The number of candidates in December hit a record 59,627, up from 58,677 in June last year and 52,315 in December 2015.
The passing rate remained the same at 43%, meaning 25,807 of them can move on to the Level II exam, which is given in June.
Chinese candidiates again topped the list of exam takers, accounting for 24% (14,181) of the total. The number of Chinese exam-takers surpassed those in the US for the first time in June 2016.
Overall, 51% of candidates came from Asia-Pacific.
Top country/territory of Level I exam candidates in Dec 2016
Source: CFA Institute
The 10-year average pass rate (2007-2016) for Level I, II and III exams are 40%, 43% and 51% respectively. After passing the three levels, a CFA candidate, in order to earn the CFA charter, also needs to meet other requirements, including four years of experience in the investment industry.
Nick Pollard, CFA Institute managing director of Asia-Pacific, congratulated the successful candidates in the statement. “I look forward to working together with them to build professionalism and to nurture a culture of ethical behavior, investor protection and market integrity.”
The CFA program is a recognised standard for investment management professionals. It covers ethical and professional standards, securities analysis and valuation, international financial statement analysis, quantitative methods, economics, corporate finance, portfolio management, wealth management and portfolio analysis.