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CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst, a professional designation given by the CFA Institute to investment professionals. The CFA designation is geared toward asset valuation and portfolio management, but the range of topics covered in the self-study curriculum also includes ethical and professional standards, financial theory, probability and statistics, microeconomics and macroeconomics, accounting and financial statement analysis, corporate finance, debt valuation, derivative analysis, and alternative investments. The CFA candidate must pass three exams, most commonly by taking one per year for three years. In addition to setting the CFA curriculum and administering the CFA exam, the CFA Institute also publishes voluntary performance reporting standards for the investment industry. These CFA Institute standards have practical importance because many institutional investors, such as corporate pension funds, require their asset managers to report performance in compliance with the standards. Until 2004, the CFA Institute was known as the Association for Investment Management and Research, or AIMR.

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