How To Become A Chartered Financial Analyst in Malaysia

The CFA qualification adds a lot of value to your professional portfolio. A CFA charterholder and membership gives you access to prestigious career resources, insights into regional financial problems, and a community of like-minded individuals.

We provide information on becoming a chartered financial analyst in Malaysia and the CFA Program.

What is a chartered financial analyst?

A chartered financial analyst (CFA) is a globally-recognized professional qualification awarded by the CFA Institute. It is widely regarded to be the gold standard in the field of investment analysis.

A CFA possesses the expertise and skills to succeed in the competitive world of finance. Moreover, they are respected worldwide for their dedication to ethics and professionalism. CFA charterholders are eligible to take senior and executive roles in various industries, including asset management, risk management, and investment management.

To become a charterholder, candidates must pass 3 challenging tests, earn a bachelor’s degree, and have at least 4 years of relevant professional experience.

What is the CFA charter?

The CFA charter is globally accredited and legally recognized by investors, investment practitioners, employers, regulators, and the media in Malaysia. It is globally the highest ethical, educational, and professional standard in an investment community.

A CFA charterholders have an advantage over other job applicants for jobs in investment banking, asset management, or research, whether in Malaysia or overseas.

You must pass 3 tests – Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 – to obtain a CFA charter. These exams evaluate your understanding of every aspect of principles, from economics to corporate finance.

To become a well-rounded financial expert, you’ll learn asset valuation, cash flow projection, portfolio management, macroeconomic fundamentals, etc.

Globally, there are around 100,000 CFA charterholders. However, considering how many applicants there are for positions in corporate finance, asset management, and investment banking internationally, this is a modest amount.

The CFA might be your ticket into investment banks like Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, and others if you wish to work in finance. You will be at a competitive advantage over candidates that lack the distinction.

Additionally, the CFA charter can be obtained as a way to enter the financial sector even if you don’t have any prior experience in finance. However, you won’t be able to receive your charter until you’ve completed at least 4 years of work experience.

Benefits of becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst

Global credibility

The CFA charter is a well-known and esteemed investment certificate worldwide. It has a five-decade track record of upholding a strict concentration on internationally applicable investing expertise. A CFA charter provides you with credibility in almost every country.

Career advantages

Employers perceive the CFA charter as the gold standard for evaluating the knowledge, moral character, and commitment of serious investment professionals. Therefore,  A CFA membership means an advantage when applying for jobs.

Gain practical skills and knowledge

The CFA Program curriculum strongly emphasizes the current knowledge and abilities needed in international investment management. You will learn skills instantly applicable in the workplace from the beginning of your study.

It is convenient

Since the CFA Program is a self-study course, you may balance it with your personal and professional obligations while completing it. Most applicants need 2 to 5 years to complete the program, although it can be finished in as little or as much time as you require.

There is no limit on the number of times you may take any level of exam, and your exam results are always valid.

Chartered financial analyst requirements – Pathway

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Here is the pathway you need to know before becoming a CFA and to preparing for the program.

1. Become a CFA program candidate

One of the following entry requirements must be fulfilled to become a CFA program candidate:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification, OR
  • Be in your last year of a bachelor’s degree program at the time of registration, OR
  • Possess 4 years of professional work experience (not necessarily in the investing industry), OR
  • Have a minimum of 4 years of professional job experience and education combined. Part-time employment is ineligible, and the four-year total must be accumulated before enrollment.
  • A valid international travel passport (needed for exam registration and entry to the test center).

A quick and practical way to obtain an internationally recognized professional certification is to enroll in UOW Malaysia’s Bachelor of Accounting (Hons) program, developed in tandem with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

In addition, OUWM provides merit-based financial aid through sponsorships, scholarships, and tuition waivers for deserving students.

2. Pass Charted Financial Analyst exams (Levels 1, 2, and 3)

The CFA Program has three curriculum levels, each with a separate exam. To obtain the CFA charter, you must pass all the exams.

Level 1 consists of comprehension questions on investment tools and evaluates your understanding of ethical and professional standards.

Level 2 emphasizes more complicated analysis and valuing assets and tests your ability to apply those criteria to the situations analysts encounter.

Level 3 assesses your ability to apply the standards with regard to portfolio management and compliance context. It also calls for the synthesis of all the concepts and analytical methods in a range of applications.

3. Work experience requirements

Fulfill work experience requirements before, during, or after joining the CFA program. Your experience must have a direct bearing on the decision-making process for investments or on creating a work product that contributes to or enhances that process.

4. Professional references for membership application

You will need at least 2 to 3 professional references to support your membership application. References will be questioned about your work experience and professional demeanor.

5. Apply for CFA Institute membership

Make an application to join the CFA Institute as a regular member. The CFA charter will be yours after the application is accepted and you have joined the CFA Institute.

Chartered financial analyst jobs

As a CFA charterholder, you might work in the following professions:

  • Investment analysis
  • Portfolio management
  • Research
  • Consulting
  • Risk analysis and risk management
  • Relationship management and data science
  • Credit analysis
  • Chief investment officer
  • Financial trading
  • Accounting and auditing
  • Financial planning
  • Sales and trading

Where can I study CFA in Malaysia?

You can enroll online with an invoice payment option. Please refer to CFA Institute’s website to register and access study materials and candidate resources to begin the CFA Program.

How much does CFA cost in Malaysia?

Your overall exam fees will change based on the following factors:

  • How early you register for the exams.
  • How often you retake the exams.

In 2021, a one-time registration fee of USD450 is charged for first-time candidates. Additionally, there is a registration fee for each exam level you take. Early registration fees are USD700, and late registration costs USD1,000.

Therefore, if you succeed in all three stages the first time, your overall expense would be:

Enrollment fee (USD450) + level one early bird registration (USD700), level two early bird registration (USD700), and level three early bird registration (USD700).

Thus, the total cost will be USD2,550 and hence, you must spend a minimum of RM10,000 to take the exams.

After paying the fees, you’ll receive a digital copy of the CFA textbooks as your study guide. However, most individuals find it difficult to learn just from textbooks. As such, you may need to purchase other course materials and study aids to assist you in learning the subject and preparing for the tests.

There are a few institutions in Malaysia that provide CFA courses. For instance, FIRIX offers a preparatory course for around RM5,300 for each level.

Chartered financial analyst salary

In Malaysia, the average salary for a Chartered Financial Analyst is RM88,856 per year or RM43 per hour. Depending on where you work and your position, a Chartered Financial Analyst can expect to earn an annual salary between RM62,566 and RM107,408. Senior positions will, of course, pay more.

Is CFA worth it in Malaysia?

Completing the CFA Program adds great significance to your professional portfolio, but being a CFA charterholder and member of the CFA Society Malaysia further enhances your profile by giving you the following:

  • A supportive community.
  • Leading career resources.
  • Perspectives on local financial challenges.
  • International networking opportunities.

The CFA designation is regarded as a Gold Standard distinguishing one from others in the financial and investing sector. A charterholder’s knowledge of and outlook on the world financial market is expanded.

The charter serves as the voice of investment professionals and aspires to develop the financial skills necessary to support the country’s economy. Thus, a CFA is worth it compared to the fees you pay for it.


The UOW Malaysia curriculum benefits students preparing for the CFA Program exams since it strongly relates to investment management. As can be observed, CFA charterholders are highly sought after in the job market and is highly beneficial.

Visit UOW Malaysia to learn more about the courses offered, which will help you on your journey of becoming a CFA.


22 June 2023


Education and Career