The CFA Program curriculum is focused on ten key topics which increase in complexity at each of the three levels: ethical and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments, portfolio management and wealth planning.
At this second level, candidates are expected to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding of the tools and techniques that were introduced in the Level 1 with a focus on the valuation of all types of assets.
The Level 2 exam has a total of 20 item sets or “mini cases”, with each item set containing 6 equally weighted multiple choice questions. The item sets are split equally among two three-hour sessions taking place on the same day.
To register for your Level 2 exam, you need to have passed Level 1.
Below is a syllabus overview detailing each topic and their approximate exam weighting.
|Level 2 topic||Approximate exam weight|
|Ethical and Professional Standards||10% - 15%|
|Quantitative Methods for Valuation||5% - 10%|
|Economics for Valuation||5% - 10%|
|Financial Reporting and Analysis||10% - 15%|
|Equity Investments||10% - 15%|
|Derivative Instruments - Valuation and Strategies||10%|
|Alternative Investments||5% - 10%|
|Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning||5% - 15%|
Syllabus - breakdown:
Ethical and Professional Standards
Learn the ethical responsibilities required of CFA Institute members and candidates in the CFA Program by the Code and Standards and understand the objectives of the Research Objectivity Standards.
Following on from the previous session, you’ll use case studies to illustrate the practical application of the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct (Code and Standards).
Quantitative Methods for Valuation
You’ll be introduced to correlation analysis, linear regression with one and multiple independent variables, and time-series analysis as tools for identifying relationships among variables.
Economics for Valuation
Explore currency exchange rates and understanding the equilibrium value, economic growth and the investment decision, and the economics of regulation.
Financial Reporting and Analysis
- Intercorporate Investments, Post-Employment and ShareBased Compensation, and Multinational Operations: examine current and new reporting standards for investments in other companies, post-employment benefits, and foreign currency transactions.
- Quality of Financial Reports and Financial Statement Analysis: focus on evaluating the quality of financial reports and applying financial analysis techniques to investment decisions.
- Corporate Finance: covers the capital budgeting process and examines its principles and investment decision criteria. Project evaluation through the use of spreadsheet modeling is also presented.
- Corporate Finance - Financing and Control Issues: two major organisational subjects of corporate finance are examined in detail. The first is corporate governance. The second is mergers, acquisitions, and corporate restructurings.
- Equity Valuation - Valuation Concepts: This session introduces essential equity valuation concepts. It discusses value and the application of equity valuation techniques to solve everyday problems and the return concepts.
- Equity Valuation - Industry and Company Analysis and Discounted Dividend Valuation:focus on financial modeling including the development of forecast model inputs using available industry and corporate information.
- Equity Valuation - Free Cash Flow and Other Valuation Models: explore additional valuation methods for estimating a company’s intrinsic value such as the free cash flow, relative valuation, residual income valuation, and the main approaches for valuing private company equity.
- Valuation Concepts: learn about the yield curve and key relationships underlying its composition, you’ll examine traditional and modern theories and models explaining the shape of the yield curve to demonstrate this.
- Topics in Fixed-Income Analysis: this session uses the binomial valuation method to value bonds with embedded options. It discusses interest rate volatility, option-adjusted spreads and risky bonds. Credit assessment approaches and models are discussed with an introduction to the term structure of credit spreads.
Derivative Instruments - Valuation and Strategies
In this session you will be introduced to key valuation concepts and models for forward commitments (forwards, futures, swaps) and contingent claims (options).
You’ll learn about the following categories of alternative investments: real estate, private equity, and commodities.
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning
- Portfolio Management - Process, Asset Allocation, and Risk Management: learn about the portfolio management process and the investment policy statement, multifactor models and measuring and managing market risk.
- Portfolio Management - Economic Analysis, Active Management, and Trading: examine the link between the economy and financial markets, describe and measure active portfolio management, algorithmic trading and high frequency trading.
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