BusinessWeek article on CFA Level 1

Yayyyy CFA made business week (edit: actually bloomberg): Highlights: -lowest pass rate since 2005 -28% did not show up on exam day -as usual they blame the candidate skill level (just like my old professors would to explain the low pass rates in my classes compared to 10 years ago) -117,000 Level 3’s that have passed over the course of the 47 years of the program ---------------------- Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) – The lowest percentage of candidates in four years passed the first level of the Chartered Financial Analyst exam, a designation that may offer an edge in hiring after the industry’s worst shakeout in at least three decades. Thirty-four percent passed Level 1 in December, matching the rate in 2005, compared with 46 percent in June and 35 percent in December 2008, the CFA Institute said today in a statement. The pass rate for all first-phase exams taken since the program began in 1963 was 44 percent, less than Level 2 at 49 percent and Level 3 at 64 percent. Applicants pursue the CFA hoping it will lead to a better job, higher salary and deeper understanding of finance. The not- for-profit CFA Institute, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, recommends 300 hours of study for each of the three six-hour tests. Those who passed Level 1 are eligible to take Level 2 on June 5. The pass rate may have declined because the test-takers were less serious than previous groups, said Tom Robinson, the institute’s managing director of education, citing 28 percent of applicants who didn’t show up to take the test, an increase from 25 percent in June. “It’s an indicator to me of the seriousness of the candidate group,” he said. “There wasn’t a change in the curriculum.” Asia Candidates Candidates may have trouble retrieving their results from the institute’s Web site today because it crashed shortly after the scores were posted at 9 a.m. New York time, said Steve Wellard, a spokesman for the institute. He didn’t know when the site would be restored. Demand for the certification rose during the upheaval in the financial-services industry as firms worldwide cut 345,131 jobs, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Candidates took a record 104,111 exams for all three levels combined in June, a 45 percent increase from June 2007. Level 1 candidates totaled 44,209 in December, an 18 percent jump from two years ago. The pass rate for all three regions – Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Asia – was 34 percent. The institute offered the exam in 31 countries. Asia had the most test takers with 20,035, or 45 percent, of the 44,209 total. Topics range from ethical standards and securities valuation to financial statement analysis and portfolio management. More than 1 million CFA exams have been taken since the program began, with 117,831 people passing Level 3. The institute offers all three exams in June and only Level 1 in December. The CFA program stems in part from proposals by Benjamin Graham, a pioneer of value investing who mentored Warren Buffett, for a rating system for financial analysts. --Editors: Alec McCabe, Steve Geimann To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Townsend in Washington at +1-212-617-1853 or To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alec McCabe at +1-212-617-4175 or