【CFA Exam】How to become a CFA member after passing CFA level 3 exam?

How to become a CFA member after passing CFA level 3 exam? | Will I get penalized if I claim to be a CFA member before registration? | How to find my professional references?



11/6/20233 min read

  • Within like 2 months after taking the CFA Level 3 exam, you will receive an email notification of your exam result. Unlike the previous two levels, CFA Level 3 will not provide scores or sectional breakdown. You’ll only know if you pass or fail.

  • If you pass, congratulations! You are only one small step away from becoming a CFA Charterholder!

  • DO NOT immediately rush to update your LinkedIn profile and add the “, CFA” suffix to your name. Still remeber CFA Ethics? You must pay the membership fee to become a CFA Regular Member. If you pass Level 3 and immediately proclaim to be a CFA member, you may be immediately penalized or even disqualified!

  • So, what you should do is to make an application to be a CFA Regular Member via the CFA official website if you have fulfilled these requirements:

  1. Passed all 3 levels of the CFA exams (which you have!);

  2. Accumulated at least 4000 hours of relevant working hours;

  3. Find 2–3 professional references; and

  4. Pay the US$299 annual membership fee

  • First, fill in your relevant work experience, preferably related to investment decision making. Candidates who take the CFA exams are usually working in the financial or banking industry, so there should be at least some degree of relevance to investment decision making. For example, an economic research analyst forms a house view on macroeconomics, which will indirectly affects the investment decisions of fund managers. A corporate banking relationship manager advises clients on their companies’ capital structures and investment actions, which are also related to the companies’ investment decisions.

  • Next, find your professional references. You’ll only need to provide the name and email address of your references, and then your refereers will receive an email asking them to write a few points to prove your technical expertise, analytical abilities, communication skills and professionalism.

  • In my opinion, your best choice is to find someone who is both a CFA Member and your (ex-)colleague as a professioanl reference, because as long as one of the recommenders is a CFA Member, only 2 references are enough, or else you’ll need 3. (If one of them is a CFA Member, please do not fill in the 3rd referrer, because the system will only accept the first two referrers who submit reference, and the link will be invalid when the 3rd referrer clicks in.)

  • Also, as they are working with you or have worked with you before, the professioanl references can confirm that your relevant work experience is valid and relevant to financial investment, which will increase the credibility of your application.

  • If you are not sure whether your (ex-)colleague is a CFA Regular Member, you can go to the official member directory and enter his full name to search.

  • If you can’t think of a suitable friend as your professional reference, you can also try to search on LinkedIn any colleagues in your company who are CFA members .

  • Next, you are ready to submit your application.

  • In general, you will receive a membership approval notice within a few days, and you can pay the membership fee at this time.

  • The annual membership fee is for the period from 1 July of each year to 30 June of the next year —so, if it is less than one year from now to June 30 of the next year, it will be calculated pro rata.

  • Don’t forget to check your company’s subsidy policy. Many large corporations do provide subsidies for employees’ annual professional qualification fees.

  • A few days later, you will receive an email notifying you that you have become an official CFA Charterholder. At this time, you truly become a CFA Charterholder. Now, you can finally add the “,CFA” suffix to your name on your LinkedIn profile and CV.

  • And a few more days later, you will receive the official digital badge via email, and you can post the Banso URL to LinkedIn certification to prove that you have truly obtained the CFA professional qualification.

Good luck! Hope this article is helpful to you.