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34,651 Investment Professionals Worldwide Pass Level I CFA Program Exam

CFA Institute sees 13% candidate growth globally, greatest in Asia Pacific region

New York City, United States 23 Jan 2019

CFA Institute, the global association of investment management professionals, reports that 45 percent of the 77,245 candidates who took the December 2018 Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) Level I exam have passed. These successful candidates now progress to Level II of the CFA Program, the second of three exams toward earning the CFA charter, one of the most respected and recognized investment management credentials in the world. The December 2018 exam saw continued growth of more than 13 percent over 2017 in the number of Level I candidates who tested for the CFA Program.


“Congratulations to all candidates who successfully passed the Level I exam in December and took a significant step toward becoming CFA charterholders,” said Paul Smith, CFA, president and CEO of CFA Institute. “As these candidates progress to the next level, they’re aligning themselves with our mission. They are dedicating themselves to achieving the best outcomes for investors, and also to serving a greater purpose and creating a better future for the profession and for society. We’re honored to have them join us in our work to create a better world for investors.”


To earn the CFA charter, candidates must pass all three levels of the exam, which is considered to be the most rigorous in the investment profession; 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; and become a member of CFA Institute. Fewer than one in five candidates who begin the program end up successfully earning the CFA charter. Successful candidates take an average of four years to complete the CFA Program.


Asia Pacific region leads in CFA Program candidate growth

The December Level I exam was administered in 134 test centers in 85 cities across 46 countries and regions worldwide. The 10 countries and regions with the largest number of candidates tested are:


  • Mainland China (23,646)
  • United States (12,375)
  • India (8,151)
  • Canada (4,983)
  • Australia (4,803)
  • United Kingdom (4,382)
  • Hong Kong SAR (2,506)
  • Singapore (1,416)
  • South Africa (1,327)
  • Korea (985)

Candidate growth continues to be strongest in the Asia Pacific region, where 45,559 candidates tested, a 19 percent increase compared to December 2017. In total, nearly 59 percent of global CFA Program candidates were from Asia Pacific compared to nearly 24 percent (18,871) from the Americas region and nearly 17 percent (12,815) from the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.


The CFA Program is tailored to professionals across the industry, and annual updates to the curriculum ensure that the CFA charter remains the global industry standard. The curriculum 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. Learn more about the CFA Program.


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 159,000 CFA charterholders worldwide in 162 countries and regions. CFA Institute has nine 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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