CFA Institute

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The CFA Institute is headquartered in the United States of America at Charlottesville, Virginia with offices in Hong Kong and London. Formerly known as the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR), the Institute awards the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. In addition to administering the CFA Exam, the CFA Institute publishes the Financial Analysts Journal (founded 1945). The CFA Institute also operates the CFA Institute Centre for Financial Market Integrity and the CFA Research Foundation.



In 1925, an organization of investment analysts founded the Investment Analyst Society of Chicago. Similar organizations were formed elsewhere starting with the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) in 1937. In 1947, the organizations merged to create an umbrella organization, the National Federation of Financial Analysts Societies (NFFAS). As societies were formed, they too joined the national organization.

In 1959, the member societies voted to form the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts (ICFA) for the purpose of providing the CFA certification. ICFA offered the first CFA Exam in 1963 and adopted a three-exam format in 1964. The NFFAS, now the Financial Analyst Federation (FAF), remained as an umbrella organization for the member societies.

After many years of operating separately, the two organizations voted in 1990 to move towards a merger as the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR). The organizations merged in 1999. In 2004, AIMR voted to change its name to the CFA Institute in order to reinforce its association with the CFA Charter that it issues. 112 member societies have also changed their names to reflect the global society's name change.

Today, the CFA Institute claims more than 83,000 members in 129 countries. There are 135 societies in 56 countries. More than half of the membership (48,934) is in the United States. Canada also has a significant presence with 10,642 members. Approximately 83% of total membership holds the CFA designation.

Quick Facts

The largest of the CFA Institute's member societies are:

  • New York Society of Security Analysts - 10,945 members
  • Toronto CFA Society - 6,289 members
  • United Kingdom Society of Investment Professionals - 5,241 members
  • The Hong Kong Society of Financial Analysts Limited - 4,399 members
  • The Boston Security Analysts Society - 4,526 members
  • CFA Society of Chicago - 3,377 members
  • CFA Society of San Francisco - 2,767 members
  • Florida has the largest number of societies (six) followed by California and Ohio (five).
  • The oldest society is in Chicago - founded 1925.
  • The youngest societies are in Egypt and Bahrain - both admitted in May 2006.


GIPS (Global Investment Performance Standards) is set of standards for the presentation of investment performance information, established by the CFA Institute in 1999 with the aim of creating ethical, global and industry-wide methods of communicating investment results to prospective clients.

A key concept of GIPS is that performance should be presented for composites that must include all fee-paying discretionary accounts managed by a firm or money manager for a given investment strategy or objective. This is to avoid selection bias: only including accounts with good returns.CFA Institute GIPS site

GIPS standards represent ethical principles that establish a practitioner-driven, industry-wide approach to follow in calculating and reporting historical investment results for presentation to prospective clients. The GIPS standards arose from the absence of meaningful comparison among reported investment results, even by ethical firms. Several performance measurement practices made comparability difficult, while other practices cast doubt on the credibility of performance reporting in the industry:

  1. Account Selection
  2. Surviviorship Bias
  3. Varying measurement periods

CFA Institute involvement in financial reform

The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) was signed into law by President Obama on 21 July 2010. This law is the most comprehensive rewrite of financial market regulation since the 1930s. CFA Institute staff monitored the progress of the legislation over the past year and met with legislators and their staff to explain investor perspectives on financial reform.

Implementation of the law now falls to the regulatory agencies who will draft new rules. CFA Institute will remain engaged in the rulemaking process to advocate for market integrity and appropriate investor protections.


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