Certified Fund Specialist (CFS Exam)


The term Certified Fund Specialist refers to an award that serves as an indication of expertise in the mutual fund industry.  The Certified Fund Specialist Exam, or CFS Exam, is developed and administered by the Institute of Business and Finance.  The purpose of the exam is to ensure individuals are qualified to provide analytically sound mutual fund recommendations to their clients.


The Certified Fund Specialist Exam, or CFS Exam, refers to a program consisting of six modules.  The CFS course of study, as well as each examination, is based on case studies that highlight what a practitioner may face as part of their daily interactions with clients.  The entire program covers a variety of mutual fund topics and takes approximately 23 hours of study over 15 weeks to complete.  Candidates must have a bachelor's degree or 2,000 hours of related industry experience.  The six program modules appear below:

  • Module I:  includes topics such as regulation, structure, expenses, and titling.
  • Module II:  includes topics such as management and fund selection, managing risk, equities, fixed-income investments and hybrids.
  • Module III:  includes topics such as tax-free bonds, money market accounts, and the time value of money.
  • Module IV:  includes topics such as categories of assets, market indicators, real estate investment trusts, exchange-traded funds, and closed-end funds.
  • Module V:  includes topics such as risk, timing the market, determining when to sell a security, and income taxes.
  • Module VI:  topics include the basics of asset allocation, efficient frontier, optimizing asset allocation, and modern portfolio theory.

The CFS certification is achieved when the candidate successfully passes three non-cumulative examinations in addition to one case study.  Each examination will cover two modules and consists of 50 multiple choice questions.

Related Terms

CFP Exam, CPA Exam, CFA Eam, ChFC Exam, CICCIMA, CMT, CLU Exam, CFE Exam, FRM Exam