Decline in the Pass Percentage of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level-I from 38% to 37%

Shubhangi Sarah updated on : 03 Mar 2014

CFA certification not only leads to better jobs, higher salaries but also a deeper understanding of Finance.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The percentage of candidates clearing the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level-I December 2012 exam has declined to 37%, down from 38% from that of the June 2012 and December 2011 exams. A total of 48,981 financial professionals, which includes 5,173 Indian (the third largest group after the US and China), appeared for the latest exam. In fact for Level-I the pass percentage crossed 45% and above mark only once and crossed 40% thrice in the last 12 exams conducted in last five years. The only time the pass percentage was a decent 50%, was in 2000 when the Level – I exams used to happened annually.


Financial professionals in order to get CFA designation have to successfully clear three levels of exam conducted by the CFA Institute, US. Level-I exams are considered to be the toughest of the three levels. Level-I exams are conducted twice (June and December) annually since 2003.


While the Level II and Level III exams are conducted in June, The best pass percentage in Level-I was 85% in 1965 and the lowest pass percentage had been in 34% in June 2004 and December 2009. According to an official statement by the institute, it said that in an environment of overwhelming lack of trust in finance, candidates that took the CFA Level-I exam in December 2012 have passed and taken the first step to joining the next generation of qualified and ethical investment professionals.


"Although major equity markets have rebounded since their 2009 lows, public confidence in the financial industry remains at a very low level," said John Rogers, CFA, president and CEO of CFA Institute. "As the leading body of investment professionals with more than 1,10,000 members worldwide, CFA Institute drives the industry toward higher levels of financial expertise and ethical standards. Today's successful candidates are one step closer to earning the CFA designation, which, after 50 years, remains the gold standard in education for investment professionals emphasizing the highest ethical and professional standards," added Rogers.


CFA certification not only leads to better jobs, higher salaries but also a deeper understanding of Finance. Candidates may take the Level-I exam in both June and December, unlike the two latter levels, which are available once a year. To clear the CFA, candidates must:

  • Pass all three levels of exams
  • Meet the work experience required in the investment industry
  • Sign a commitment to abide by the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
  • Become a member of CFA institute


The December 2012 Level-I exam was administered in 95 test centres in 67 cities across 38 countries worldwide. Examples of countries and territories with the largest number of candidates that took the level - I exam last December are the US (11,164), Mainland China (7,636), India (5,173), Canada (3,726), The United Kingdom (3,476), Hong Kong (2,468), Singapore (1,553), and South Africa (1,107).


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