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Record number of Chinese candidates taking CFA course

The number of would-be investment managers in China entering the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) programme reached a record high in 2016, overtaking new registrations from the US for the first time, latest figures from the CFA institute show.

New candidates entering the CFA programme this year, considered the most rigorous course in the investment profession, grew by 15% to 102,514 candidates with 22,999 registering in mainland China.

The figure surpassed the number of new candidates registering from the United States for the first time.  

Yimei Li, deputy chief executive of China AMC and a CFA holder, said: “The CFA designation is widely recognised as the gold standard of professional knowledge and business ethics in the investment industry.

“We encourage and support our staff to pursue the CFA charter, as it demonstrates our commitment to our clients that we bring in the best talent to serve their needs.” 

The CFA Institute said this year’s Level I, II and III exams took places in 197 cities across 91 countries worldwide.

The top 10 countries and territories with the largest number of candidates tested included the United States (31,501), mainland China (26,758), India (12,117), Canada (11,136), United Kingdom (9,717), Hong Kong (5,359), Singapore (3,433), Australia (2,915), South Africa (2,006), and France (1,784). 

Pass rates

The full results for this year’s June exam season include:

  • Level I: Of 58,677 candidates, 43% passed
  • Level II: Of 50,230 candidates, 46% passed
  • Level III: Of 28,884 candidates, 54% passed

The pass rates are remained fairly stagnant over the past few months with a slight improvement since 2012.

Nearly 16,000 passed the Level III exam, the final hurdle of the CFA programme, which candidates must pass to gain chartered status.

“Congratulations to the successful candidates who have demonstrated their commitment to the highest standard of professional knowledge and ethics,” said Paul Smith, president and chief execuitve of CFA Institute.

Only one out of five people who start the CFA course make it through all three levels and successfully complete all the work experience requirements – which include working in the investment industry for four years – to become a charterholder.

Successful candidates are expected to study approximately 1,000 hours on average to master 8,500 pages of curriculum. 

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