You Passed CFA® Level III – what to do now…?

You Passed Level III – what to do now…?

The first thing to do is give yourself a big pat on the back. With pass rates averaging at about 40% per level, getting through all three levels is a great achievement.

Once you recover from the celebrations, it is time to think about your next moves towards gaining the prestigious designation i.e. putting the well-earned letters after your name.

Getting the letters after your name

To recap on the rules, once you have passed the exams you are part way towards gaining the CFA® Charter i.e. to become a Charterholder. To get to this next level you have to apply for regular membership of the institute and prove your work experience.

To apply, you need to provide details of three professional references. If one of the references is a regular member of the local CFA® Society you only need to provide two references.  They will be asked to state how they know you and to briefly summarise your role or experience. They are not required to provide any detail, but a basic outline should be enough to verify the statement of experience that you provide to CFA® Institute.

There is no time limit on gathering the work experience or putting together your application. You need to provide 4 years of professional work experience in something linked to financial analysis or the investment process. If you are not sure whether your experience will count, the best thing to do is to give it a go in the online application form, focusing on any analytical and investment related elements. If they come back to you with any concerns or request for clarification you can provide more information as required. It may take a few rounds of communication to clarify that what you have done is acceptable.

For more information on the requirements, see the CFA Institute website.

Getting a Professional Reference

If you do not know any current members, don’t panic because local CFA® Societies often provide a service where they will sponsor people applying for membership. It is a good idea to join a local society anyway because the networking opportunities are invaluable.

If you know you are not going to be able to meet the work experience requirements, don’t be too despondent. You have still got the exams and you can state that on your CV. Even without those three letters, the exam success will pay testimony to your ability, knowledge and discipline, and that goes a long way in today’s job market. Remember, you can subsequently apply for charterholder status at any point in the future once you’ve gained the necessary work experience.

Professional development

One of the conditions of membership is to meet the ongoing CPD requirements. We can help with our wide range of financial services, tax and law PD courses. Until the end of 2016, BPP CFA® students can benefit from 20% off our financial services PD courses. Our course offering includes:

  • Behavioural Finance
  • Introduction to Financial Modelling
  • Advanced Financial Modelling using Excel & VBA
  • Basel III – Introduction
  • UCITS 5 & 6


CFA Institute does not endorse, promote, or warrant the accuracy or quality of the products or services covered by BPP Professional Education or BPP Learning Media. CFA Institute, CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are trademarks owned by CFA Institute.

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