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CFA exams and the doors they open

There’s three different stages to CFA exams, as you well know, but what do you gain from doing CFA III over CFA II? Here’s our handy guide to helping you understand just what it is that each exam offers to you and the industry options that become available as you traverse the ranks.


If you were to stop after passing the first set of CFA exams, granting you CFA I status, there are a number of industries that you are likely to end up in. A high number of CFA I graduates are in the accounting sector (especially in the big four), and in asset management.

Further to this, the equity sector takes their fair share of CFA I graduates, as does risk management, but interestingly, there are a higher number of CFA II graduates in both of these areas.


As stated above, equity and risk management are both sectors who seem to welcome CFA II graduates, but compared to all other levels, a higher number of CFA II graduates go into both investment and corporate banking.

Results show that as a CFA II graduate, you’re less likely to go into the hedge fund industry than at any other CFA level. Debt and fixed income also accounts for a lower proportion of CFA I and II graduates.

CFA III (Charterholder)

Once you’ve passed your final CFA exams it’s reasonably obvious that you’ll be more qualified for almost every aspect that you’ve studied for, but there are some industries where this is more prevalent than others.

A higher proportion of Charterholders go into Debt and fixed income, Equity roles and hedge fund management than any other level of CFA graduate. Funnily enough, however, there is no evidence to suggest that any level of CFA qualification gets you any further into the world of trading.

By Jack J Collins, Editor,

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