FRM vs CQF – Which is Better?

FRM vs CQF – Which is Better? FRM and CQF are completely different courses and there shouldn’t be any confusion whether you should choose FRM or CQF. But still if you’re on a juncture where you’re not able to decide what to do, here’s a detailed discussion on FRM and CQF. In the following article, you would discover each course in detail. And even if you have any confusion in regards to these two courses, after reading the article it would go away.

In this article, we will follow a sequence so that it becomes easy for you to read through and understand. First we will talk about FRM and CQF briefly. Then we will find few key differences between FRM and CQF. After that we will talk about key exam requirements of these two courses. And finally we will discuss why you should pursue FRM and CQF.

Without much ado, let’s get started.

The article will give you provide you with detailed comparison between FRM and CQF –

  1. FRM vs CQF Infographics
  2. What is FRM?
  3. What is CQF?
  4. Key Differences- FRM vs CQF
  5. Why pursue FRM
  6. Why pursue CQF?

FRM vs CQF Infographics

Reading time : 90 seconds

Lets understand the difference between these two streams with the help of this FRM vs CQF Infographics.

frm vs cqf infographics

What is Financial Risk Management (FRM)?

  • FRM (organized by GARP) is the most sought after risk management course in the world. It’s globally recognized and adds tremendous value to its students. If you want to have a career in finance and you’re also interested in risk management, this course will catapult you to a new height and will make you an expert in risk management. There is one warning though. You need to study the curriculum well. You shouldn’t only worry about the exam, but also how you would be able to apply the knowledge you’re learning in this course.
  • To people who think that FRM certification is easier than other globally recognized certifications, think twice. You need to sit for two most rigorous exams which will include all the advanced risk management subjects and you need to go through them in depth to be able to answer the questions properly. Moreover, if you want to have FRM certifications, you need at least 2 years of relevant experience in the similar domain.
  • During the interview sessions, many HRs complain that FRM students are not as thorough as they expect them to be to hire them. The issue lies in the gap between the curriculum and the exams. Often the exams are much easier than the curriculum itself. So few students manage to clear the exam with little study. And during the interview, they are not able to showcase any in-depth knowledge whatsoever. Thus, do FRM if you’re really interested. Otherwise, do something else. If you’re in FRM just because of compensation, then rarely you would be able to make your mark.
  • The best part of FRM is what separates FRM from other globally recognized courses. If you’re interested in FRM, then you would be able to sit for FRM. There are no eligibility criteria for sitting for FRM.

What is Certificate in Quantitative Finance (CQF)?

  • Students that are interested in Quantitative Finance; this course is the right choice for them. First of all, this course is one of the most sought after courses in the world. Secondly, the course duration is just 6 months; thus it becomes easy for working professionals to pull through. Thirdly, you can do it while working so you don’t need to let go of your existing job to be able to do this course.
  • This course is for those who would like to broaden their skill base. Even if you’re a beginner and would like to pursue this course, you would be able to because of two reasons. First, CQF offers excellent primer courses which will add tremendous value towards understanding the basic elements of the course. Secondly, the course material is very intensive, thus if you want to start from grass-root level, you won’t face much issues. One warning sign is this – you need to be interested in mathematics, programming and finance, yes, all three.
  • This course is one of those courses which emphasizes on self-study. It’s completely dependent on how much study you do by yourself and how in-depth you go on your own. Of course, if you need help, you will be able to access the faculty at any time but still everything will depend on how much time and effort you put into the curriculum.

CQF program-structure

(Image source: )

Key Differences – FRM vs CQF

There are many key differences between FRM and CQF. Let’s have a look at them –

  • Intensity: If you compare both of these courses, CQF is much intense than FRM. Many executives who have completed CQF have mentioned that it would be great if the institute increased the duration of the course from 6 months to 1 year. In case of FRM, the time given for each level is enough and anyone with a rigorous discipline and good study habit would be able to complete the curriculum within 200 hours of time.
  • Focus of subjects: If we compare the focus of subjects under the curriculum of these courses, we would say that they’re completely different. In case of FRM, the subjects are totally related to financial risk management (you will find out in the next section); whereas, in case of CQF, the focus is on three subjects equally – mathematics, financial theory and programming.
  • Perspective: The perspectives of these two courses are completely different. In case of FRM, anyone can pursue it, whereas in case of CQF only people who have good foundational knowledge can make their mark. For example, If you have a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and FRM certification, you would be able to get employed easily. But a student who has a Bachelor’s degree and CQF certification may not make it to a big corporate where the chief task would be quantitative finance. Quite often than not, Quants guys need a Master’s degree or PhD to be considered for the positions. That doesn’t mean CQF is a waste of time, but it only acts a supplement to what you already have.
  • Difference in salary: If you’re starting out or have few years of experience, after FRM certification, you can expect anywhere around US $85,000 to US$90,000 per annum. On an average it’s more as we also need to count the experience of FRM holders. On the other hand, CQF certification is certainly more valuable due to the fact that people who choose to go for CQF are already qualified enough. After CQF certification you would get around US $115,000 per annum. With more experience, you would be able to earn much more than fresher salary.

Why pursue FRM?

  • There is no reason why you shouldn’t. A course which is globally recognized and adds so much of value and is also reasonably priced, there is no reason why shouldn’t you go for this course. There is only one reason for which you shouldn’t go for this course and that’s you’ve no interest whatsoever in pursuing your career in risk management.
  • Look at the eligibility criteria of pursuing FRM. Yes, anyone can do it. All you need to have is the willingness to do the work and have 2 years of experience in the relevant domain to get the certification.
  • FRM is a comprehensive course, if your focus is more on the curriculum than on passing exams. Of course, you need to clear the exam, but for the curriculum you should pursue FRM because it’s really good.
  • If you compare this certification with CFA, you only need to clear 9 subjects and 2 levels. It’s easier than CFA even if the scopes of both of these courses are different. Easier means you only need to put in 200 hours of solid study to clear the exams.

Why pursue CQF?

  • The first reason for pursuing CQF is its flexibility. You can choose your time of study and you can do it at your own pace. There are rarely any courses which provide this sort of flexibility.
  • The duration of the course is just 6 months. Yes, you need to study rigorously to clear 6 subjects but if you want to get a reputed certification, you need to sacrifice half a year. And half a year is very less time for this sort of course.
  • Suppose, you are not able to pursue the course as of now. What would you do? As per the instructions, you can defer 6 programs including the current one. Isn’t it wonderful?
  • The application process is straight forward and people who are eligible for the course will be allowed. You need to sit for a test to prove your eligibility for the course.

Other Comparisons that you may like


  • FRM has a great curriculum but its exams are not as competitive as they should be. So your primary job while you’re pursuing FRM certification is to ensure that your subject knowledge is at par with industry standards. And most people don’t pay heed to this. Stand out and cover your syllabus as if your prospects depend on it, because in reality it truly does. Even if CQF is severely criticized for its cost, it allows you to have access to lifetime programs which will update your knowledge over time and you will remain an industry expert for a long period of time. Again, CQF is not for everybody. Before enrolling for the program, know that you’re a good match.


  1. By Shailesh Kumar on

    I am interested in pursuing this but the cost of the course is on the higher side. I am not comparing what I shall be getting after clearing the exam.


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