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Subject 22. Standard VII (B) Reference to CFA Institute, the CFA Designation, and the CFA Program PDF Download


B. Reference to CFA Institute, the CFA Designation, and the CFA Program.

When referring to CFA Institute, CFA Institute membership, the CFA designation, or candidacy in the CFA Program, Members and Candidates must not misrepresent or exaggerate the meaning or implications of membership in CFA Institute, holding the CFA designation, or candidacy in the CFA Program.

CFA Institute's members, CFA charterholders, and candidates in the CFA program must utilize their designation in the correct manner so as not to mislead the investing public. Since achievement of the CFA charter signifies a certain degree of knowledge, the public and clients expect a certain degree of knowledge when encountering the CFA designation.

CFA Institute membership

Requirements to be granted the right to use the CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst designation:

  • Pass all three levels of the CFA program.
  • Receive the charters.
  • Make an ongoing commitment to abide by the requirements of CFA Institute's Professional Conduct Program (including filing an annual professional conduct statement).
  • Due-paying (every year) and good standing.

If a member fails to meet any of these requirement, he or she cannot claim him- or herself to be a member.

Members should reference membership in a dignified and judicious manner; if necessary, this would include an accurate explanation of the requirements for obtaining membership.

Using the Chartered Financial Analyst designation

CFA charterholders may use the term "Chartered Financial Analyst" or "CFA" in a proper, dignified, and judicious manner (if necessary, with an accurate explanation of the requirements for obtaining the right to use the designation).

Referencing candidacy in the CFA Program

CFA candidates may reference their participation in the CFA Program, but the reference must clearly state that an individual is a CFA candidate and cannot imply that the candidate has achieved any type of partial designation.

  • To be a candidate, a person's application should have been accepted, and he or she should be enrolled to sit for a specified exam (for which he or she has not received exam results or failed to sit).

  • There is no designation for someone who has passed Level I, II or III of the CFA examinations.

  • Candidates may indicate that they have completed Level I, II or III of the CFA program. However, candidates cannot imply that they have achieved partial designation even if they have passed all three levels of the exam.

About the CFA mark

  • It is registered in many countries (along with Chartered Financial Analyst).
  • It does not serve as an acronym, cannot be used as a noun, and should never be used in the plural or the possessive.
  • Only CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst should appear after the charterholder's name. "John Smith, CFA," or "John Smith, Chartered Financial Analyst," is correct.


  • Advertisements: can mention that an individual has passed all three exams on the first try, but cannot mention that an individual has accomplished what few others have done, or that the designation implies superior performance capabilities.

  • Placing "CFA Level II Candidate" after a candidate's name implies that this a partial designation, which is a violation.

  • The designation "CFA" cannot be listed in a typeset larger than that used for the charterholder's name.


  • Richard is a CFA (or Chartered Financial Analyst): WRONG!
  • Richard is a CFA charterholder. He earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. CORRECT.

User Contributed Comments 23

User Comment
cornell Can you put CFA Level I on your Biz card/company marketing material? I now have seen two company packets listing Joe Smith, Level I type stuff...with major firms!
Just trying to verify.....thanks.
ted No you cannot. It implies a partial designation. This is the biggest ethics softball question in the world. That said, major firms screw these things up all the time - how many bios have you seen that say "so and so is a CFA"?
CodLife can't you say that so and so is working towards the CFA designation and then state which level the candidate is currently registered for?
Maclover My question would there even enough room on your business card for all of that???
ted yeah you can say you are a level x candidate or have successfully completed level x. look at any investment firm, many have this listed in their bio section for employees.
but who would put this on their business card. even though its allowed, how stupid would it be to put level x candidate on your card.
thirsty Yes, you could say that XYZ is a CFA Level X candidate, if that were true (i.e. is signed up for the next sitting of the exam).
But you cannot say Name, Level I. Or Name, Level III.
I can't imagine you could, or would, fit the correct nomenclature on a business card. Marketing materials are another thing.
corner Can I put on my business card,
"Failed level II with high marks"
joseph I remember a very well-known private bank in Switzerland which employees who had passed L1 or any level put that on their business cards.... the funny part is that the president of the bank is on the board of the CFA Institute .....anyway.....
Ghost They should have done it like this:
John Smith CFA Leve 1 / Full Fledged CFA
John Smith 33% of the way to being a full CFA
waters24 the example above is an example of what not to do / what is appropriate is to state that Joe Shoe is currently a Level II candidate for the 200_(upcoming year's ) CFA exam. The way your example is stated implies partial designation, which is a no no
asianl6 you have to pay a periodic fee after you get the charter in addition to the outrageous fees for taking the test? that's ridiculous.
SueLiu Agree with the above! At least they let you say you got your CFA charter in XXXX year if you don't pay your dues.
rethan Can someone explain to me what is meant by "cannot use CFA as a noun"?Thanks
ggupta Rethan:

I cannot say that Rethan is a CFA. Here CFA is used as a now. It can be used only as an adjective, which qualifies a noun.
Rethan is a CFA charterholder.
JakeZ I love this section.
Makes me imagine the day I get my CFA and considering how I should flash it on my business card :)
agungdananjaya So as the summarize even we finished and passed level 1,we cant put cfa after our name right ppl?must to complete 3 level till we can put cfa after our name on biz card? :)
quanttrader if passed level x of CFA, then list on CV completed level x of CFA program
Sam123456 Yeah asiani6, they want everyone to be unbiased and can't accept gifts, etc....but the membership lol
gill15 Whats funny is....I'm done studying for the exam pretty much....and all this time I thought it was Certified Financial analyst. CHartered...who knew...imagine getting that wrong on the exam.
abellochs It's sad and not funny. SMH
tybe0012 does not serve as an acronym and cannot be used as a noun
gerdvar I wanted to be John Smith, dank CFA, but apparently that's improper and a violation
DrewEB86 It states above that it is a violation to place "CFA Level II Candidate" after a member's name, so to everyone above, as far as CFA is concerned you can't do it.

I think Waters24 has the right interpretation, it is a statement of fact and not a misrepresentation. They don't want everyone and their mother having "CFA Level I Candidate" next to their name until the end of time.
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