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ICFAI stops admissions to CFA course

Move comes as legal battle with US-based CFA Institute ends after out-of-court settlement

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A change has been made in this story. Please see the correction at the end.

Students in India can no longer enroll for the offered by the ICFAI (Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India) University.

In an out-of-court settlement with the US-based Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute, ICFAI University has decided that no fresh admissions will be taken up for CFA programme, in accordance with its settlement agreement. The institute has stopped admitting students since May this year.

“This resolution means peaceful co-existence and promotion of a harmonious relationship. ICFAI since this May is no longer offering the CFA programme, and will not offer the programme with name ‘CFA’,” said Sudhakar Rao, director, ICFAI Group.

  • 1997: files case against ICFAI over use of the word 'CFA'
  • August 2006: Delhi High Court issues an interim injunction order asking ICFAI to drop the word ‘CFA’ from its name by the end of its academic year (May 2007)
  • May 2012: CFA Institute and ICFAI go for out of court settlement
  • March 2007: ICFAI files a petition in Gauhati High Court alleging AICTE and UGC are not taking action against the CFA institute; The HC directs AICTE to look into the matter
  • May 2007: AICTE issues a regulation notice to CFA institute and asks it to cease operations with immediate effect
  • April 2012: CFA Institute and AICTE resolve dispute

ICFAI began the CFA programme 25 years ago in India in 1987. CFA Institute took ICFAI to the court in 1997.

CFA Institute objected to the use of the word ‘CFA’ by ICFAI, which offered an educational programme specialising in finance called the CFA programme and awards a title called CFA.

“We are pleased to reach an agreement with ICFAI on this issue, and believe this is an appropriate settlement to a long-standing dispute,” said Ashvin Vibhakar, managing director of Asia Pacific Operations at CFA Institute.

ICFAI, however, will continue to operate under the ICFAI brand and students currently enrolled in the programme will be eligible to receive a CFA degree from ICFAI. “ICFAI will also advise alumni and students to use the terminology ‘CFA (ICFAI)’ to help distinguish themselves from CFA Institute’s charterholders,” CFA Institute said on its website: “As you know, CFA Institute’s mission is to promote the highest standards of ethics and professionalism. Both parties are pleased that the litigation is over, and expect that the professionals affiliated with each organisation will treat each other with courtesy and respect. We hope that you will join us in promoting a harmonious relationship with ICFAI.

“With this issue behind us, we look forward to maintaining a strong focus on the support of our members and candidates in India, and our continued commitment to advance the Indian investment profession,” added Vibhakar.

This resolution comes three months after CFA Institute and the country’s technical education regulator, the (AICTE), decided to patch-up after fighting for over six-years.

AICTE had taken CFA Institute to court saying the institute’s programme did not have the technical regulator’s approval to operate in India. CFA had maintained that its course did not fall under AICTE’s ambit.

CFA Institute currently has 878 CFA charterholders in India and has registered a little more than 20,800 candidates for CFA exams in 2012.

Resolution of both the cases has cleared the deck for CFA Institute to expand operations in India. To begin with, it will open a test centre in Pune. “This will take our test centres to six in India. We will continue to examine where candidates are coming from and add centres accordingly. For example, next centre could be in Gujarat,” Vibhakar had earlier told Business Standard.

CFA Institute and its member society, the Indian Association of Investment Professionals, work with the Securities and Exchange Board of India and the National Institute of Securities Markets. “We will be investing in India to provide a better market and better transparency for a stronger market. You will see many such engagements,” Vibhakar added.

Correction: The last paragraph of this story that appeared in the newspaper has been removed.

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