NCFM vs CFA – Which is More Relevant?

NCFM vs CFA – Which is More Relevant? Industries are always searching for new talent with expertise in their chosen segment to ensure that the markets flourish benefiting each and every participant in the industry. Scores of graduates vie for the top job to make it big. However, employers are seeking candidates who are just not qualified but fulfill the criteria of possessing expert skills which has been tested and certified. Certification program enhances one’s knowledge about the business and also adds to the current set of skills making him competitive. It is due to this that certified programs by recognized associations have gained norm. However, the dilemma often remains to which one to go for. We decided to help you to choose between NSE’s (National Stock Exchange) NCFM (Certification in Financial Market) and CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst®).

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The article is articulated in this order:

  1. NCFM vs CFA® Infographics
  2. What is NSE’s Certification in Financial Markets (NCFM)?
  3. What is the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) charter?
  4. NCFM vs CFA® Exam Requirements
  5. Why pursue NCFM?
  6. Why pursue the CFA® designation?

NCFM vs CFA Infographics

Reading time : 90 seconds

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

NCFM vs CFA infographics

What is NSE’s Certification in Financial Markets (NCFM)?

The NCFM is a certification program for those individuals who wish to learn the fundamentals of the capital markets in order to make their career in the financial markets in India. The certified course is necessary according to the regulations of the industry, if one is keen to be a part of the financial markets. The course provides a basic understanding of the concepts related to the different sections of the investment segment, the primary and the secondary markets, derivatives market and the financial statement analysis. The course comprises of theory as well as practical application lessons with a wide range of perspective. The NCFM program training is conducted by the in house faculty of reliance Leap /IDBI INteq / PIFM/. The candidates in order to qualify require about 30 hours of intervention before they embark upon to give the online test of National Stock Exchange and get the NCFM certificate.

What is the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) charter?

The CFA® Program focuses on investment management. The top employers of charterholders include the most respected financial corporations in the world, e.g., JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS, and Wells Fargo, to name a few.

Many of these are investment banks, but the CFA® Program focuses on the knowledge and skills most relevant to the global investment management profession from the standpoint of a practitioner.

Investment professionals who hold the CFA®designation (or CFA® charter) meet rigorous educational, work experience, and ethical conduct requirements.

Only those who complete three graduate-level examinations, four years of work experience, and annual membership renewal (including an ethics and code of professional conduct attestation) are permitted to use the CFA® designation. Complementary codes and standards (such as the Global Investment Performance Standards and Asset Manager Code) help enhance this professional distinction.

NCFM vs CFA Exam Requirements


No specific age or qualification is required for taking the certification examination. Computer literacy will be an added advantage considering the test is completely online based. The following persons are eligible to take the NCFM Certification Examination:

  1. All approved users and sales personnel of trading members of recognized stock exchanges
  2. Interested students/professionals
  3. Any other individuals

A candidate once registered in the NCFM program, can take as many modules and number of attempts as desired by paying the Enrollment Fees for every attempt.


To qualify for the CFA® program a candidate must have a bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree or be in the final year of his bachelor’s degree program (an update is required on attaining the degree to qualify for the Level II) or minimum of four years of professional experience. The CFA® certificate is only awarded after a candidate attains four years of experience even after clearing the exam.

Why pursue NCFM?

NCFM is considered as a minimum benchmark course for individuals who are serious in pursuing their career in the financial industry. Employers ensure that the candidates who apply for jobs relevant to them have at least passed out the NCFM program, as it provides basic knowledge and understanding of the financial markets. The NCFM is an extremely easy exam to crack as well as cost effective and achieving it only adds to your merit in the resume. The certificate also depicts the candidate’s keenness to lap information and knowledge related to their field despite not finding any high favor with the employers unlike the reputed certificate programs like CFA® and FRM.

Why pursue the CFA designation?

The differentiating benefits of earning the CFA® designation include:

  • Real-world expertise
  • Career recognition
  • Ethical grounding
  • Global community
  • Employer demand

The sheer demand for the CFA® charter speaks to the difference it makes. More than 160,000 CFA® exam registrations were processed for the June 2015 exams (35% in the Americas, 22% in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, and 43% in Asia Pacific).

For more information, refer to- CFA® Programs

Other key comparisons


Both NCFM vs CFA educational program and module helps a candidate to develop his aptitude according to the current practice of the industry.  Achieving the certificate requires rigorous studying and hard work and therefore a chance to standout in the eyes of your employer. Your practical skills would be an asset and provide you with a competitive edge and also boost the chance of a hike in the future.

In general both NCFM is more about financial markets whereas CFA® gives you a good grounding base about the investment industry. Choose your interest wisely! All the Best.

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