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If you study the CFA, you will have a 38% chance of earning more than £80k

I could have been learning to salsa

I could have been learning to salsa

As a follow-up to our recent article on the difficulty of passing the CFA and our previous article on pay per qualification, we’d like to follow-up with a closer look at the compensation enjoyed by those who pass the CFA exams.

This has long been something of a mystery. The last time the CFA Institute monitored compensation levels for its members was back in 2007, when it elicited the results shown in the table below. These suggested that median compensation varied from $121k (£76k) to $437k (£277k) depending upon experience and whether you were an equity analyst or a portfolio manager focused on equities or fixed income.

Has CFA pay fallen dramatically since? It’s hard to say on a like-for-like basis. However, as the number of people taking the CFA exams has increased and as an increasingly broad range of jobs is associated with CFA qualifications, it may be that the associated level of pay has fallen.

Our own stats suggest the average job for which some kind of CFA qualification is specified in London pays around £66k. The graph below, based on figures taken from eFinancialCareers UK on two days this month, suggests the bulk of CFA-related jobs command compensation less than £80k. Hardly any will pay £150k or more.

As ever, there are caveats here. Firstly, the jobs we’re looking at are open to people who’ve only passed CFA Level 1. By comparison, 80% of the people the CFA surveyed in 2007 were full charterholders. Secondly, the data we have is derived from advertisements on this site. Maybe there’s a treasure trove of higher paid CFA jobs hidden on the books of asset management headhunters. Then again, maybe there isn’t.

Comments (5)

Comments
  1. Would be interesting to see before and after salaries (and years of work experience), as the CFA survey could be confusing causality and correlation. After all, you must have at least 3 years experience to become a charterholder, at which point you may well be on over 80k.

  2. well, not just CFA designation but many factors have to be considered before paying such salary such many years of suitable work experience/ knowledge of products/ client back up / sales / marketing etc. I have many CFA ‘s who are mere dumb when it comes to public speaking in my opinion just designation but other factors matter a lot!!!

  3. “If you study the CFA, you will have a 38% chance of earning more than £80k” -> given those odds, you should probably spend your time studying something else…

  4. Anyone thinking that maybe pay for CFA-ers is going down because employers are finally realizing it’s the most overrated “qualification” ever??

    And btw, I wonder what the ethics guidelines would have to say about use of the term CFA-er … they’re very worried about whether you can use “CFA” as a noun or an adjective, but I bet they never saw that one coming!!

  5. Excellent article as always, Sarah. But I suspect what you really want to do is look at Equity Analysts et al, of a certain experience WITHOUT the CFA compared to the same WITH the CFA and THEN see how pay is different. Probably easier said than done, but that would be a proper test. I’m sitting CFA2 in June 2012 and so would find this interesting. I’m beginning to get the feeling the CFA is not a nugget of gold on my CV, but I still hope it’s worth something.

    DukeOfLancasterVI Reply
     

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