Overlap of FRM and CFA ?

Does anyone have any info on the overlap of the material from the CFA to the FRM or CAIA? If anyone would have info on LOS by Exam that would be great. I just sat for CFA Level II, I think I’m a marginal pass or band 9 or 10 fail. I’m currently out of work with allot of experience in “Retail Wealth Management”. I’m looking to go a different path and get out of retail. If I passed L2 I think September to June should be fine and if I failed I think I should be just fine starting Level II again in the winter. I do have some time from now until early fall to study for the FRA or CAIA. If possible I’d like to have as much study time crossover as possible.

I can’t comment on the overlap between CAIA and any of the other two programs, as I haven’t done that one (yet?). However, having passed both all 3 CFA and the FRM exams, I think the overlap was not as much as I expected, probably in the 40 % space max (most of it in the quantitative space). Don’t just do a casual reading of the covered subjects to conclude that the FRM isn’t that different, because it is. Even when there is overlap the FRM often goes into much greater detail, and you have to know it even better, almost from the standpoint of a practitioner. Also, what does overlap is usually the cumbersome and difficult stuff that you forget after 2 weeks of not looking at it, so even if you already did it for the CFA you have to practically re-learn all the details again for the FRM (which of course is easier than starting fresh, but still). The FRM is tough; I put in just as much time for it as I did for each CFA level, and that was a truckload. But it is a really rewarding program and a great complement to the CFA. It won’t turn you into a quant, but you get a good basic glimpse of what they deal with and where things can go wrong.

Hi Klarsolo, Do you recommend using the core FRM readings to study or is the Bionic Turtle/Schweser sufficient? I am only taking Level 1 in November and think I can put in 300 hours to prepare. Can you shed some light on your preparation? Thanks.

How would you rate the difficulty of CFA Level III vs FRM? What is the best way to prepare for the FRM?

I used the same study approach as I did for the CFA and did both the core readings and Schweser. This allows you to choose between different texts in case something is confusing to you. The big difference between the FRM and the CFA core readings was that the CFA readings usually came with great end of chapter problems and answers, while the FRM readings did not. Some of them did have some questions, but there usually were no answers given, making them pretty much useless for me. This is where Schweser really was handy, especially with their online question bank. You can’t effectively memorize 3000 pages of material without constant repetition and being able to quickly test yourself (which also builds some self confidence). I didn’t use Bionic Turtle, but did look at some of their free online samples and youtube videos. David’s explanations are top notch and really helped me out with some confusing concepts that weren’t well explained in either Schweser or the FRM core readings. You’re probably fine with choosing them over Schweser. Putting in 300 hours should be sufficient time. I started in May 2009 and pretty much studied every day. I’d read Schweser to get a quick overview of what I’m dealing with, do the end of chapter problems and online questions and then with that knowledge read the FRM core readings, which usually are a little more confusing but also more detailed. As I got closer towards the exam I’d focus more and more on just doing problems over and over again to home in on concepts where I still had issues with. I prepared pretty much as hard for the CFA Level III as for the FRM. The preparations were just as time consuming, but I thought the actual CFA exam was easier than the FRM. Many of the questions on the FRM were very tricky and difficult, plus i ran out of time in the morning session, something which never happened to me on any of the CFA levels. I was actually done with the CFA Level III morning and afternoon session in half the time, giving me plenty of opportunity to look over things again. But during the FRM exam I could barely fill in answers and had to guess on a number of questions, which didn’t make me feel good at all. Very tricky stuff. Fortunately I passed both. Good luck y’all.

As someone who has passed the FRM exam and been through two levels of CFA, I can also confirm that there is some overlap in the areas such as quants, fixed income and derivatives etc… But you need to be highly numerate for the FRM. Also there is no accounting rubbish in FRM that makes up a major portion of the CFA. Schweser is a life saver in terms of practice questions for FRM. Also, for FRM I would recommend using the Jorion handbook for actual past questions only not for the readings though.

Thanks for the info. So I guess you are saying that for the most part Schweser or Bionic Turtle is enough. Question on Schweser “Qbank Questions” I just took CFA Level II and the “Qbank” was not that great, the questions were much harder on the exam, it helped build a foundation but not worth the $$. I found the Q-bank worked great for CFA Level I. Could someone comment on how the Q-bank translates for FRM 1, compared to CFA Level 1 & 2 ? Or any other feedback on the Q-bank?

@ cpepin The Schweser Q bank for the FRM is not that great at all. I’m not a fan of the Schweser Q bank for CFA either but, for that, they have a deeper body of questions and therefore you can test yourself on weaker areas and not have to drill down into the easy stuff too often. That is not the case with the FRM. It’s just not deep enough and not on a par with the questions that the FRM exam will pose for you.

Yes. the Schweser question bank is not as hard as the actual questions on the exam. But what is the alternative? The alternative is that you hardly have any questions to help you prepare. I rather have easier questions than no questions at all. Keep in mind, to pass this test you have to essentially “outperform” your average fellow test taker. Even if your Schweser question bank sucks and you only get 50 % on the exam right, the average person that didn’t even use this question bank may only get 40 % right and thus you should definitely pass.

I passed CFA Level II exam in Aug 2008 and after the result, I decided to go for FRM,and it was 15 days away from the standard registration closed.I registered on Aug 31(if I remember correctly) and I started my review from Sep 15 officially till Nov 14. The on Nov 15,I did the FRM exam and I can’t tell what I felt then - a bit of both pass and fail. In Jan 2009, result came out and I passed FRM (there was only one level exam back then). I wouldn’t say there is too much overlap there between CFA and FRM exams,as they focus on different things,even in investment field. I wouldn’t participate in FRM exam simply because there might be some overlap there. Now my original motivation is most CFA guys I have seen all bear FRM designation as well. I just did what most of these guys did.

I agree with what FRMer says, there’s not a great deal of overlap and if you are thinking it’s going to be an easy fit for your other studies.

I haven’t written either FRM Part 1 or FRM Part 2. However, I have browsed through the curriculum. It appears to me at first glance that the overlap between FRM Part 1 and CFA is high; probably more than 50%. But it looks like the overlap between FRM Part 2 and CFA is low; closer to 0% than 50%. Perhaps GARP has deliberately separated the curriculum into general finance knowledge (Part 1), and Risk-Management-specific material (Part 2).

I still doubt it…

Wendy Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > It appears to me at first glance that the overlap > between FRM Part 1 and CFA is high; probably more > than 50%. > It looks that way, but there is almost no overlap. The subjects might be the same, but the focus is different.

Hi, How is quant part different on FRM? Some calc? stochastic cacl? integrals? Thanks.

Hello all…sorry to hijack this thread. I plan on doing FRM lv1+2 in Nov after writing my CFA lv2 in June. My question is, is the study guide from GARP enough to pass or will I have to resort to external texts like Schweser? thanks

@AllanC Good luck with that! I did the full FRM in Nov 2009 after the CFA in June and found it a real grind. I got it but then had to crank it up for the June exam in 2010. It’s a sacrifice. As for the study guides. I only relied on Schweser texts for the FRM. As I have said before, the Schweser coverage for the FRM is not as good as it is for the CFA. Obviously the exam hasn’t been around as long therefore, I’m guessing, that they are still adjusting to GARP’s idiosyncracies (and they have a few!). Also in the last couple of years the syllabus has been changing quite a bit from year to year. It is not quite as incremental as the CFA. The year I did it they had just added another 30% to the required readings. Given the time the externals have to prepare the materials its always going to be a struggle to accommodate that. If I had my time again, I would use both. I didn’t feel at all confident having used just Schweser and I don’t like feeling like that going into an exam.