Everything you need to know about the changes to CFA® Level III in 2025
Pathways and new content

Which pathways to choose and when to register ?

The asset management industry is evolving with a growing share of private markets and wealth management. To better meet market demands and the aspirations and interests of CFA® candidates, the CFA Institute has redesigned the Level III CFA® exam starting in 2025 by making 25% to 35% of the curriculum optional. Candidates can add value to a core curriculum by choosing one of three pathways : portfolio management, private markets, or wealth management.

Structure of the CFA Level III® Exam

Candidates will need to select their pathway at the time of registration, with no possibility of changing it later. Approximately 65-75% of the exam content will cover the core curriculum, while the remaining portion will focus on the chosen pathway. The exam will include multiple-choice questions and essays for both sections.

A mandatory but ungraded "practical skills" module of 10-15 hours, which must be completed to receive results (similar to Levels I and II), will focus on portfolio construction.

For more information about the CFA® Level III exam, click here.

Core curriculum content

The core curriculum will cover the following areas:

  • Asset Allocation
  • Portfolio Construction
  • Performance Measurement
  • Derivatives and Risk Management
  • Ethics

Pathway Content : Private Wealth

Offering a global perspective on serving high-net-worth clients (wealth over $5 million), this option follows a young adult through to the transfer of his wealth. This specialty includes seven chapters:

  • The wealth management market.
  • Collaborating with high-net-worth clients : family dynamics, complex structures, and governance.
  • Financial planning.
  • Investment planning.
  • Asset and capital preservation: risk management, strategies against inflation and currency volatility.
  • Advising high-net-worth clients.
  • Wealth transfer: gifts, inheritance, philanthropy.

Pathway content : private markets

Focusing on private market investments, this option covers all key stages of the investment process, from prospecting to deal closing, building on skills acquired in the CFA® program. This option includes seven chapters:

  • Private investments and structures: investment methods, comparison with public markets.
  • Shareholder perspectives and investment processes: roles of majority and minority partners, alignment of interests, and fund performance.
  • Equity investment: strategies, valuation, risks, and returns.
  • Private debt: debt financing, ratio analysis.
  • Private special situations: opportunities related to financial dislocations, complex situations.
  • Private real estate: characteristics, valuation, risks, and returns.
  • Infrastructure: investment methods, processes, valuation.

Pathway content : portfolio management

This option focuses on the construction, management, optimization, and valuation of portfolios of securities including equities, bonds, and derivatives. This pathway includes eight advanced chapters on portfolio management in public markets :

  • Index-based equity strategies.
  • Active equity management: strategies.
  • Active equity management: portfolio construction.
  • Index-based and liability-based bond management strategies.
  • Active bond management: yield curve strategies.
  • Active bond management: credit strategies.
  • Case study in institutional portfolio management.
  • Trading strategy and execution.

In conclusion, the CFA® Level III specialties offer candidates an opportunity to prepare specifically for various opportunities within the asset management industry while maintaining a solid foundation in portfolio management. Choose the pathway that best matches your career aspirations !

Next course for 2025  starting on September !  Explore all our preparation options for your CFA® Level III.

Which Practical Skills Module to Choose at CFA® Level I ?