Dubai – MENA Herald: CFA Institute, the global association of investment management professionals, reports that 43 percent of the 52,315 candidates that took the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level I exam in December 2015 have passed. The CFA Program is a globally recognized, graduate level curriculum that links theory and practice with real-world investment analysis, and emphasizes the highest ethical and professional standards. These successful candidates now progress to Level II of the CFA Program, having taken the first step towards leading the way in building a sustainable investment profession.
The December 2015 exam saw a record number of Level I candidates tested, an increase of 11 percent from the previous year. Additionally, in June and December of 2015 the highest total number of more than 103,000 candidates sat for Level I of the CFA Program, an increase of nearly 10 percent on 2014. These record numbers of candidates reflect the increasing credibility of the exam and the growing demand from employers and regulators for the CFA designation.
“For more than 50 years, CFA Institute has minted the most rigorously credentialed practitioners who adhere to the highest educational, professional, and ethical standards and are committed to putting investor interests first,” said Paul Smith, CFA, president and CEO of CFA Institute. “We are committed to developing future professionals with the necessary technical skills, knowledge, and ethics and with a clear understanding of their role in society. I congratulate today’s successful candidates who are now one step closer to earning the CFA designation, the mark of distinction that is globally recognized as the definitive standard for industry ethics and education.”
To earn the CFA designation, candidates must pass all three levels of exam (successful candidates often report dedicating in excess of 300 hours of study per level); meet the work experience requirements of four years in the investment industry; sign a commitment to abide by the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct; apply to a CFA Institute society; and become a member of CFA Institute.
The CFA Program curriculum develops knowledge and competencies that investment professionals deem necessary in today’s ever changing marketplace. It covers ethical and professional standards, securities analysis and valuation, international financial statement analysis, quantitative methods, economics, corporate finance, portfolio management, wealth management and portfolio analysis. Level I exams are offered in both June and December and Levels II and III are offered only in June. It takes most candidates more than three years to complete the CFA Program, and requires dedication and determination.
“The CFA Program is incredibly well-regarded,” said Jeff Spector, CFA, VP of Strategic Partnerships and Alliances, FactSet. “It’s known for its integrity, the difficulty of the exams, and its stature in the industry. There are many professional benefits of earning the CFA charter but the real outcome benefits our clients as we develop the investment knowledge base to serve their needs.”
The December 2015 Level I exam was administered in 102 test centers in 71 cities across 40 countries worldwide. Examples of countries and territories with the largest number of candidates that took the Level I CFA exam last December are the United States (11,676), Mainland China (9,502), India (4,991), Canada (3,890), United Kingdom (3,718), Hong Kong (2,110), Singapore (1,591), South Africa (1,257), and United Arab Emirates (1,179).
Candidates seek CFA charter for career advancement
According to the 2015 CFA Program Candidate Survey, more than 60 percent of respondents see career advancement and development opportunities as the main personal benefit to taking the CFA Program, closely followed by helping to achieve long term career goals. Furthermore, 98 percent of candidates who responded believe that the CFA Program improved their understanding of important topics and, on a scale of one (very low level value) to 10 (very high level value), rate the value of the CFA charter as 8.9. Candidates are very positive towards employment with 92 percent of candidates who responded expecting employment opportunities for investment management professionals to increase or stay the same over the next six months.