Bibliography or Reference List

1: Acronyms

Spell out acronyms in the references list, including AIMR.

        Example: Brown, M.J. 2005. Location, Location, Location. Washington, DC: National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.

Incorrect: Brown, M.J. 2005. Location, Location, Location. Washington, DC: NAREIT.

Example: Dynkin, Lev. 2000. “Global Bond Benchmarks.” In Global Bond Management II: The Search for Alpha. Charlottesville, VA: Association for Investment Management and Research.

EXCEPTION: Because NBER is so well known, it is OK to use NBER and not spell out in the reference list.

         Example: Campbell, John Y., and Robert J. Shiller. 2001. “Valuation Ratios and the Long-Run Stock Market Outlook: An Update.” NBER Working Paper 8221 (April).

2: Capitalization

In editing references, we follow our own styles for capitalization to be consistent within our own publications. We would generally not make other changes. For example, we wouldn’t change a slash to an em or en dash. We might change a hyphen to an en or em dash, however, if we were sure the change was correct.

3: Location

We add the two-letter state abbreviation if the city of publication is in the United States and is not on the AP list. For New York City, the form is “New York,” not “New York City” and not “New York, NY.” When state abbreviations are used, use the US Post Office two-letter abbreviations; that is, use “VA” rather than “Va.”, “Washington, DC” rather than “D.C.” (For a list of postal abbreviations for US states, see the official US Postal Service list.)

Similarly, non-US cities on the AP list do not need a country (e.g., “Paris.” But “Limoges, France”).

For cities in the United Kingdom, use UK. Spell out other country names.

Examples: Oakland, CA; Macon, GA; Englewood Cliffs, NJ; Homewood, IL; London; Oxford, UK; Berlin.

Make sure you find out whether “Cambridge” is Massachusetts or the United Kingdom.

Note: If the state or country name is given in the publisher’s name, do not repeat it (e.g., Berkeley: University of California Press; NOT Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.)

4: Multiple Works with Multiple Authors

In a list of references, if one author has published multiple works with multiple authors, order alphabetically by second author’s surname, as in the examples below:

Burt, Ronald S. 1992. Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

———. 1997. “The Contingent Value of Social Capital.” Administrative Science Quarterly 42 (1): 339–66.

Burt, Ronald S., Miguel Guilarte, Holly J. Raider, and Yuki Yasuda. 2002. “Competition, Contingency, and the External Structure of Markets.” Advances in Strategic Management 19 (2): 167–217.

Burt, Ronald S., Robin M. Hogarth, and Claude Michaud. 2000. “The Social Capital of French and American Managers.” Organization Science 11 (4): 123–47.

Burt, Ronald S., and Don Ronchi. 2007. “Teaching Executives How to See Social Capital: Results from a Field Experiment.” Social Science Research 27 (8): 1156–80.

5: Page Numbers

Do not use commas in page numbers.

6: Specific Rules for Bibliographies and Reference Lists

  • In a footnote or reference list entry, if the title of an article ends in a punctuation mark (such as a question mark or exclamation point), do not add another punctuation mark before or after the quotation marks.
  • If the edition is other than the first, put the edition just before the place. Use numerals and abbreviate “edition” to “ed.”—e.g., 2nd ed.
    Example: Bernstein, Peter. 1992. Capital Ideas: The Improbable Progress of Wall Street, 2nd ed. New York: Free Press.
  • If several works by the same author(s) are listed, they are listed chronologically beginning with the earliest published work. If the years are the same, use the title that is earliest in the alphabet and use [year]a, [year]b:
    Jones, Edgar A. 2000a “Life Is Hard on Wall Street.” …
    ______. 2000b. “Wild Bets in the Bond Market.” …
  • Omit the “The” in a reference list or footnote citations of journals and newspapers and use a lowercase roman “the” in text.
    Examples: I read an article in the March issue of the Journal of Business. I saw the abstract in the CFA Digest this month.
    Jones, Lureen. “A Million Bucks in Your Pocket.” Journal of Business 6 (1): 22–28.
  • Use short names of publishers (and no “Inc.,” Company”, Co.,” etc.).
    Examples: Irwin; JAI Press, University of California Press
  • When author last names contain an article (such as “de” and “van”), they should be lowercase if they are lowercase when the full name is given.
    Example in text: Author Johann de Villiers wrote…
    Example in bibliography: de Villiers, Johann. “A Million Bucks in Your Pocket.” Journal of Business 6 (1): 22–28.


General Guidance

See CMS 9.5 for guidance on numbers beginning sentences.

See CMS 9.6 for guidance on ordinal numbers.

See CMS 9.7 for guidance on consistency and flexibility with numbers in sentences, particularly when several numbers appear in the same sentence and refer to the same thing.

Inclusive amounts

When the words “thousand,” “billion,” and “million” are used in inclusive amounts, our style is to give the full amounts and use “to” rather than an en dash. The rationale is that if an en dash is used, the span could be misleading.

Example: “$2 billion to $5 billion,” not “$2–$5 billion”

The reason is that “$2–$5 billion” could be interpreted as “two dollars to five billion dollars.” (See also the section Currency.)

Inclusive years

Used as an adjective: When a range of years is used as an adjective modifying a noun, use an en dash between the years. If the range begins and ends during the same century, the first two digits of the second year are not repeated—except that full four-digit dates should be used in book and article titles for our publications. For all other publications, follow how it looked in the original.

Examples: during the 1940–50 period, in the 2000–02 bear market, the 1801–99 famine, the 1492–1604 age of exploration, “Profit Maximizing: 1940–1950,” The 1963–1990 Period of CFA Institute History

Used as a noun: If the range of years is being used as a noun, use full years and an en dash or spell out the words joining the range and use all the digits of both years.

Examples: the fashions of 1607–1610, from 1492 to 1604, between 1975 and 1985

Numbers smaller than one

In formal writing, when a percentage point is less than 1.0, consider the amount singular (e.g., 3.5 bps but 0.12 bp).

Page numbers

No matter how many digits are in the page numbers, use all digits of the second number (except in References).

Examples: 3–10, 21–29, 46–88, 107–109, 1496–1504, 13480–13482

Note: No commas in page numbers.

Phone numbers

Use the following phone number format:

+country code (area code) xxx-xxxx. EXCEPTION: For toll-free numbers, do not include the country code. That is, use (800) 247-8132.

Examples: Contact CFA Institute at +1 (434) 951-5499. Contact us at (800) 955-2345 from the United States or Canada.

Spelling out vs. using numerals

In general, numbers from one through nine are spelled out in text. Numerals are used for 10 and all higher numbers up to 1 million.

Examples: 47, 102, 3,044, 700,000; three to six months; 30–60 months; two to three times; 20–30 times; a three- to six-month period

Very large numbers (1 million and up) are expressed as numerals followed by the appropriate word.

Examples: 5 million, 3 billion, 7 trillion

To abbreviate million, billion, and trillion in tables, figures, or notes, use m, bn, and trn, respectively.

Examples: 5m, 3bn, 7trn

Numerals are used for units of measurement, including percentages, multipliers, and mathematical terms. Always include the initial zero if the number represented is less than zero.

Examples: 1%, 0.12%, 1 inch, 8 gallons, a price multiple of 2 times earnings (but “the economy grew three times as fast as anyone thought it would”), a standard deviation of 2 (but “two standard deviations”), 40 bps

Exception: Spell out zero when it is used alone (that is, not preceding a unit-of-measurement word), but use 0 when zero is used with other numerals.

Examples: 0%–1.5%; ranged from 0 to 25; returns were below zero


Use a comma in index amounts of four or more digits. (See also the Comma section.)

Example: By 2002, the DJIA was way past 8,000.