Courtesy Titles and Names

See CMS 8.7–8.17 for guidance on how to treat names from specific countries.

When using a courtesy title to refer to a woman and a man, use “Ms.” and “Mr.,” respectively, unless “Professor” or “Dr.” is appropriate. In speaker or author biographies and letters to the editor, use the courtesy title on second reference to an author. “Professor” should be used only if the speaker or author is currently teaching at the college level. Use “Dr.” if the person has a PhD but is not teaching.

Example: Katrina Sherrerd, CFA, received her PhD from the Darden School at the University of Virginia; Dr. Sherrerd began her career . . . ; David Anthony manages the Country Risk Service. Mr. Anthony previously served as . . .

In all other circumstances, use the last name only on second reference.

Example: Milton Friedman’s analysis of . . . ; Friedman then went on to explain . . .

Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as prime minister . . . ; Thatcher’s economic policy . . .

Always use “chair” as the title for those who chair CFA Institute boards or committees.

Example: CFA Institute Board of Governors Chair Aaron Low, CFA; Aaron Low, CFA, chair of the Board of Governors…

When a person has an endowed (named) chair, use initial caps for the whole title (without “the”).

Example: Robert Brooks, CFA, is the Wallace D. Malone, Jr., Endowed Chair of Financial Management at the University of Alabama.

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.

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.

Capitalization (Including Job Titles)

See CMS 8.18–8.32 for guidance on the capitalization of job titles.

Note: In informal publications, such as newsletters, the author can use initial caps for job titles, but the usage must be consistent throughout the piece.

See CMS 8.155–8.162 for guidance on headline-style capitalization and titles of works.

Note: We deviate from CMS 8.159, point 3, in that we capitalize all important words in a headline, even in hyphenated compounds.

Example: A Non-Family Plan, The Anti-Cat Agenda

The words from which an acronym is formed do not necessarily need to be capitalized if proper nouns are not involved.

Examples: capital asset pricing model (CAPM), but the US Department of Labor (DOL)

Capitalize the word before a specific numerical unit.

Examples: Table 1, Figure 3, Equation 5, Group 2, Year 4, Month 36, Day 45, Note 6.

Exceptions: page 37, column 3, row 9.

Do not capitalize “the” when used with the name of a college, university, or company unless the author objects.

Example: the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Exception: She attended The Ohio State University.

Avoid overcapitalization. Do not capitalize words to call attention to them or to give them a sense of importance. For example, do not capitalize the initial “s” when referring to CFA Institute societies.

Examples: Member societies require that . . . ; CFA Beijing is the first member society in China . . . ; this society claims . . .

Acronyms and Short Formal Names

See the Word List for a list of commonly used acronyms and usage guidelines.

An acronym may be used before or after the spelled-out form. Placing the acronym first is helpful in preserving the flavor of speech.

Examples: The PBGC (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation) has issued new regulations on minimum funding requirements. The US Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose in the first quarter.

To decide whether to use articles such as “the” with acronyms, test to see whether the article would be used with the spelled-out version.

Examples: The CAPM is often used (“the capital asset pricing model is often used”) but APT is often used (“arbitrage pricing theory is often used”).

If the potential for confusion exists, use “US” on first mention of US institutions—for example, the US Congress, federal departments (e.g., the US Department of Labor), and the US SEC.