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IN A relief to Hyderabad based ICFAI in a long-drawn legal battle with the US-based Chartered Financial Analyst Institute (CFA), a US district court for the Eastern district of Virginia has vacated a default judgement issued against ICFAI in October 1998.

As per the new order, all CFA charter holders of ICFAI can now use their charter or CFA in the US and Canada. “This will benefit many of our students as they can now use CFA officially. Though there was no ban on practising, our students could not leverage on their charter as they were not allowed to use it in the US and Canada,” said director of ICFAI Business School SK Sharma.

He said, the order would benefit over 50 CFAs, who are located in the US and Canada. “We have over 4,000 CFA charter holders, of which over 200 are abroad. This will also help about 400 of our MBA, MS-Finance students, who are in the US and Canada on job assignments, to appear for the exams there. Besides, we can also market our case studies in the US through ECCH, an online body,” he said.

ICFAI, he said, could not fight the case in 1998. “When CFA started objecting to our students appearing for MBA and MS-finance exams in the US and approached the Indian embassy against it, we decided to fight it. The case was reopened in 2006. We are ready to take the legal route further to protect the interest of our students as it seems CFA is planning to approach the US court again appealing against the recent judgment,” he explained.

Back home in India also, ICFAI and its related entities — ICFAI Society and ICFAI University, Tripura — were fighting a legal battle against CFA institute. In fact, in 1997, CFA filed a case against ICFAI-Society for using its trademarks. In August 2007, ICFAI-Society received a setback when the Delhi High Court barred it from using Chartered Financial Analysts of India, ICFAI, Chartered Financial Analyst and CFA brand names or marks by the end of the current academic session.

Meanwhile, ICFAI’s sister concern, ICFAI University, Tripura, approached the Guwahati High Court this year, seeking AICTE intervention in the CFA programme offered in the country. The university pointed out that the CFA Institute was running an unauthorized education programme. Following this, AICTE issued notice to the CFA Institute asking it to cease operations. Though CFA could conduct its examinations as per schedule on June 3 due to a Delhi High Court order, it seems CFA students in India will have to go to other countries to write examinations in future.

Interestingly, ICFAI University Tripura runs CFA-distance education programme. “The university was established in 2004 under a state act and it can run CFA programme. It also does not need AICTE approval, as it is a university. CFA Institute was campaigning against the university through media and that had prompted us to approach the court. We even tried for an out-of-court settlement. But CFA Institute was not open to that. Even now we are ready for a settlement provided they are ready to withdraw all legal actions against us including the US case,” Mr. Sharma added.

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