Bloomberg News

CFA Level 3 Exam’s Pass Rate Rises, Bucking Lower Levels’ Slide

August 07, 2012

A higher percentage of hopefuls for the Chartered Financial Analyst designation passed the third level of their three-part exam in June compared with a year earlier.

Fifty-two percent of applicants succeeded, the CFA Institute said on its website today, up from 51 percent on the June 2011 exam. The group said last month that 38 percent passed Level 1 and 42 percent passed the second exam, each down 1 percentage point from a year earlier.

A record 149,954 candidates registered to take the three CFA exams in June, seeking to gain a hiring edge amid job cuts in the financial industry. Morgan Stanley (MS:US), Citigroup Inc. (C:US) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC:US) are all planning to reduce costs and staff in investment-banking units after a slowdown in trading and merger volume.

Candidates can take the Level 3 exam once a year in June, like the Level 2 test, while the first exam is available in June and December.

Applicants take the test hoping the certification can lead to better jobs, higher salaries and a deeper understanding of finance. The number of people who enrolled to take the exams in June has jumped 27 percent in the last four years.

Successful charter recipients spend an average of 300 hours preparing for each exam and typically take four years to complete all three tests, according to the not-for-profit institute. Candidates must have at least four years’ professional experience in the investment industry to receive the designation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael J. Moore in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at

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Companies Mentioned

  • MS
    (Morgan Stanley)
    • $38.51 USD
    • 0.41
    • 1.06%
  • C
    (Citigroup Inc)
    • $54.01 USD
    • -0.09
    • -0.17%
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