This is the debacle between two of the most sought after risk management qualification on the market today. This short article would attempt to compare and contrast between the two. For more info please visit http://www.garp.org/ for FRM exams, and http://www.prmia.org/ for PRM and APRM info. Please do note that i held the APRM qualification and is doing the FRM exam in Nov 2009
I am expressing personal opinion on them, I would not be listing facts like salary, enrolment etc as those can be easily found on their website.
Without doubt the FRM is more establish and have a long history. The PRM however is backed by famous university like HK university and NUS. But as far as international reputation the edge still goes to FRM.
Width of material
Ok i have did the ARPM, i have not do the PRM, but since APRM covers the entire paper 4 and around 70% of paper 3, i can safely assume that PRM is 2.5X APRM. If that was true my feeling is they both have around the same width, with FRM slightly wider, although i do felt that FRM syllubus is a little bit more quantitative intensive.
Depth of material
This one is no competition. The FRM material is way more in depth. I know you would suspect me to say PRM is better cause i hold the APRM but really FRM is more in depth. Again this is my personal opinion and other may seem to differ.
The PRM exam has 4 papers and you can take it one by one, no need to be in any order. If i am not wrong, if you fail you can attempt the paper 3 months later. FRM is one a year in nov, and one full paper. FRM would have a level one this 2009 nov. In 2010 FRM would switch to 2 levels held in may and nov. I dont think i have to explain that FRM is more difficult because taking one big paper is way tougher than taking 4 small paper, those whom have took CFA exams would get what i am saying. The passing mark for PRM is around 60% and FRM is 70%, putting in other words even if the FRM passing mark is reduced to 60% the FRM still edge in toughness over PRM.
The exams fees for the PRM 4 papers are cheaper than the FRM full exam. Also FRM requires you to become a member, PRM do not. As for additional materials, for PRM you would need the books that prmia provide for a fee of cause, and some online learning tools, overall the cost is way cheaper than taking the FRM course, depending on which external material provider and package you use, it can set you back over 1500 sing$. It should cost less than 3/4 this amount for PRM. For PRM you do not really have to seek external material for help, but for FRM the material is so tough, most people cannot handle it without 3rd party material help, again the materials cost depend on what you need, some people may get special discount or even be able to get sponsor from their loving bosses.
But dont be fool by the cost, lets remember that most people take one to two tries to pass each level of PRM exams and also if you pass a paper you do not have to do it the next time, which means lower cost. For FRM if you fail the paper you retake the entire paper next time and most people i know took 2 to 3 tries with some taking more than 5 tires to pass FRM full exams. The 2 levl FRM have not really come out yet so i cannot make any conclusion.
Take the APRM if you are a junior in risk management, or looking to enter into risk management, You can also take it if you are indirectly involve in risk and wish to upgrade your skills. Take the PRM and FRM if you are more directly involve in risk. Most risk managers attempt to do either PRM or FRM, although some did both. Non risk professional may do CFA + CAIA, CFA + FRM, CFA + PRM etc. Do not if you are a CFA, CAIA holder as well as holder of serveral other qualifications PRM do allow paper 1 and 2 to be extempted that would save some cost and time.
So take one of them, discuss with your superior as of which is more of a fuel for your career progression. Determine how much you can spend, this include your time, money, energy. You can even consider doing an advance degree or masters in risk management. There are too many such degree out there and every one of them seem to boost that they are best in certain areas. But no doubt those masters and degrees is unlikely to beat the difficulty of the FRM, CFA exams the PRM and CAIA is easier so maybe they can be "beaten" by some of the tougher masters. Again i have not took master, all my conclusion is from friends doing masters, forum and websites. If you think your master is tougher than CFA and FRM then congrats yourself of getting one hot challege.