CFA vs Series 7 – Which is More Helpful ?

CFA vs Series 7 – In the comparative article, we are going to discuss CFA exam, an important financial credential, and Series 7 license, a prerequisite laid down by FINRA for those engaged in trading of securities. This should help those contending these two qualifications to make an informed choice in keeping with their individual eligibility and preferences.

The article will give you information as per below –

  1. CFA vs Series 7 Infographics
  2. What is CFA?
  3. What is Series 7?
  4. CFA vs Series 7 Exam Requirements
  5. Why pursue CFA?
  6. Why pursue Series 7?

CFA vs Series 7 Infographics

Reading time : 90 seconds

Lets understand the difference between these two streams with the help of this CFA vs Series 7 Infographics.

cfa vs series 7 infographics

What is CFA?

CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) certification is considered the ‘gold standard’ of investment management and financial analysis, designed to validate expert knowledge and capabilities of professionals in these and related fields. Offered by CFA Institute, USA, this is undoubtedly one of the most reputed certification programs in finance that help professionals acquire advanced capabilities in highly specialized knowledge areas including portfolio management, financial analysis and financial advisory among other areas. It has one of the lowest passing rates among financial credentials, making it one of the most difficult to acquire, and one of the most sought-after as well in the financial industry.

What is Series 7 License?

It should be clearly understood at the very outset that Series 7 is a license unlike CFA which stands for a certification. The scope and contents of Series 7 exam are definitely much more limited as compared to CFA and are specifically aimed at helping those engaged in sale and purchase of financial products acquire necessary knowledge and skills for the job. To sit for Series 7 exam, an individual must be sponsored by a FINRA member firm and is also a prerequisite to appear for a number of other FINRA exams. Acquiring a Series 7 license is nowhere as difficult as earning CFA Charter with the latter representing much advanced knowledge and capabilities in the financial domain.

CFA vs Series 7 – Exam Requirements

CFA exam requirements

To qualify for CFA, a candidate should have a Bachelor’s Degree (or they should be in final year of Bachelor’s Degree) or 4 years of professional work experience or 4 years of higher education and professional work experience taken together.

Series 7 Exam requirements

One should have the sponsorship of a firm with FINRA membership. That is the only prerequisite for this exam.

Why pursue CFA?  

Earning CFA Charter validates that a professional is capable of undertaking complex roles in various sub-domains of finance ranging from financial analysis and investment management to investment banking, research and academics among other areas. Career enhancement is substantial as CFAs can explore a number of global opportunities in finance and this hard-earned credential can lend them greater credibility in the eyes of prospective employers as well. Non-finance professionals can also have several potential advantages as a professional if they go ahead to earn CFA Charter.

Why Acquire Series 7 license?

Series 7 license does not offer any unique advantage except to serve as a prerequisite to serve as a General Securities Representative in keeping with the requirements laid down by FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). This qualifies them to engage in sale, purchase and or solicitation of securities products, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other forms of instruments. There is no additional career scope for those who acquire Series 7 license except to work within these pre-specified roles.


There can really be no comparison between CFA and Series 7 exam since both of them do not even represent a certification program. CFA is an advanced multi-tier certification program which is considered one of the most stringent financial credentials to earn and Series 7 license simply qualifies an individual to engage in trading of general securities on behalf of any self-regulatory organization. CFA is intended for professionals planning to advance their career and showcase their knowledge and capabilities by acquiring a specialized credential in finance whereas Series 7 exam is only meant for individuals seeking licensure from FINRA to operate as general securities representative, trading for securities in the market.

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