Updated on May 15, 2024
Article bySayantan Mukhopadhyay
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Difference Between FRM and CQF

FRM is the short form used for Financial Risk Manager, and an individual with this degree can apply for jobs in the banking, KPOs, hedge funds, and IT industries. In contrast, CQF is the short form used for the Certificate in Quantitative Finance, and this course does not offer any placements. Still, individuals with this degree can secure better jobs in finance, hedge funds, and investment.

FRM and CQF are entirely different courses, and there shouldn’t be any confusion about whether you should choose either of them. But still, if you’re at a juncture where you’re unable to decide what to do, here’s a detailed discussion on FRM or CQF. In the following article, you will discover each course in detail. Then, all your confusion about the courses will go away.

This article will follow a sequence to become easy for you to read through and understand. First, we will talk about FRM and CQF briefly. Then we will find a few critical differences between the two courses. After that, we will talk about the essential exam requirements for these two courses. And finally, we will discuss why you should pursue FRM and CQF.

Without much ado, let’s get started.


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

FRM vs. CQF Infographics

Reading time: 90 seconds

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

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What is Financial Risk Management (FRM)?

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

What is a Certificate in Quantitative Finance (CQF)?

  • For students interested in quantitative finance, this course is the right choice. First of all, this course is one of the most sought-after courses globally. Secondly, the course duration is six 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 current job to do this course.
  • This course is for those who wish to broaden their skill base. Even if you’re a beginner and would like to pursue this course, you would be able to because for two reasons. First, Certificate in Quantitative Finance (CQF) offers excellent primer courses, which will add tremendous value to one’s understanding of essential elements. Secondly, the course material is very intensive. Thus if you want to start from the grass-root level, you won’t face such issues. One warning sign is this – you need to be interested in mathematics, programming, and finance.
  • This course emphasizes self-study. It’s utterly dependent on how much study you study 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

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Key Differences – FRM vs. CQF

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

  • Intensity: If you compare both of these courses, CQF is much more intense than FRM. Many executives who have completed CQF have mentioned that increasing the course duration from 6 months to 1 year would be great. In the case of FRM, the time given for each level is enough, and anyone with rigorous discipline and good study habits would be able to complete the curriculum within 200 hours.
  • The focus of subjects: If we compare the direction of issues under the curriculum of these courses, we would say that they’re entirely different. In FRM, the residents are financial risk management (you will find out in the next section). In CQF, the focus is on three topics equally – mathematics, economic theory, and programming.
  • Perspective: The perspectives of these two courses are completely different. In FRM, anyone can pursue it, whereas, in CQF, only people with good foundational knowledge can make their mark. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree in Finance and FRM certification, you would 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, quant guys need a master’s degree or Ph.D. to be considered for the positions. That doesn’t mean CQF is a waste of time, but it only acts as a supplement to what you already have.
  • The difference in salary: If you’re starting or have a few years of experience after FRM certification, you can expect anywhere around USD 85,000 to USD 90,000 per annum. On average, it’s more as we also need to count the experience of FRM holders. On the other hand, CQF certification is undoubtedly more valuable because people who choose to go for CQF are already qualified. After CQF certification, you would get around USD 115,000 per annum. With more experience, you would earn much more than a fresher salary.

Why pursue FRM?

  • There is no reason you shouldn’t pursue FRM, as this is a globally recognized course that adds so much value and is also reasonably priced. There is only one reason why you shouldn’t go for this course, and that’s if you have no interest whatsoever in pursuing your career in risk management.
  • Looking at the eligibility criteria for pursuing FRM, anyone can do it. All you need to have is the willingness to do the work and have two 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 passing exams. Of course, you need to clear the exam, but for the curriculum, you should pursue FRM because it’s excellent.
  • If you compare this certification with CFA, you only need to clear nine subjects and two levels. It’s easier than CFA, even if the scopes of both of these courses are different. More accessible means you only need to put in 200 hours of substantial study to clear the exams.

Why pursue CQF?

  • The first reason for pursuing CQF is its flexibility. You can choose your study time and do it at your own pace. There are rarely any courses that provide this sort of flexibility.
  • The duration of the course is just six months. You need to study rigorously to clear six subjects, but if you want to get a reputed certification, you must sacrifice half a year. And half a year is very little 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 six programs, including the current one. Isn’t it wonderful?
  • The application process is straightforward, and eligible people for the course will be allowed. However, you need to sit for a test to prove your eligibility for the system.


FRM has an excellent curriculum, but its exams are not as competitive as they should be. Thus, 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, they indeed do. 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 an extended period. But, again, CQF is not for everybody. Before enrolling in the program, know that you’re a good match.

Reader Interactions


  1. Shailesh Kumar says

    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.

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      You are right Shailesh, the fees is on the higher side.