For those who are willing to make a career in the field of finance, there are a number of opportunities for the person who is rightly qualified to be so. Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) and the Chartered Financial Planners (CFP) are two of the most coveted finance courses which can be undertaken by the candidates interested in core finance. These two are different from the MBA, where the focus is more on the correct administration of the business and finance is taught from that perspective only. CFP and CFA are more specialized in their course and content than the MBA.
But, since both are coveted, the candidates are often not aware of the key difference between them. To begin with, their names tell the difference prime facie. One deal essentially with planning and the other is more towards analysis and research. The Chartered Financial Planner title can be got after passing the examination conducted by the International Board of Standards and Practices. They give advice mainly to individuals with respect to the way the planning of their finances shall be done in order to achieve their financial goals. It concerns mainly with the retirement planning, stock investing, real-estate investing and other similar avenues of financial planning at the level of an individual. Their role is to deal comprehensively with the planning part with an objective to reduce the tax liability of the individuals as well as to secure their investments.
The CFA is the person who is considered to be a specialist rather than a generalist, like the CFP. The Chartered Financial Analyst title is conferred by the Association for Investment Management and Research after a person passes the three exams. Their role is essentially of the institutional advisors as they offer the advice to various institutions like mutual funds, insurance companies, etc. Their knowledge is of a more specialized nature, focusing on the stock market analysis and likewise specialized financial analysis work. The key focus of their work is on the development and management of the investment portfolios.
If you are willing to pursue any of these courses, you need to ascertain your true interest and inclination. You shall also consider your knowledge of mathematics, since if it is good you can go for CFA which requires better knowledge of mathematics. You can have the option of either working independently or seeking employment with some financial institution or bank. If you are a CFP then the role will be oriented more towards the handling of the clients and offering their expert advice to them. In case you are a CFA, you are more likely to get a back end job where the work is more towards managing the portfolios, seeking the investments in the different areas as per the risk tolerance of the clients.
Since these titles can be had only after the due procedure of clearing the required examinations, therefore complete focus shall be on clearing the exams and also maintaining good ethical conduct and practices since these are highly valued in this profession.