Over 77,000 current and future investment professionals had a busy weekend. Men and women in more than 140 nations, took one of three levels of the Chartered Financial AnalystÂ® (CFAÂ®) examinations administered by CFA Institute. Thirty-eight percent of all CFA candidates for the June exam are from the U.S., according to the CFA Institute.
The CFA examination is among the world's largest simultaneously administered professional exams. Candidates must pass each level of examination before proceeding to the next. Only 20% of candidates successfully complete the program. Level I is administered twice a year, in June and December. Levels II and III are administered once a year, in June. The CFA curriculum and examinations are identical worldwide and only administered in English.
The CFA Program is considered the most rigorous certification program in the investment profession. Successful candidates should study for a minimum of 750 hours for each of the three examination levels. The coveted CFA charter usually takes about four years to attain.
Before taking the exam, candidates must also complete at least four years of experience in the investment profession. They must abide by the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct and must re-commit themselves to these standards each year once they earn their charter.
"Simply put, good ethics is good business. The CFA designation is a measure of an investment professional's belief in this value and those who take and pass the CFA exams are rising to investors' call for financial standards and ethical investment practices," says Jeff Diermeier, CFA, president and CEO of CFA Institute.
In a research report published in Accounting Technology, Tiburon Strategic Advisors report that 6% of all CPAs offering financial advice have the CFA certification. They further report that only 10,000 of all CPAs have the proper certifications to offer investment management or financial planning services.
"The CFA Program cannot be completed without a commitment to higher standards and demonstrated knowledge of the investment decision-making process. Employers recognize the value and prestige of the CFA charter, and we've seen a significant increase in demand for those who hold the CFA designation from investment firms around the world," says Jeff Diermeier.