Compensation Survey Shows CFA® Charterholders In Canada Earn Excellent Compensation Averaging $280,454


Toronto, August 11, 2015 – Canadian professionals holding the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) designation earned an average of $280,454 in 2014 up from $239,215 in 2011, according to the results of a compensation survey released by CFA Societies Canada. Notably, the median compensation level among survey participants was $147,550. This wide variation occurs as the highest income earners, usually those with 20 or more years of experience, earn significantly larger compensations and therefore increase the average income significantly. The sector of employment and the position held also contributed to the variation in salaries.

“The study reveals that the CFA designation is an excellent investment of time and effort. Charterholders continue to be sought after in traditional financial fields such as asset/fund management, brokerage and investment banking. In addition, we see growth in representation in non-traditional fields such as energy, utilities and systems management. The designation’s focus on analytical rigour and ethical practices is well regarded and those that earn the charter are well-placed for career advancement and compensation growth,” said Aaron Brown, CFA, Director, Portfolio Management for Alberta Treasury Board & Finance and Presidents Council Representative for the Canadian region.

Total average compensation reported by the sample group reflects CFA charterholders’ high levels of experience, education and responsibility. Respondents averaged 15 years of experience. Two-thirds of respondents held other degrees and designations in addition to an undergraduate degree and the CFA designation (including MBA (22%) and more than half (53%) said they manage assets averaging $4.2 billion. If this high-net-worth portfolio was commission based, the average charterholder would be receiving less than 1% for managing such high responsibilities and risks.

Key survey findings: The table below indicates that Base Salary contributed between 45%- 51% in total compensation for 2011 to 2014. The remainder of the income was a mixture of various bonuses and commissions.

  • By position, total compensation is highest for equity PMs, CEO/CAO/COOs/CIOs and multi-asset PMs. Total compensation is lowest for portfolio analysts, buy-side risk analysts, compliance/regulatory, and those in marketing and product development.
  • Only 16% of respondents have base salaries of less than $75k, while 35% have salaries over $200k.
  • Half of CFA charterholder respondents (53%) manage AUM, averaging $4.2 billion, up significantly from $3.5 billion in 2012.
  • The most commonly held secondary designation for CFA charterholders is the MBA, held by two in ten CFA charterholder survey respondents (22%). Other top designations include other Master’s degrees (17%), the CIM designation (7%), the CA (6%), the CFP (5%) and the FRM (5%).


More than one-third of those surveyed work for banks, insurance firms, and large pension plans – the remaining work for other organizations. Top activities engaged in include financial analysis, client relationship management, portfolio management/stock selection/analysis, strategy development and planning, and general management/ administration. Fewer are engaged in specialist activities like taxation, information technology, audit or management/cost accounting.

The study was conducted by Environics Research and the results are based on input from 2,606 CFA charterholders invited to participate in an online survey between April 28 and May 25, 2015. It is considered accurate to within +/- 1.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The self-reported data included in this report covers broadly defined positions and, as such, provides a useful reference for pay levels. It should also be noted that because the survey includes only data from a sample of Canadian CFA charterholders it is not necessarily representative of the full CFA Institute membership or the total population of individuals in these positions.

A summary of the results is available on

For a direct link to the final report, click here.


About CFA Societies in Canada 

CFA Societies in Canada is an alliance of the 12 Canadian member societies of CFA Institute, with over 15,000 combined members in Canada. CFA Institute is the global body that administers the Chartered Financial Analyst exam and sets voluntary, ethics-based performance-reporting standards for the investment industry. CFA Institute is a global, non-profit professional association of more than 130,000 investment practitioners and educators in 145 member societies. CFA Institute and its member societies work together to achieve a common vision – to advance ethical decision making and rigorous educational standards throughout the investment profession, along with protecting and promoting the CFA designation.

Chartered Financial Analyst® and CFA® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.


Media contact: 

Patricia Stathi

CFA Society Toronto

366.5755 X235

Find out how Environics can help your organization

Related insights


366 Adelaide Street West
Suite 101, Toronto, ON
Canada M5V 1R9
416 920 9010


116 Albert St
Suite 300, Ottawa, ON
Canada K1P 5G3
613 230 5089


421 7th Ave SW
Suite 3000, Calgary, AB
Canada T2P 4K9
403 613 5735

Share This