Important: From 1 January 2019, the Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Act 2017 will require new financial advisers to complete a bachelor or higher degree, or equivalent qualification, as approved by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority. The new framework is still being established, however CPA Australia will continue to monitor its development. For further information, refer to professional standards.

Study guide: First edition (new)

The Investment Strategies subject covers one of the most complex areas in financial planning. It requires an integration of knowledge sourced from a number of different disciplines, including finance, investment and economics as well as taxation from both domestic and international perspectives.

This subject aims to equip you with the skills and knowledge to understand financial markets and the environments in which they operate as well as the investment regulations that govern financial markets. The subject examines the role of investments and portfolio construction from both the institutional and retail client perspectives by investigating the characteristics of investments, concepts of common asset classes, the construction of asset portfolios, risk profiling and gearing.

The subject also explores different investment structures—in particular, managed investments and their appropriateness for use by a client in assisting them to achieve their needs and goals. After you successfully complete the subject, you will be able to gain a comprehensive view on how to provide investment advice to meet a client’s goals and objectives.

On completion of this subject, you should be able to:

  • understand the value of financial planning in the area of investment strategy
  • understand how portfolio theory applies to investment research
  • determine the purpose of defensive and growth assets
  • recommend investment structures that may be appropriate for a client
  • recommend gearing strategies that may be appropriate for a client 
  • apply the financial advice process to provide appropriate investment advice to a client. 

Exam structure

The Investment Strategies exam is comprised of a combination of multiple-choice and extended-response questions.

Subject content

 Module Recommended proportion of study time (%) Weighting (%) Recommended study schedule (%)
1. Introduction to investments   5 5 Week 1
2. Portfolio theory and investment research 10 10 Week 1, 2
3. Defensive assets 15 15 Week 2, 3 
4. Growth assets 15 15 Week 4, 5
5. Investment structures 20 20 Week 5, 6, 7
6. Gearing and margin lending 10 10 Week 7, 8
7. Providing investment advice 25 25 Week 8, 9, 10

For further information, see the subject outline (PDF).