CFA Exam vs. LIFA Program

Pay Only If You Pass

Become a LIFA Charterholder

The International Research Association offers the Licensed International Financial Analyst (LIFA) exam worldwide.
No enrollment/registration fee is required. You pay only if you pass the exam.

Click here to register now.

Tap each CFA exam by CFA Institute versus LIFA below for additional details.


CFA Exam

Enrollment Fee CFA exam versus LIFA exam enrollment fee USD $0 USD $450
Total Exam Fees CFA exam registration fees No enrollment fee.
No upfront registration payment.
No rescheduling fee.
$750 exam fee
only if you pass.
USD $0.00-$750
$450 enrollment fee (Lev. I only).
$700-$1,000 registration fee.
$250 rescheduling fee.
Upfront payment required.
No refund if you fail.
USD $1,150-$1,700
Pass Rates CFA exam pass rates Level I: 27%
Level II: 32%
Level III: 48%
Level I: 42%
Level II: 46%
Level III: 56%
Exam Dates CFA exam dates 365 Days a Year Limited Days Each Year
Attempt Limits CFA exam attempt limits 4-Attempt Limit Unlimited Attempts
Waiting Period CFA exam waiting period between exams 60 Days 180 to 365 Days
Refund Policy CFA exam refund policy Not Applicable No Refunds
Charterholder Grading CFA exam grading protocol No Yes
Pass Rate Disclosure CFA exam pass rate disclosure Full Prior Disclosure No Prior Disclosure
Charter Dues CFA exam charterholder dues USD $275 USD $275
Contact Us

Do you have questions about the LIFA Exam Program?

Exam Enrollment Fee:

Become a charterholder because you're qualified, not because you can afford it.

We believe there is no reasonable justification to levy enrollment fees on candidates, simply to enroll (in minutes, online) for an exam.

Exam Registration Fee:

We agree with candidates that registration fees in the industry are too high.

Why would an exam administrator repeatedly collect money from candidates who cannot pass an exam?
Some believe it's necessary to feed the huge bureaucracy's overhead and expenses (extensive travel expenses and layers of management, for example).

If you fail the LIFA exam, you pay nothing. LIFA exam registration is available on our secure LIFA exam registration page.

Current Pass Rates:

We believe pass rates in the industry are too high.

Other exam pass rates continue to trend upward, almost reaching or exceeding 50 percent!

Highly bureaucratic exam administrations that charge significant enrollment and registration fees are in a really tough spot - Lower pass rates bring in much less revenue, but the value of a scarce designations is higher.
Higher pass rates generate considerably more revenue, but the value of the resulting increased number of designations is lower.

The LIFA Exam Program has the lowest pass rates, by far, in the industry. See the LIFA Exam Curriculum & Exam Guide.

Exam Dates:

We believe candidates should have total flexibility when choosing an exam date.

The LIFA Exam Program offers maximum flexibility, with virtually no limits when scheduling an exam.

Take the exam when you are ready, not when some exam administrator tells you.

Exam Attempt Limits:

We believe there must be exam attempt limits.

Why would a not-for-profit exam administrator market to, and then accept thousands of dollars from, candidates who repeatedly fail an exam?

Waiting Period:

Making candidates wait a full year to take or re-take an exam is truly archaic.

We believe a 60-day waiting period between exam attempts is reasonable and fair.

Refund Policy:

We believe there is no justification for refusing to issue a refund to a registered candidate who is not able to sit on exam day.

When CFA exams where cancelled because of COVID-19, CFA Institute made the astounding decision to refuse refunds for CFA candidates. That decision during the pandemic will never be forgotten by former CFA candidates worldwide.

Since there are no LIFA exam registration fees unless you pass, you would never have to be refunded. If you can't make it on your exam day, you pay nothing.

Exam Grading:

We believe a grading system must have zero chance of a real or perceived conflict of interest.

Some believe, when charterholders grade exams, there is a possibility of unfairness. Not 'letting you in the club' should never be an issue.

Having an independent grading system ensures there are no potential or real conflicts of interest.

Pass Rate Disclosure:

The pass rate for an exam (the percentage of candidates that will pass) should be communicated to candidates prior to sitting for the exam, not after the exam is taken.

Simply set the rate, communicate the rate, and execute. This ensures transparency and promotes confidence in the program.

Charterholder Dues:

Charterholder dues are paid annually after a candidate successfully completes the Level III exam.