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Chinese aspirants flock to CFA exams

The opening of China's investment industry has resulted in a 21% year-on-year increase in mainland Chinese exam-takers.

The December Level I exam attracted 23,646 candidates in China, a 21% increase from 2017, according to figures released by the CFA Institute.

“The enthusiasm for the CFA qualification in China is being driven by the growth of the investment industry in the country and its increasing internationalization,” an CFA Institute spokesperson told FSA. 

There are two sittings a year for the Level I exam – June (when Level II and Level III candidates are tested) and December.

The annual growth rate of mainland Chinese exam-takers is even higher. There were 65,927 examinees last year compared with 44,614 in 2017, 33,945 in 2016 and 27,314 in 2015 — a 142% increase in four years.

To meet the rising demand, there will be 11 test sites in Mainland China, up from seven in 2017.

However, the Institute does not reveal the pass-rate for each country.

In general, candidate growth continues to be strongest in Asia-Pacific, but the number tested in China far exceeds the second highest in the region – India, which fielded 8,151 aspirants, up 18% from 2017.

Almost 59% (45,559 people – a 19% rise from 2017) of global CFA Program candidates were from Asia-Pacific compared with nearly 24% (18,871) from the Americas and 17% (12,815) from the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Asia-Pacific also accounted for the largest number of passes of the December CFA Level 1 exam, making up 43% of the 34,651 successful candidates, a slightly lower percentage than global success rate of 45%.

To earn the CFA charter, candidates must pass all three levels of the exam, 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.

There are about 159,000 CFA charterholders worldwide in around 162 countries and regions. However, fewer than one in five people who begin the program end up earning the CFA charter, according to the Institute.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.