Coins representing cryptocurrency, one of the topics that will be tested on the CFA Exam in 2019

Posted by: Dr. R. Douglas Van Eaton, CFA and Dr. B.J. Tolia, CFA, CA
Updated: April 6, 2020

CFA® charter candidates will find that new applications of technology in financial services are now included in the CFA Program curriculum, under the general heading of “fintech.” This introduction to fintech presents an overview of new ways that technology is affecting the role of a financial analyst. Specific topics include big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrencies and robo-advising.

By adding these topics in the curriculum, CFA Institute is recognizing that even the generalist investment managers need to be exposed to the changing world of technology-driven investing and portfolio management. This expanded coverage of fintech supplements existing coverage of algorithmic and high-frequency trading in the Level II CFA exam curriculum.

While the curriculum has always included significant coverage of quantitative methods used for forecasting, valuation and related financial analysis, additional coverage of new technology will make the curriculum richer and reflects current trends in the financial services industry.

While the term “fintech” is used to refer to a broad spectrum of topics, the CFA Program curriculum focuses on:

  1. Investment tools: Use of machine learning, big data analysis, and artificial intelligence can improve the performance of forecasting models.

  2. Portfolio management: robo advising and automation of many tasks previously performed by analysts.

  3. Capital Markets: blockchain, cryptocurrencies.

The addition of these new topics to the testable material of the CFA exam means, now more than ever, candidates need to ensure they are preparing for the exam with the most recently updated materials. Every year, Kaplan Schweser updates our curriculum to prepare candidates based on the lastest curriculum changes from CFA Institute.

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