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Record Number of Aspiring CFA® Charterholders Sit for Exams as Program Marks 55th Anniversary

June 2018 exam sees 20% increase in CFA Program candidates aiming to build a better world for investors

New York City, United States 20 Jun 2018

CFA Institute, the global association of investment management professionals, announced today that a record 227,031 candidates have registered for Level I, II, and III CFA® exams at 286 test centers in 91 countries and territories. The exams, to be administered on June 23, mark the 55th anniversary of the first CFA exam, which was held in June 1963. Since then, the CFA Program has seen steady annual growth, with a notable 20% increase in exam registrations in the past year alone.


“From our humble beginning in 1963 when we administered the exam to 284 candidates, CFA Institute has grown dramatically around the world in pursuit of its mission,” said Paul Smith, CFA, president and CEO, CFA Institute. “We fervently believe that charterholders raise the standards of the investment management industry and contribute to making finance a noble profession, and we are gratified and humbled that so many candidates share that belief. The examination is the first step to a professional life dedicated to client service, continuing education, and engagement with regulators to protect investors and clients.”


The Asia Pacific region continues to generate the highest number of candidates, with 120,436 registered for the June 2018 exam, accounting for 53 percent of the total. Registered candidates numbered  63,368 in the Americas, 28 percent of the total, and 43,227 candidates registered in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), accounting for 19 percent of the total. The exam will be administered at 286 test centers around the world, including new test center locations in Barcelona, Spain; Dalian and Hangzhou, China; Hyderabad, India; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Lagos, Nigeria. 


CFA Institute has more than 154,000 charterholders who work in some of the industry’s most prominent firms, including JP Morgan Chase, UBS, RBC, Bank of America ML, HSBC, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, BlackRock, Credit Suisse, and State Street. The CFA Program curriculum is grounded in the practice of the investment profession and is updated annually to reflect the evolving knowledge, skills, and competencies that are needed in today’s profession. The three-level self-study program covers topics including Ethical and Professional Standards, Quantitative Methods, Economics, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Corporate Finance, Equity Investments, Fixed Income, Derivatives, Alternative Investments, and Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning.


Each level of the CFA Program imparts a particular skill set:


  • Level I is focused on investment tools and the foundations of the business, giving candidates the necessary knowledge and comprehension;

  • Level II is focused on applying those tools in the analysis of asset classes, including equity investments, fixed income, derivatives, and alternative investments;

  • Level III is focused on portfolio management and wealth planning, requiring candidates to be competent in synthesis and evaluation while making investment decisions.


In 1959, the Financial Analysts Federation (FAF) formed the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts (ICFA) to establish standards of ethics and competence for security analysts, develop the exam, and bestow the title of Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) on those who passed. The FAF and ICFA eventually merged to form what is now known as CFA Institute. On June 15, 1963, the inaugural exam was administered at 27 test centers in the United States, Canada, and London to 284 candidates, six of whom were women. Today, over 84,000 (37%) candidates are women.

CFA Charterholders Challenge the Industry: Let’s Measure Up™

The June exam cycle is the first since CFA Institute launched its global advertising campaign, Let’s Measure Up, earlier this year. The campaign challenges charterholders and the industry to put clients first, uphold ethical standards and contribute to the greater good of society.


The campaign highlights the concrete steps that CFA Institute and charterholders worldwide are taking to put investors’ needs first, restore investor trust, and advocate for greater diversity in the industry.


Find out more about the CFA Program and how it can help investment professionals to achieve professional excellence for an impactful career.

CFA Institute

CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organization is a champion of ethical behavior in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. Our aim is to create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. There are more than 154,000 CFA charterholders worldwide in 165+ countries and regions. CFA Institute has eight offices worldwide and there are 151 local member societies. For more information, visit www.cfainstitute.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFAInstitute and on Facebook.com/CFAInstitute.

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