Updated on April 22, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Difference Between CFA and CIPM

CFA is a professional course offered by the CFA Institute which prepares candidates for investment management roles like portfolio management, investment banking, and equity research. CIPM, also offered by the CFA Institute, prepares students for portfolio analysis and measurement, risk management, and compliance roles.

Appearing for CFA Level 1 exam? – Do have a look at this excellent 70+ hours of CFA level 1 Prep Training.


You are free to use this image on your website, templates, etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: CFA vs CIPM (

The article is articulated in this order:

  1. What is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter?
  2. What is the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM)?
  3. Infographics
  4. Exam Requirements
  5. Why pursue CFA?
  6. Why pursue CIPM?

What is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter?

The CFA® Program focuses on investment management. Top employers and shareholders of the most respected financial corporations globally, for example, JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS, and Wells Fargo, to name a few. Of course, 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 a practitioner’s standpoint.

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

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

What is the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM)?

The CIPM program is globally recognized for its investment professionals’ performance evaluation and presentation expertise. The CIPM certificate is an incredible way to gain perspective and a firm footing in the world’s financial markets. It guides professionals through a set code of ethics and instills the value of pursuing excellence in the field with an unmatched passion.

CIPM certificate module provides extensive in-depth knowledge and practical skills of project management tools and techniques. The course allows professionals to be more competent, productive, and result-oriented in all the aspects of executing and handling their knowledge of both hard and soft skills. In addition, they are trained to appreciate the finer nuances of time and cost while meeting quality to plan out control risks effectively. Also, addressing people issues like communication, teamwork, motivation, and information management.

CFA vs CIPM Infographics

CFA vs CIPM Infographics

You are free to use this image on your website, templates, etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: CFA vs CIPM (

CFA vs CIPM – Comparative Table

Organizing BodyThe CFA Institute, U.S., conducts the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams.The CFA Institute, U.S., organizes the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) exams.
PatternThe course is divided into 3 levels.

  • Level I
  • Level II
  • Level III
The course is divided into 2 levels.
  • Level I (formerly Principles Level)
  • Level II  (Formerly Expert Level)

CFA charterholders are exempted from appearing for the Level I exam.
Duration of CourseIf a candidate can clear all the exams in his/ her first attempt, then the course can be completed in 4 years.On average, a candidate can complete the course in a span of 18 months.
SyllabusThe syllabus revolves around.
  • Financial Reporting & Analysis
  • Portfolio Management & Wealth Planning
  • Alternative Investments
  • Equity Investments
  • Corporate Finance
  • Derivatives
  • Fixed Income
The syllabus revolves around.

  • Ethics and Professionalism
  • Performance Measurement
  • Performance Presentation
  • Performance Attribution
  • Performance Appraisal
  • Manager Selection
  • GIPS Standards
Exam FeesThe course’s overall cost lies in the range of $2,550 to $3,450 depending on the time of registration. The cost includes both exam fees and enrollment fees.The course’s overall cost lies in the range of $950 to $1,350 depending on the time of registration. The cost is entirely due to exam fees, and there is no entry fee.
JobsSome of the common profiles include
Some of the common profiles include

  • Investment Analyst
  • Investment Consultant
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Risk Analyst
  • Compliance Officer
  • Financial Adviser
DifficultyThe exams are challenging as only ~10% of the candidates are able to clear all three levels. During June 2019, the pass rates for Level I, Level II, and Level III were 41%, 44%, and 56% respectively.The exams are quite difficult as only ~25% of the candidates are able to clear both levels. During September 2019,  the pass rates for Level I and Level II were 48% and 51%.
Exam DateThe schedule for the upcoming exams during the year 2022
  • Level I: Feb 15-21, May 17-23, Aug 23-29, Nov
  • Level II: Feb 22-26, Aug 30 – Sep 03, Nov
  • Level III: May 24-26, Aug 30 – Sep 06
The exams for both levels are scheduled to take place during
  • Mar 16-31, 2022
  • Sep 16-30, 2022

Key Takeaways

  1. CFA is the short form used for Chartered Financial Analyst. CIPM is the short form used for Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement.
  2. The CFA institute organizes CFA. CIMA is organized by both CFA as well as CIPM institute.
  3. An aspirant must appear and qualify for three exams conducted by the CFA Institute. The three levels of exams are level 1, level 2, and level 3. In the case of an aspirant who is willing to pursue a CIPM degree, they must appear and qualify for two levels of exams conducted by the CFA and CIPM institutes. The two groups of exams are the CIPM Level 1 exam as well as the CIPM Level 2 exam.
  4. The CFA course subjects are investment tools, asset valuation, ethical and professional standards, portfolio management, and wealth planning. The CIFM course subjects are performance attribution, performance measurement, ethical standards, performance appraisal and manager selection, performance presentation, and GIPS standards.
  5. A CFA can apply for the job titles of research analyst, consultant, portfolio manager, chief executive, risk manager, relationship manager, financial adviser, and corporate financial analyst. A CIPM can apply for job opportunities in an investment bank, GIPS verification companies, investment management, research companies, performance measurement, software development companies, or even be used for job titles of plan sponsors, performance measurement, etc.
  6. CFA exams are not as tricky as CIPM exams.
  7. An aspirant can complete their CIPM exams in a year if they qualify for both levels in one go. The CIPM Level 1 and the CIPM Level 2 exams are conducted twice a year. These exams are conducted in the spring and autumn season. So, an aspirant can readily appear for the last Level of the exam (CIPM Level 2 Exam) as soon as they have qualified for the first Level (CIPM Level 1 Exam) without waiting for a certain period. In the case of the CFA exam, an aspirant doesn’t get the leverage to appear and qualify for the course in a single year since there are levels for this course, and the exams for each of them are not conducted in the same year.

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 245,000 global candidates registered for the June 2021 CFA® exams scheduled to be held in 193 cities across 95 different countries.

For more information, refer to CFA® Programs.

Why pursue CIPM?

CIPM is an intensely focused course with rigorous study material that concentrates on broad topics like performance measurement, attribution, and appraisal. It is a specialized area with the domain of portfolio management at the core, allowing you to gain skills that show your mastery in finance by acquiring some invaluable skills in the certificate program.

These skills come in handy and are valued by employers and clients, increasing the confidence in your ability to bring new investment strategies to the table with certified good results. In addition, the program is an invaluable learning experience if your job requires utilizing these skills.

Recommended articles

This has been a guide to CFA vs. CIPM. Here we discuss the difference between CFA and CIPM and infographics and a comparative table. You can learn more from the following articles –

Reader Interactions


  1. MedoFin1 says

    CIPM & the CFA rather a “Complement” one another. The CFA is very rich but very general in its coverage. Whereas the CIPM (well to my understanding) is rather very specialized in a subset of the CFA program (Portfolio, GIPS, attribution, Mgr selection,risk, etc…).

    Thank you for the quality content rich blog & for the clear information on the programs!

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      thanks for highlighting these important difference of CIPM and CFA.


  2. Barron Trump says

    Good summary. The CIPM is a little less well known, but it is not an easy version of the CFA. It is just as hard in complexity, but less demanding in range of content. So in that sense it is less demanding, but your math skills must be top notch.

    • Dheeraj says

      You are right Barron. Cannot agree more on this.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *