EUROPE – This year has seen a boom in demand from investment professionals to take the global Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certificate, with numbers applying in Europe for the 2001 March deadline shooting up by 42% in one year.

The huge increase in sign ups for the CFA credential, totalling 10,879 against 1,728 existing European CFA holders, is being interpreted as a sign that borders are rapidly disappearing in the global financial markets.

The CFA certificate, which is administered by the US based Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR), currently has more 36,000 holders world-wide in 94 countries, of which a large chunk are in the US.

Bob Johnson at AIMR, comments: “ I think the worldwide growth is an affirmation that what is in the CFA programme is a relevant body of knowledge for investment professionals.”
“ Recently I believe a factor that has contributed to growth is that borders are crashing down in the investment profession; especially in Europe if you think about the EU.
“ Capital markets are becoming much more interdependent.
“ If this weren’t the case then you would expect to see more cases of different programmes in each one of the jurisdictions.”

Johnson says the programme, which started in 1963, pays particular attention to ethical and professional standards, although he points out that this is just one of 11 topic areas to be mastered including quantitative analysis, financial statement analysis, equity, bond and derivative analysis, portfolio management and performance measurement.

He estimates that candidates spend in excess of 250 hours per year working to earn the CFA and believes that its industry grounding gives it an advantage over other forms of qualification.

“ On advantage of the CFA against university degrees and other country specific designations is that if you deal with some one or hire someone who has the CFA charter then you know exactly what they went through to get it.
“ Our programme whether you take it in Tampa or Tokyo is exactly the same.”