CFA Institute Name, Trademarks, and Designations

General Guidance

Our brand represents who we are, what we stand for, and what we have to offer the profession. If we do not protect our brand, we run the risk of losing all this. As writers and editors, we are guardians of the brand. And although the rules may seem trifling, when enforced, they carry significant weight in courts of law.

To protect CFA, CIPM, and Investment Foundations, use them only as adjectives. Do not use them as nouns; do not use them in the plural; do not use them in the possessive.

The first time one of our marks—such as “CFA”—is used in a publication, it should be followed by the registration symbol (®).

Organization Name

The organization’s name is CFA Institute. Do not make it possessive, and only precede it by “the” when used as an adjective.

Examples: CFA Institute announced the June 2004 exam results. (NOT The CFA Institute announced the June 2004 exam results.)

The CFA Institute Board of Governors will meet in November. (Use of “the” OK because the organization name is an adjective.)

The mission of CFA Institute is to promote . . . (NOT CFA Institute’s mission is to promote . . .)

When writing out the URL, format it as (i.e., do not try to cap anything).

CFA Institute Research Foundation should always be referred to by its full name, with no “the” preceding the name.

CFA Designation

The registered mark “CFA” is placed in commas after the person’s name. When used this way, the registered mark ® is not used.

Example: John Doe, CFA, is president of XYZ Investments.

In all other cases, the mark must follow the rules just mentioned: Use it only as an adjective, do not use it in the plural, do not use it in the possessive.

Examples: “holders of the CFA® designation,” “holders of the CFA® charter,” “a CFA® candidate or charterholder”

Do not use the CFA designation for authors cited in footnotes or reference lists.

Other CFA Institute Designations and Trademarks

As with the CFA designation, all of our trademarks must be used as an adjective, not as a noun, and not in the possessive. Following is a sample of some of our trademarks:

  • CFA®
  • CFA Society®
    • When referring to a specific society, avoid this general trademark and use only society name–e.g., CFA Society Nevada
  • Chartered Financial Analyst®
  • CIPM®
  • GIPS®
  • Investment Foundations®
  • Financial Analysts Journal®
  • CFA Institute Global Body of Investment Knowledge (GBIK®)
    • GBIK is a registered trademark; the words represented by the acronym are not.
  • Let’s Measure Up.™

Note that for the GIPS trademark, the preference is to use the phrases “the GIPS requirements” or “the GIPS recommendations” except when referring to the entire set of standards—for which we need to say “the GIPS standards.”

We prefer for “CFA” to only be used only with this short list of nouns (e.g., CFA Program curriculum, not CFA curriculum):

  • CFA® Program
  • CFA Institute
  • CFA® charter/charterholder
  • CFA® designation
  • Level x CFA® exam (for CFA Program exams)
    • Example: I just registered for the Level II CFA® exam.

Note that we do not use the registered trademark symbol with the organization’s name except in approved logo lockups.

For a full list of CFA Institute trademarks and correct use of the registered and trademarked symbols, see the Guide for Use of CFA Institute Marks.

Non-CFA Institute Proprietary Material

We are not required to use another company’s trademark. Because we may not know which brand names, for example, are trademarked, the best approach is not to use a trademark symbol but to use the company’s name that owns the brand name or proprietary mark.

Examples: JPMorgan’s RiskMetrics system; Stern Stewart’s economic value added (EVA) approach

Commas go AFTER the registration symbol:

Example: The Financial Analysts Journal®, published four times a year, is a magnificent publication.