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CFA Changes Effective 2023

Just like every other year, CFA has once again made significant changes to its curriculum. These changes are effective from 2023 and candidates anticipating sitting their exams in the coming year should keep them in mind. While the changes don’t cut across all three levels, anyone planning to take any of the CFA exams ought to approach it differently. The majority of changes are centered around the level I curriculum, though it doesn’t mean candidates are going to meet a whole new curriculum.

That said, let’s take a look at what you should expect in the coming CFA exams from 2023.

CFA Level I Changes

Aspiring CFA candidates should expect a few structural changes as well as major content revisions that might affect how they’re going to prepare for the coming exam. With regard to the structure, study sessions have been faced out from the curriculum and Learning Modules put in place of readings.

Structural Changes for CFA Level I

The new CFA level I curriculum structure will be as follows:

Topic —> Learning Module(s) —> LOS (Learning Outcome Statements) —> Lesson(s)

As you can see, Learning Modules are now the equivalent of the old Readings you’d find in the previous CFA level I modules. It’s also important to note that LOS is no longer numbered. To help you understand the breakdown above, here are examples of items in each category:

Topic – Portfolio Management

Learning Module – Introduction to risk management

LOS – Define risk management

Content Revisions

With regards to content changes, a few more learning modules have been added and the existing ones revised accordingly. About 5% of the learning modules have undergone some minor changes and less than 5% added to the existing modules. While in 2022 candidates had 60 modules to go through before sitting their exams now they have 73 learning modules for the 2023 CFA level I exam. 

In that light, here are some changes worth highlighting in the new CFA level I curriculum:

  • There are major structures for Derivatives and Alternative Investment topics. The Derivatives are now divided into 10 learning modules while the Alternative Investment topic is split into 3 learning modules.

Derivatives

The old readings in this area have been revised into learning modules on the following topics:

  • Derivative instrument and derivative market features
  • Forward commitment and contingent claim features and instruments
  • Derivative benefits, risks, and issuer and investor uses
  • Arbitrage, replication, and the cost of carrying in pricing derivatives
  • Pricing and Valuation of forwarding contracts and for an underlying with varying maturities
  • Pricing and valuation of futures contracts
  • Pricing and valuation of interest rate and other swaps
  • Pricing and Valuation of options
  • Option replication using put-call parity
  • Valuing a derivative using a one-period binomial model

Alternative Investments

Just like Derivatives, the old readings on this topic have been revised into learning modules with no alteration to the content coverage. The topics covered are as follows:

  • Categories, Characteristics, and Compensation Structures of Alternative Investments
  • Performance Calculation and Appraisal of Alternative Investments
  • Private Capital, Real Estate, Infrastructure, Natural Resources, and Hedge Funds

The Corporate Issuer topic has seen major revisions and expansion to cover more areas of contemporary business practices. Four modules have been revised in this area and they are as follows:

  • Capital Investments 
  • Capital structure
  • Working Capital
  • Introduction to Corporate Governance and Other ESG Considerations

It’s worth noting that out of the modules highlighted in this section, Capital Structure has seen major revisions whereby the content has been revised to reduce theoretical content and develop a more practical approach intended to support evaluation exercises. 

In addition to the changes highlighted above, three new learning modules were added to the CFA level I curriculum. They include:

  • Introduction to Geopolitics – This has been added to Economics. The new learning module is meant to introduce geopolitics and offers an in-depth explanation of how it impacts investment management.
  • Corporate Structures and Ownership – This is a new addition to the Corporate Issuers topic. The new learning module highlights important business structures for investment management. 
  • Business Models – This module has been added to the Corporate Issuers topic. It examines key business aspects and how analysts can evaluate business models to support financial modeling. 

Approaching the CFA Level I in 2023

The changes reflected in the CFA level don’t mean you’ve got to do much to change your study techniques. If anything, the CFA Institute has designed each of the modules in a way that you can complete a module in an evening of study with formative assessments included throughout the module. To make studying seamless for learners, the CFA Institute has incorporated more visuals, spreadsheets, informative content, and expert demonstrations offering candidates practice opportunities to sharpen their skills. 

Just like other professional exams in the area of finance, quite a lot of practice is needed before you sit for your exams. On that note, we offer lots of study resources for CFA learners who would like to improve their scores by getting exposed to real CFA level I questions. In addition to the assessments you’re going to come across in the modules, it’s important to practice using real exam questions even as you track time to ensure you finish within the exam timeline. 

Are there any changes to levels II and III?

So far, the CFA Institute has not announced any changes for the 2023 level II and III exams. The Level II curriculum is set to be released on August 9, 2022, when registration opens for May 2023 level II exams. On the other hand, there will be no changes for CFA level III from the 2022 curriculum to accommodate the major shifts in the exam window beginning in 2022 and in future years. 

Now you know what to expect in the coming CFA exams. You can prepare to register for your exams as soon as the registration opens. However, that doesn’t mean you wait until then to start studying. There are lots of CFA study resources on our website which can help you prepare adequately. Get the notes and practice questions in preparation for your exams.



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