Over the years, CFA course has gained a lot of popularity, more so in India. The growth in number of candidates registering for CFA in India has been rising at 30% YoY for the last 7 years, and today India is the 3rd largest market for CFA after China and US.

This brings a lot of competition among the candidates, both in terms of clearing the exams as well as securing a job. It’s safe to say that the Job seekers in the industry has increased but at the same time finance companies have only started to grow in India.

According to NSE (National Stock Exchange) only 2.3% of the entire Indian population has invested in capital markets where as the figure is close to 78% in US. Now, just imagine the amount of inflow capital markets we will witness when the Indian population gradually starts to move their money from their savings and other asset classes towards capital markets.

Hence, going by all these data points one can easily conclude that there is going be big demand for skilled finance experts for the foreseeable future.

CFA Salary in India

We all know how well the banking industry pays, one of the most highly paid industry is banking. In US the average pay of a banker with fair amount of work experience and with any big conglomerate firm is north of USD $ 200,000.

Pay is in par with other industries in the initial 3-4 years of your career but it starts to grow exponentially once you reach a certain level.

A CFA charter with about 15+ years in the industry typically makes a minimum of INR 50,00,000 annually in India. Also the best part about CFA is that recognition starts from level- 1 itself and you can start working while prepping for level 2 and level 3.

As you move up the ladder, the salaries also moves parallel. Given below is data of salaries which a CFA Candidate gets after clearing different levels of examination, in tabular format

Level of CFA Cleared Average Annual Salary (INR)
Level 1 3 to 4.5 Lakh
Level 2 6 Lakh
Level 3 Above 10 Lakh

CFA Institute Salary Survey

The CFA Institute recently conducted a compensation survey for CFA Program candidates and charterholders in India, and here are some of the results:

1. The annual average salary range for new Level 1 candidates to CFA charterholders is between ₹9.8 lakh and ₹44 lakh.

2. Specific salary breakdowns:
– CFA Level 1 candidates: ₹9.8 lakh
– CFA Level 2 candidates: ₹13.5 lakh
– CFA Level 3 candidates: ₹17.5 lakhs
– Charter pending candidates (Level 3 cleared): ₹20.7 lakh
– Charterholders: ₹44.4 lakh

3. The survey covered respondents aged between 23 and 34.

4. The male-female ratio starts at 73% male at Level 1, increasing to 90% at the Charterholder level.

5. Accountancy/auditing is a top functional area, with many new CFA Level 1 registrants working in this role.

6. As candidates progress and become CFA charterholders, a larger share gets an opportunity to work as equity or investment analysts.

7. The average annual income from new Level 1 candidates to recently awarded CFA charterholders increased by 192%.

8. To earn the CFA charter, candidates need to pass three levels of examination and accumulate 4,000 hours of work experience over a minimum of 36 months.

9. CFA Institute collaborated with Kantar, a leading marketing data and analytics company, to conduct the survey.

10. The survey received 2154 responses from participants across India.

11. Mumbai and Delhi were identified as the top two candidate markets.

Scope of CFA in India

CFA is a very generic finance course and it is not particularly specified to any particular asset class. CFA covers every asset class on an in depth basis in terms of its core fundamentals and uses. This results in an array of opportunities as it is not confined to just equity or bonds or real estate or derivatives.

CFA opens up career paths in almost every asset class and you will come across CFA(s) in every domain in the industry. Although most CFA candidates want to build their career as a buy side equity analyst and portfolio management but there are a lot many other choices like Quantitative data analyst, Trader, Consultant, Alternate investments, Real estate, Fixed income, Investment banking, Private equity, etc.

So, clearly the scope post CFA is huge, and one can pick their own choice of interest and specialize in that. The scope further widens if one acquires other skill sets necessary in the industry which CFA syllabus does not cover – Financial modeling, Pitch Books, Valuations etc.

Companies Hiring CFA in India

This data is collected from CFA institute career website, Indeed, monster, Naukri, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and some other job portals.

Some of the top Employers looking specifically for CFA are:

  • JP Morgan Chase and Co. (JPMC)
  • United Bank of Scotland (UBS)
  • Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
  • HSBC
  • Wells Fargo
  • Citi Group
  • Morgan Stanley
  • HDFC, Kotak Mahindra, ICICI
  • Barclays
  • Bloomberg
  • Carlyle Group
  • Blackstone
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Fidelity
  • Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PWC
  • Standard Chartered
  • Jefferies
  • Bluecrest Capital
  • General Atlantic
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Bank of America
  • Merrill Lynch
  • BNP Paribas
  • Bajaj Finance
  • Nomura

These are some of the top firms that recruit CFA Charter holders and anywhere between 1% to 6% of the entire workforce in these organizations are a CFA.

Roles Offered By Top Employers

Roles are mainly in the capital markets, divided across different asset classes within the market. Roles are in the entry level during the start of your career and post you gain your Charter you can expect to move up the ladder into mid-level and executive level roles going ahead.

Don’t be shy to grab internship opportunities in these roles at the start of your career as it is very crucial to understand what exactly that role entails and what responsibilities they come with.

Below are some of the most aimed at roles and also the ones with the highest number of CFAs currently present in:

  • Buy Side Equity Research
  • Research Analyst
  • Portfolio Management
  • Risk Management
  • Financial Advisory
  • Consultancy
  • Trading in various asset classes
  • Investment Banking
  • Accounting/ Auditing
  • Corporate Finance
  • Private Equity/ Venture Capital
  • Merchant Banking