More than 83,000 current and aspiring investment professionals from 141 nations and territories were enrolled to sit for one of three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst examinations held last month, announced the CFA Institute, which oversees and administers the CFA program worldwide.
CFA Institute (known as the Association for Investment Management and Research before its name changed last month) administered the three six-hour examinations over the weekend at 274 test centers in 89 nations and territories. It is believed to be the world's largest simultaneously administered professional examination, and is widely considered the investment profession's most rigorous credentialing program.
Administered exclusively in English, the CFA curriculum and examinations are identical worldwide. A minimum of 750 hours of study for the three examination levels are recommended. The exams cover ethical and professional standards, securities analysis and valuation, financial statement analysis, quantitative methods, economics, corporate finance, portfolio management and performance measurement.
On average, approximately one in five candidates who begin the CFA program successfully complete it and ultimately earn the CFA charter.
Level I is administered twice a year, in June and December, and Levels II and III are administered just once a year, in June. The average time candidates take to earn the charter is a little more than four years. A candidate must pass each level of examination before proceeding to the next level, and the pass rate at each level averages close to 50 percent.
Eighteen percent (15,383) of the candidates taking the June 2004 exam were enrolled for Level III, making those who pass eligible to receive the CFA designation, upon meeting work experience and other requirements. Pass-fail notices will be sent in July and August.
According to Robert R. Johnson, Ph.D., executive vice president of the CFA Program Division, nearly 1,000 candidates this year hold the titles of CEO, chair, partner or principal.
Thirty-nine percent of all CFA candidates are from the U.S., 28 percent from Asia and the Pacific, 16 percent from Europe and 10 percent from Canada. In the United States, the largest number of candidates hailed from New York, California, Massachusetts, Illinois and New Jersey.
Currently, 57,512 investment professionals in 117 nations and territories hold the CFA charter.
© 2004 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.