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CFA Institute Cuts Staff in an Effort to Pivot Strategy

The charter-granting organization is laying off 31 staff members, a source close to the situation said.

The CFA Institute has laid off a raft of employees in a bid to reposition its strategy.

The professional organization eliminated certain positions and created others, deputy chief executive officer Bjorn Forfang told Institutional Investor by phone Wednesday. “Individuals will be impacted,” he said.

The institute informed 31 people last Monday that it planned to lay them off, one source close to the situation said. Another source confirmed the layoffs but was unable to quantify them. 

Forfang said he views the situation as a reorganization, and emphasized that the CFA Institute has to keep up with its growth. Staff changes are one way it will do so, he explained.

“We did a restructuring because we have as an organization grown tremendously over the last five years,” Forfang said. “We did a big strategic review to figure out how to maximize our human resources related to the challenges and strategies.”

During this fiscal year, which for the CFA Institute ends August 31, the group administered its trademark tests to 321,000 people worldwide. During the next fiscal year, that number is expected to grow to 376,000, Forfang said. He added that China and India are the group’s biggest markets for growth. 

“When we poll our members every year, they increasingly have said that they want more opportunities for continuing education,” Forfang said by phone. “We are listening to our members and as a result, working to redefine certain jobs.”

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In the past two days, the CFA Institute has posted four job openings online, including for a director of ethics education and professional standards (EMEA), a head of continuing professional development products, a head of membership products, and a director of marketing for the Americas. 

In total, the institute is looking to hire 44 employees, according to the employment section of its website. 

“It’s not a cost-cutting or headcount strategy at all,” Forfang said. “We’re repositioning some jobs to serve the opportunities we have.”

He added that the company plans to maintain the same number of employees as before the layoffs, but in positions that meet its strategic opportunities going forward. 

“Several of the individuals will apply for these new jobs,” Forfang said. 

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