The investment industry views the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter as the gold standard for excellence in the financial profession. The "New York Sun" newspaper reported that the CFA designation holds the prestige once held by a master of business administration (MBA) degree. CFA charterholders can expect high salaries, with starting wages exceeding £32,500 per year. Salaries for experienced CFA charterholders, meanwhile, exceed £65,000 per year.
The CFA charter is well respected but difficult to earn. Becoming a CFA requires a bachelor's degree and at least three years of experience in the investment industry. In addition, candidates must pass three six-hour exams. However, the study and rigorous testing pays off, as entry-level CFA charterholders can expect to earn about £33,800 per year, according to a 2010 report by the website CFA Salary.
Salaries by Experience
After one to four years as a chartered financial analyst charterholders can expect an average annual salary of about £40,950, CFA Salary reported in 2010. After five years of experience, CFA charterholders earn an average of £58,500 per year. CFA charterholders with 10 or more years of financial analysis experience can earn £78,000 a year or more.
Salary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2010 indicated that financial analysts, including those with a CFA charter, earned an average of £55,926 per year. Average salaries for financial analysts ranged from a low of £28,918 to a high of £92,105 per year for top earners. However, earnings for CFA charterholders and other financial analysts include not only base salaries but annual bonus compensation as well.
Salaries by Employer
The highest salaries for CFA charterholders and other financial analysts exist in investment firms and securities and commodities exchanges, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. CFA charterholders and other financial analysts employed by investment firms earned an average annual salary of £73,216 in 2010, while the small number of analysts employed by securities and commodities exchanges earned an average of £68,094 per year.
A 2006 report by The "New York Sun" demonstrated the significance of the CFA designation in salary terms. The newspaper reported that CFAs earn an average of 54 per cent more than financial analysts with comparable experience, earning a median salary of £117,000 per year.