The CFA Institute is making several significant changes to the chartered financial analyst program, including new modules focused on teaching applicants digital skills around programming, data science and artificial intelligence and new job-role pathways focused on private wealth and private markets.
Christopher Wiese, Charlottesville, Va.-based managing director of education and head of credentialing at the CFA Institute, said in an email that the program must change over time to keep pace with the wants and needs of employers and candidates. "We went through intensive efforts to get feedback directly from employers, candidates, prospective candidates and the industry at large," he said.
Among the changes will be the introduction of "self-contained, digital practical skills modules" designed to teach candidates practical applications including financial modeling and Python programming along with skills around data science and artificial intelligence.
These modules will appear as self-contained 10-15 hour courses that focus on highly practical, real-world applications, Mr. Wiese noted. "They will not be graded. Completion will be required, but they will not be tested on the CFA exam," he said.
Also, beginning in 2025, the institute will introduce two new specialized pathways at Level III for private wealth and private markets, while also maintaining the traditional portfolio management path. "Candidates can select a path that teaches content more directly related to their interests and aspirations. ... No matter which pathway a candidate chooses, it will continue to be in pursuit of one credential: the CFA charter," a spokeswoman noted in an email.
About $130 trillion of the $230 trillion in total investible assets is managed by private wealth firms, with private equity alone amounting to $10 trillion in assets, Mr. Wiese noted. The private equity general partner role is "arguably the most coveted role in finance today," he added.
Additionally, the CFA Institute will reduce the volume of study materials at each level to guarantee candidates' preparation time remains at about 300 hours for each exam after research found that candidates had been spending more than 300 hours to study for each level of the program.