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CFA Institute: 2019 Curriculum Includes Machine Learning, Cryptos

The 2019 CFA exam will include questions on financial technology, including cryptocurrencies and machine learning.

Exam-sitters in the 2019 CFA Program will see additions covering the latest iterations of financial technology, as well as topics like cryptocurrency and machine learning, CFA Institute announced today. The update, spurred by a combination of focus groups and surveys completed by members of the institute, will include 10 new readings and major revisions, as well as improvements to 18 existing readings.

The rationale for the additions and reworkings came down to basic economics: supply and demand. “Our goal is to be a fast-follower,” said Stephan Horan, managing director of credentialing for CFA Institute. “That’s what the industry told us that candidates needed to know.” Candidates will face these new topics along with nearly 9,000 pages of curriculum that takes approximately 1,000 hours, on average, to master. Topics with dialed-down or streamlined coverage are credit default swaps and some aspects of portfolio management, said Horan.

While the CFA exam can prepare advisors for covering IQ-dominant topics with their clients, like explaining how algorithmic trading works, emotional skills are becoming more important as technology is able to execute more of the day-to-day of investing.

After the grueling journey to obtaining their CFA designations, financial advisors can brush up on their EQ, or emotional intelligence, by attending continuing education offerings or participating in community events. The best advisors rely on both EQ and IQ, noted Horan. “Advising is becoming more of a barbell discipline.”

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