Making the Decision: The IBP or the CFA
How does the IBP Program compare to the CFA (or CAIA or FRM)?
The IBP Program is specifically for candidates pursuing investment banking careers. Below we contrast the IBP with the CFA, as well as with CAIA and FRM.
"Liberal arts students who successfully pass the IBP Exam are the total package for investment banks – well-rounded while possessing the financial skills that place them on par with business students."
IBP or the CFA:
The CFA program is rigorous and well-respected globally in both the asset and investment management industries. The program is perhaps the most time intensive of all finance certifications, taking an average of 4 years to complete, involving 300 hours of study for each of the 3 exam levels. While the program is directly relevant to the investment management and research community, the rigor and recognition of the program has led to some adoption in investment banking. However, because the CFA curriculum doesn’t include critical investment banking topics like M&A, due diligence, effective communication, presentations and modeling, the CFA is considered to have limited applicability.
- Candidates looking for a finance credential with a wide body of knowledge and/or targeting a career in investment management, wealth management or research should choose the CFA.
- Candidates that are specifically interested in investment banking, corporate finance or private equity should choose the IBP.
Comparison of Leading Finance Certification Programs
|Offered by||CAIA Association||CFA Institute||GARP||IBP Institute|
|Primary industry||Alternative Investments||Investment Management||Risk Management||Investment Banking|
|Min. Hours of Study||200 hours x 2 exams||300 hours x 3 exams||240 hours x 2 exams||250 hours x 1 exam|
|Min. total cost1||$2,840||$2,400||$1,650||$1,230|
|Main areas of study|
|Level Exams||I & II||I, II, III||I & II||I|
|Duration of each exam||4 hours||6 hours||4 hours||4 hours|
|Test Environment||Testing Center||Testing Center||Testing Center||Proctored Online|
|Registration Requirements||None||Bachelors, or in final year||None||None|
|Credential Requirements||Bachelors and at least 1-year work experience||Bachelors and at least 4 years work experience||At least 2 years work experience||Bachelors and at least 1-year work experience|
1Cost includes exam fees plus study materials