When referring to CFA Institute, CFA Institute membership, the CFA designation, or candidacy in the CFA Program, Members and Candidates must not misrepresent or exaggerate the meaning or implications of membership in CFA Institute, holding the CFA designation, or candidacy in the CFA Program.
Individuals must not exaggerate the implications of membership in CFA Institute, holding the CFA designation, or candidacy in the CFA Program. The Standard applies to any form of communication, written or otherwise.
Unacceptable behaviors include:
- overstating competency
- implying superior performance
Acceptable behaviors include:
- emphasizing a commitment to ethics
- mentioning the program’s rigor
- factual statements about the scope of the program
- statements about the program’s relative merits that are clearly stated as opinions
CFA Membership requires paying dues and attesting to an annual professional conduct statement. Unless these two criteria have been met, one cannot refer to oneself as a “CFA Institute member.” One can, however, say they were a past member until those criteria are met.
A person can refer to himself as a “CFA Candidate” if their registration for the exam has been accepted, or if their exam results have not yet been received. They may not imply that they have a partial designation or cite an expected completion date.
Anonymous social media posts should not incorporate any reference to the CFA designation.
Members should encourage their firms to adopt policies that support consistency and accuracy when referring to the CFA Program and the CFA designation.
The CFA Institute Standards of Practice Handbook provides several examples of potential violations when referring to the CFA Designation.
- Implying superior performance as a result of having the CFA designation
- Referring to oneself as a CFA charterholder after allowing membership to lapse
- Referring to the CFA charter in an otherwise anonymous setting, such as using the screen name “Anonymous CFA”