CFA Institute announced that of 26,882 candidates that sat for the Level III CFA exam in June 2014, 54 percent passed the third and final exam. Pending experience and membership requirements, these successful candidates will become CFA charterholders starting in early October, bringing the number of charterholders worldwide to more than 125,000.
In addition, of 44,796 candidates who took the Level II exam, 46 percent were successful and of 47,005 candidates who took the Level I exam, the pass rate was 42 percent. Globally 54,768 candidates passed Levels I, II, and III, with the overall pass rate for all three levels at 46 percent. (View historical pass rates).
“The candidates that sit for the CFA exam each year are fine examples of those in finance who are committed to putting investors first and building a culture of trust in the industry,” said Steve Horan, CFA, CIPM, managing director and co-lead of Education. “Successful candidates have shown a significant commitment to professional knowledge, education and ethics, and are part of the CFA Institute effort to build a more trustworthy financial industry that better serves society. We congratulate these successful candidates on their hard work and dedication.”
Journey from candidate to charterholder takes commitment
To earn the CFA charter, candidates must sequentially pass three six-hour exams that are widely considered to be the most rigorous in the investment profession. The CFA curriculum includes ethical and professional standards; financial reporting and analysis; corporate finance; economics; quantitative methods; equity, fixed income, alternative investments; derivatives; portfolio management; and wealth planning. CFA Institute has administered well over a million exams since the inauguration of the CFA program in 1963.
The Level I exam is offered twice per year, and the Level II and Level III exams are offered once each year. The Level I exam consists of multiple-choice questions. Level II is composed of item sets (i.e., mini cases with detailed vignettes), and the Level III questions are 50 percent item set and 50 percent short answer and essay. On average, candidates report spending in excess of 300 hours of study to prepare for each level. CFA candidates typically take four years to pass the three required exams. When asked what their primary motivation for registering for the CFA exam is candidates cite career advancement, a higher level of knowledge and improved chances of obtaining a job as the top three reasons.
The 2014 exams were given at 255 test centers in 196 cities, across 91 countries worldwide. Examples of markets with the largest number of candidates that took the CFA exam are the United States (29,625), China (19,395), India (9,516), Canada (10,161), the United Kingdom (8,134), Hong Kong (5,422), and Singapore (2,983).
Last year CFA Institute launched its Future of Finance project, a long-term global effort to shape a trustworthy, forward-thinking financial industry that better serves society. The project aims to provide the tools to motivate and empower the world of finance to commit to fairness, improved understanding, and personal integrity. Recently, as part of the Future of Finance initiative, CFA Institute recognized Putting Investors First Month through a series of events, which spanned the month of May. The initiative united financial professionals throughout the world in a commitment to place investor interests above all others. Putting Investors First Month activities took place in more than 60 cities throughout the world, with participation from many of the 125,000 CFA Institute members.