CFA (Charter Pending)

Can one write “CFA (Charter Pending)” ahead of name if one has passed CFA L3 but has not got his work ex approved?

I have seen many linkedin profiles like this.


“Passed CFA Level III” is acceptable.

It’s embarassing that L3 candidates don’t know this is a violation. If I saw it on a resume, I would question if they’re lying about being a L3 candidate

I knew that it is should be a violation.

more embarrasing is people who have passed L3 are doing this without knowing that it is a violation.

At the risk of embarrassing myself, I’m pretty sure it’s ok to say “CFA charter pending approval of work experience” IF you have passed all 3 levels and have submitted work experience. Any statement of fact is not an ethics violation. I think it’s only a violation if you say something like “Charter pending, expected date: 2013” or something where there is an implication of a sure thing.

I think “Passed CFA Level III” is also not acceptable, you need to say “Passed CFA Level III examination”

Definately wrong to say charter pending. There are several requirements to receiving a charter (passing all levels of the exam, completing work experience, joining CFAI). So If I am a CFAI member (which I am) and have the work experience (which I do) then by this line of thinking I could say “Chater Pending Passing Level III”.

Now GPM, you would say don’t be rediculous that’s a violation (which it is). Then so would be saying Charter Pending [insert ANY of the requirements] including the work requirement.

Obviously no one has a clear answer unless you sit on the ethic committee of CFAI, but in my opinion, the main ethical issue here is misrepresentation. If you are just stating facts like “CFA charter, pending approval of work experience” that is not a mistatement of fact if you have already passed all levels and is a member of CFAI are waiting on approval of work experience. If you say “CFA Charter pending passage of level 3 exam taken in June 2012” I don’t think that is a conspicuous violation but just sounds stupid.

If you think about it, someone can say “well, if I pass my CFA Leve III exam in June, then i can get my CFA charter since I already have all my work experience approved and I am a current member of CFAI.” Would you consider that a violation?

I agree with the fact it’s factural, but I think you hit on it with misrepresentation. Your last point (about saying what you need to do to obtain a charter) is valid if you’re having a discussion with someone, but not if you’re representing a degree of certification to someone. A truthful statement is “I have passed Level III and have applied for membership to the CFAI” would be fine. However, “Pending” indicates that something will/is likely to happen. There is no “pending” status. It’s a violation. Just as clear examples in the BOK say you can’t say CFA (Level I) after passing that part. At any given point you are either a charterholder or you are not.

In order to use the designation you must receive approval/notice from CFAI. Clearly if your application is “pending” you have not. Also, the BOK clearly says the designation is not to be altered in anyway (even in font, bolded, ect.). So how would it be right to append it with the term “pending”. Don’t it’s possible and never will. If it ever came up as an ethics question on an exam (and hopefully I won’t have to take another) I would say it was a violation.

I would steer clear of using the word “pending” at all. Less risky

I think they’ve been really clear about this over the years. You are not allowed to indicate charter pending in any circumstances and frankly it’s ridiculous to allow people to use CFA Charter Pending as a designation. After you could be Uber Tool CFA Charter Pending, when your charter is pending 4 years more expericence and passing all three levels.

I apprecitae that the example is extreme, but the CFAI has been very clear about this and people misusing the designation like this are just trying to get ahead of those who play by the rules and wait until it has been awarded.

My opinion if you’re caught doing this you should have a year added to your work experience requirement. It’s a clear level 1 ethics fail.

By the way my rant was against people who use CFA Charter Pending after their names for example

I don’t really have a problem with Charter pending in your qualifications section, as long as it is clearly explained, even though this would also be a violation.

Agreed, this is a clear violation, full stop.

Ok, I’m really not trying to be flippant here, and personally I would never use the word “pending” on my resume. But, there is NO WAY CFAI can prohibit the use of a word. Furthermore, the word “pending” does not imply you will receive the charter. When you say “judgement pending” does that imply anything other than the fact that there is going to be a ruling? NOO.

If you look at the CFAI Standard of Practice, they explicitly say that it is OK to state “I passed all three levels of the CFA Program and will be eligible for the CFA charter upon completion of the required work experience.” You can easily replace that sentence to read “I passed all three levels of the CFA program and will be eligible for the CFA charter pending completion of the required work experience.” It is NOT an ethics violation just because you substituted the use of that word. Statement of facts are NOT ethics violations.

Ok, so take a look at this guy’s resume (randomly found on the internet by Google search) and try to convice me this is ok. No way.

Well, obviously that’s not ok. My point is that people are so caught up with this word “pending” and it’s not the use of the word in itself that is a violation. You are welcomed to say “Charter pending . . . .” as long as you are clear and do not misrepresentation your status in any way.

So only charterholder members are allowed to use the CFA designation. The CFA designation is a trademark in which charterholders are allowed by CFA Institute to use. The trademark status is also why CFA Institute doesn’t like people being referred to as “CFAs” - if it becomes a popularised noun, you lose trademark. Same reason why Google doesn’t encourage the verb usage of Google, as in the phrase ‘to Google something’.

According to the trademark bylaws set by CFA Institute, the CFA marks must never be altered to create a new word, phrase or design. So CFA Charter Pending and all similar forms are directly violating that. You also can’t incorporate CFA into your email, website address, company name, or anything of that sort. So is full of violatory goodness. It’s your choice to report people who are violating - CFA Institute can be pretty responsive to this actually.

Right out of the CFAI text (Vol 1, page 148):

Correct: I have passed all three levels of the CFA Program and may be eligible for the CFA charter upon completion of the required work experience.

Incorrect: CFA (Passed Finalist)

Prinicple: A candidate who has passed Level III but has not yet received his or her charger cannot use the CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

I think John Doe, CFA (Pending) or any derivation thereof is sufficiently close to the example of CFA (Passed Finanist) and would be disallowed. Could you change “upon” to “pending” in the above example and put it in your resume? Sure. That wasn’t my issue. My issue, which I thougt was the original question, was with implying you were a CFA charterholder, but for. That is, I think, the confusion the CFAI wants to avoid.


This is straight out of my resume:

Passed all three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program and may be eligible for the CFA charter upon completion of the required work experience.