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CFA Institute Investment Foundations® Certificate

Are you eager to learn more about finance? Maybe you're thinking about a career in the finance and investment industry. Or maybe you are looking to expand your industry understanding while working alongside investment professionals in this field. Either way, CFA Institute can help. The Investment Foundations Certificate will provide you with the fundamentals of the global investment industry, which will help better equip you for the world of finance. Complete the six courses, pass the final assessment, and you'll have the knowledge you need to make better, more informed career decisions. So take the first step, today.

What You'll Learn

Through scenarios and case studies, the Investment Foundations Certificate provides you with an overview of the essentials of finance, investing, and ethics. We provide a clear understanding of the global investment industry, including terminology and foundational concepts. You'll learn everything from industry functions and relationships to roles and professional responsibilities, and will be equipped to think critically, ask the right questions, and ultimately open doors in the industry through your expanded knowledge.

Why Earn the Investment Foundations Certificate?

The Investment Foundations Certificate is a distinct learning opportunity for you to:

  • Understand the investment industry, making you even better at the job you're currently excelling at.
  • Stand out among your peers, confidently communicating and collaborating with practicing investment managers.
  • Be better prepared to start your career. On-ramp into the investment industry with this foundational certificate.
  • Develop a solid understanding of the industry so you can ask the right questions and innovate.
  • See how your role fits into the bigger picture of investing today.

How It Works

Take each of the six courses, with assessments and activities along the way, to guide and ensure your understanding. Then take the final assessment to earn the Investment Foundations Certificate and digital badge.

Modular Structure
- Six courses
- 60-90 hours of total study time
Flexible Delivery
- Self-paced
- Progress tracking
- Set study goals
- 12 month access to coursework
Program Excellence
- Engaging content
- Online, 100 multiple-choice question final assessment
- Shareable certificate upon successful completion

The Investment Foundations Certificate is not an academic degree/diploma or equivalent and does not in itself allow for progression to higher-level academic studies in any education system.

Topics Covered

  • An introduction to the structure of the investment industry, including types of institutions, functions of participants, and types of services.

    You will gain an appreciation of the benefits provided by the investment industry and the forces that affect its evolution, including technological innovations, the importance of ethics/ethical conduct, and an overview of the purpose and types of regulators and regulations that govern the industry.

    • Types of organizations
    • Industry roles and responsibilities
    • Key industry forces, particularly fintech
    • Objectives, roles, and types of regulation
  • An introduction to primary and secondary markets and how they operate.

    You will also be introduced to decentralized finance, the concept of investment vehicles, how they are structured, and how those structures serve investors.

    • Security markets and trading venues
    • Transactions
    • Market efficiency
    • Investment vehicles
  • An introduction to the types and characteristics of primary investment instruments, including equity securities (stocks), debt securities (bonds), alternative investments, and derivatives.

    • Quantitative concepts
    • Equity and debt securities
    • Derivative investments
    • Alternative investments
  • Enhanced understanding of how investment professionals identify relevant information and how the analysis of that information affects their investment and financing decisions.

    • Microeconomics
    • Macroeconomics
    • Economics and trade
    • Financial statements
  • An introduction to how investment firms serve clients' investment needs and examine risk considerations and management. You will also learn how portfolio performance evaluation enables investment professionals and their clients to better understand sources of risks and returns.

    • Investors and their needs
    • Investment management
    • Risk management
    • Performance evaluation
  • An introduction to the benefits, key concepts, and approaches to ESG investing and its link to DEI. You will also learn how ethical dilemmas that arise in practice within and beyond each of these elements can be addressed through an ethical decision-making framework.

    • Environmental, social, and governance investing
    • Diversity, equity, and inclusion in practice
    • Ethics and standards
    • Ethical decision-making

Fees and Scheduling

You can register for the Investment Foundations Certificate for USD350.

Once registered, you will have 12 months to complete the six courses and a final assessment, all completed through the online learning system.

The final assessment will be automatically available to all enrolled participants via the online learning system on 15 March.

All fees shown are net of any local VAT, Goods and Services Tax (GST), or any other sales tax payable by the candidate in their country of residence. Where CFA Institute is required to add sales tax to the local statutory rate, this will be added to the fees shown during the payment/checkout process. For information about taxability related to online purchases from CFA Institute, please visit our Tax Policy page

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