Ranks of CFAs Grow as 56% of Test Takers Pass Level III Exam

Students attend Dr. Carl Crego's lecture during a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) class offered by The Education Department of the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) at the World Trade Center in New York Monday evening January 31, 2000. Photographer: Andrew Serban/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — The CFA Institute is set to add a record 21,380 new chartered financial analysts after 56% of test takers passed the third and final level of the exam in June.

  • The pass rate for Level III was unchanged from last year, and compares with the 41% of test takers who passed the first level of the exam and the 44% who passed the second part, the institute said in a statement Tuesday.

Key Insights

  • The CFA exam is becoming more popular among women, who now account for 39% of CFA candidates. Some markets, such as the U.K. and Australia, have already reached gender parity for the first part of the exam. The number of female test takers has more than doubled in the past five years, the CFA Institute said.
  • The institute has been expanding the number of test centers that offer the exam, with sites in Cambodia and Myanmar added in June. In all, the exam was offered at 343 test centers in 192 cities. More than 167,000 people hold the CFA charter.
  • Starting in 2021, the CFA Institute will offer computer-based testing for candidates taking the first level of the exam, and candidates will be able to choose their own exam date within new test-taking windows.
(Updates with total CFAs in third bullet point. A previous version of this story corrected number of candidates who passed the Level III exam in first paragraph.)
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