FRM Certification - Is it Important for My Career?

Avadhut |
June 25, 2020

Here we are once again talking about Financial Risk Management. And why shouldn’t we? Apart from the fact that it’s fun, Risk Management has now become one of the most sought after positions in the world, in the light of recent events. 

Therefore, given the fact that more and more young professionals or even students have caught wind of this and are now venturing into the world of Risk Management, this is one of the questions that I get asked the most.

Is an FRM Certification really worth it? Will it really help my career or is it just one of those things that I attach to my resume and no one even glances at it?

And this is exactly what we’re going to detail in this piece. What is an FRM Certification, why you need it, how to get it, how much it costs, and everything in between.

What Is FRM Certification?

Many of the people that I talk to wrongly believe that the FRM is a degree. It’s not.

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The FRM Certification is a professional designation that is globally recognized. It will be awarded to you by GARP or the Global Association of Risk Professionals if you manage to complete their certification program and then pass the exams. 

The FRM Certification is the global recognized standard when it comes to risk management.

All You Need to Know about the FRM Exam

As I mentioned above, you can only get the financial risk manager FRM Certification if you sit through the exams. Let’s talk about them.

You do not need any professional or educational background to qualify for the FRM Exam.

This examination veers toward the practical side. It means that all the questions will try to relate the theory you have learned to the practical, real-world situations you could encounter as a risk manager.

Therefore, my advise here is to focus on this rather than memorizing the theory.

You also have to comply with a program that professionals GARP or the Global Association of Risk Professionals impose if you want to become a Certified FRM or a Certified Financial Risk Manager. I have outlined it for you below.

FRM Certification requirements

Keep in mind you will need two years of working experience in a related field before you can become certified!

The examination in itself consists of two parts. Needless to say, you must pass both of them. Here are some details about these exams.

FRM Exam Part I

This is the part of the examination where you have to prove how much you know about risk management theories, concepts, and how exactly you would apply them in your day to day life as a risk manager.

The exam consists of 100 questions of the multiple choice variety. You will have 4 hours to answer them all. You may take this exam every year either in May or in November.

FRM Exam Part II

This is where all the theoretical knowledge you covered in Part I of the exam turns to the more practical side of things. You will have the same amount of time, 4 hours, but only 80 questions to answer this time.

Both exams are valid for two years after you take them. During which you can focus on your work experience.

Here are two diagrams I have prepared for you showing exactly what subjects you need to prepare for each part of the exam. 

FRM Certification exam syllabus

What Is the FRM Pass Rate?

The passing score for the financial risk manager FRM designation is somewhere around 60%.

For example, in May 2020, the rates were 40% for Part I of the Exam and approximately 60% for the second part of the exam. 

Evidently, the rates always fluctuate. An interesting fact is that the organization in itself has reported that the passing rates of the exam have somewhat declined in the past few years. Which brings us to this.

How difficult is FRM?

According to reviews and statements from financial professionals who have sat through the FRM Certification exams, this one is somewhat more difficult than others of the same nature.

Most people state the same thing - that the first part of the exam is critically more difficult than the first. So focus as hard as you can on studying!

In fact, this is exactly what the passing rates tell us, as you can see above. 

The difficulty of the exams comes from the fact that the 100 and, respectively, 80 questions are not straightforward. They are divided into several parts, making one single questions extremely difficult and time consuming to answer. 

As a result, the questions are designed to test your analytical and practical skils, but also how much theory you have gained, how you can use it, and just how well you can perform very complex mathematical calculations in a super short period of time.

And yes, before you write and ask - you are allowed to use a calculator during the exam, don’t worry!

What Is the FRM Syllabus?

The easiest way to get acquainted with the syllabus for the FRM Exam is to visit the dedicated page the GARP or Global Association of Risk Professionals website has set up for this purpose.

Follow this link to see more details about the FRM study materials. The study guide as well as every other academic material they offer has been updated for 2020 and is globally recognized.

Download all the resources you can and go through them in detail!

However, please be aware that the documentation, as well as the exam books and ebooks are not available to download for free.

One of the best things about this resource is that you can download practice exams that will help you see exactly what the real exam will look like when you decide to take it. Until then, it’s best to start preparing!

FRM Study Material - How Do I Prepare for This Exam?

You study like you’ve never studied before in your life. 

But don’t despair because you can also get some help. Downloading the resources off their website like I mentioned above might prove to be a little too steep price wise. That, combined with the price of the exams and the certifications, as you will see below, could serve to put you off altogether.

Therefore, you might want to turn to other solutions to help you study. One of the best is, without a doubt, the Bionic Turtle FRM

Its only purpose is to provide any person who wishes to sit for the FRM exams, and ace them, of course, with study materials, instructional videos, learning spreadsheets, interactive quizzes, and more.

Bionic Turtle is approved by GARP or the Global Association of Risk Professionals as a training provider for the FRM. Not only that, but if it’s the FRM course you’re interested in, it comes with discount codes and coupons that will make it so much easier for you to access its wealth of information. And speaking of costs…

FRM Certification Cost

Here is the structure of the FRM designation from the point of view of the money you will need to invest.

  • Registration fee - $400 - if you are a sitting for the exam one time.
  • Early Bird Registration Fee - $425
  • Standard Fee - $550
  • Late Fee - $725
  • Part I Exam - $425
  • Part II Exam - $350
  • The cost of a calculator of your choice*

*you are not permitted to use your smartphone in lieu of a calculator during the exams for the financial risk manager certification.

This may look a little steep, but think of it as an investment. Here’s a little incentive.

If you manage to pass your exams and get your dream job, the financial risk manager salaries will be worth it. They average at approximately $90,000 plus a $12,000 bonus.

FRM vs CFA

Is CFA Better or FRM?

The CFA or the Chartered Financial Analyst is a professional credential offered by the CFA Institute to financial professionals. If you want to become a financial analyst who is globally recognized, this designation is thought of as the gold standard of the industry.

So, is it better to have one designation or the other designation?

It all depends on you and what you want to do. There is no difference in quality between them. Let me put it like this. It’s a little like baking a cake and having to choose between vanilla and chocolate. They are both good, but it depends on what you need most or like most.

With that being said, I can also tell you that the CFAs certification, the vanilla in this example, is a broader certification to have. While the FRM is far more specialized. 

But why choose at all? When it comes to FRM vs CFA, go for both certifications, take the exams, and add them to your resume. Any potential employers will definitely be impressed by your achievements.

So, How Do I Get FRM Certified?

It’s time for some conclusions!

The Financial Risk Management Certification is not easy to obtain, I am not here to lie to you, as you well know. 

It will take a considerable amount of work, studying, and planning if you want to pass both exams and get through the process needed to become a Certified FRM or a Financial Risk Manager who is globally recognized.

However, trust me when I tell you it will all be worth it. As I mentioned in the beginning, the recent developments we have seen politically, socially, and financially world-wide have brought the Risk Manager to the fore front once more.

In other words, you are needed right now!

Make the best out of it! This is the time to get studying and pass your financial risk manager FRM Exams. Use the Bionic Turtle Course to help you and you will get there in no time. 

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