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I saw many threads comparing the two exams. Its like comparing apples with oranges as to say which is better in taste. Some like oranges while some will say apple is tasty. Both will taste differently to different people.

Lets compare on important aspects:
  • On the level of questions appearing the Qs are of same level of difficulty. Number of options are 4 in frm as compared to cfa where its 3. so frm is a little trickier.
  • In terms of time you get 480/180=2.67min/Q whereas in cfa one gets 360/120=3 min/Q in level 2. so less time/Q in frm as compared to cfa.but when you consider caselets that you have to read than i think bith exams should have approx. same time/Q.
  • In terms of length of syllabus cfa syllabus is certainly very comprehensive and elaborate as compared to frm syllabus which is not so elaborate and heavy. so one requires some time in prep of cfa but in the end it depends on the person how much time he/she requires to complete the syllabus.
Both exams take a lot time of preparation, ans study plan. SWOT analysis reveals this:
  • Strength: Frm has four options and more technical in nature(one needs to have quant bend of mind to score well) while cfa has less technical Qs and emphasis more on formulae with caselets.
  • Weakness: frm has no caselets while cfa has just three options
  • Opportunities: cfa can extend no of options to 4 while frm can include caselets Qs.
No threats. son in the end you decide which one is tougher nut to crack...??



Hi Shakti,

Your comparison is biased. This is common thing when one is going to sit for CFA after getting FRM.
Following your definition, FRM is apple; then CFA is a box with 100 oranges and ~ 3 apples.
CFA course advantage is much, much, much broader range of topics. Yes, may be not all of them are of proper depth… As an (part-time) academician, I would say that No One Never Ever has proposed an education course to prepare the person equal to PhD and CFA and MBA and FRM and CAIA and … at once.
For example, I came from PhD to MBA, then to CFA, and I found CFA VERY useful. If I start to evaluate math issues of CFA from my viewpoint (PhD in math), it would be counterproductive.
The same is to compare math depth of FRM with risk management issues of CFA (not mentioning PhD in math).

VT 2012, PhD, CFA, MBA


Active Member
Given my understading, it depends on what stream of work one would like to take up. For certain roles, eg. Financial analyst, Equity research, FI research etc you would require the knowledge levels of CFA. however, for the Compliance and risk management teams and Risk analysis, you would need to have a FRM holder sitting on the activities like Trade level risk definition, Security or structure level Risk identification and so.
A combination of both CFA and FRM would surely come to aid in portfolio analysis and in countering the recommendations made by the Risk and compliance teams.
On another note, from an academic perspective, it is good to have both so that one can do a lot of cross disciplinary work.