational sessions as 0.50 PL Credits or quarter hours as 0.25 PL Credits.
However, you can’t reward yourself with credit hours if your educational activity is less than a quarter-hour.
When engaging in self-study that perhaps involves reading or studying material, you will be required to record your credit hours through these methods.
- Generalists readings: For reading that isn’t specialized or highly technical, award yourself 2 minutes of educational activity for every page read
- Clock Time: When engaging in educational activity, allocate PL Credits according to the exact time spent on the activity
- Technical Readings: When reading highly specialized material, the CFA Institute recommends that you award yourself 4 minutes of educational activity for every four pages read
Finally, the CFA Institute will not allow a single educational activity to be recorded for completing the entire 20 PL Credits.
This means that you can not perhaps read one textbook and claim that you spent enough time on it to achieve 20 PL Credits.
You’ll have to go through more than one educational material to be eligible to attain your 20 PL Credits.
Recording Continuing Education Hours
The CFA Institute automatically records the PL Credits for activities associated with their live events or events held by their local societies.
CFA Institute Members also automatically receive PL Credits for volunteering at any of their events and even passing your Level I, Level II, or Level III exams.
However, when you engage in educational activity outside the above-listed instances, you’ll have to record your PL Credits manually.
You’ll need to access their PL Tracker on the CFA Institute website and then add credits based on the eligible activity you underwent.
Once you have completed your annual 20 PL Credit hours, you can make an attestation to the CFA Institute, to which they will give you a certificate as recognition of your achievement.
Should your employer enquire about your CFA continuing education, you may provide them with the certificate from the CFA Institute as validation of your work.
Is the CFA Continuing Education Mandatory?
While professional development helps Finance professionals acquire relevant skills and knowledge to remain competitive in their jobs, the CFA Institute does not make acquiring CFA Continuing Education Mandatory.
Despite the CFA Institute putting high regard for professionals who choose to keep their industry knowledge current by choosing to embark on CFA CE, there are no repercussions for those that don’t.
Unlike other financial credentials like CPAs that will get their designations revoked should they not adhere to the annual CPE regulations, CFAs will likely not be in that position.
However, in the long run, not attaining continuing education will impact your ability to work efficiently.
Although the CFA continuing education is not mandatory, the CFA Institute highly recommends that its members fulfill their annual suggested requirements to improve their career knowledge.
Plus, employers just generally like workers who pursue current knowledge, which helps them stay on top of industry trends and issues.
Hence, not engaging in CE could be doing yourself an injustice.
We hope that by reading this guide, you know exactly how to attain continuing education as a Chartered Financial Analyst so that you can remain competitive in your line of work.