2009-01-28 17:46:13.929 GMT
By Ian Katz
Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- A smaller percentage of candidates passed the first test of the Chartered Financial Analyst exam, a three-step process aimed at gaining a hiring edge as job losses accelerate in the financial-services industry.
Thirty-five percent passed the initial test, down from 39 percent last year, the CFA Institute said in a statement today. Almost 50,000 people worldwide took the first stage in December, a 25 percent increase from a year earlier, the Charlottesville, Virginia-based institute said.
"The number of hours candidates spent studying the material" is the main reason the percentage of people who pass varies, Bob Johnson, the institute's deputy chief executive officer, said in an e-mail.
Candidates take the exam betting the certification can become a path to better jobs, higher salaries and a deeper understanding of finance. The not-for-profit CFA Institute recommends candidates spend at least 250 hours studying for each test phase. It costs about $2,500 to
complete all three levels. Demand for the certification rose as job losses mounted in the
financial-services industry. Employment in New York City's securities industry fell 10 percent to 168,600 in December from 187,800 in October 2007, the New York state comptroller said in a report today. The state will have lost as many as 225,000 jobs and $6.5 billion in securities industry-related tax revenue by Oct. 31, the state has said.
To qualify for CFA designation, a person must be employed in a financial job, such as a broker or an analyst, and have four years of relevant experience. Topics range from ethical standards and securities valuation to financial statement analysis and portfolio management. About 20 percent of candidates who begin the test process will become charter holders, a designation now held by 86,968 people, according to the CFA. About two-thirds who take Level III successfully complete the process.
The CFA program started in 1963 and stems in part from proposals by Benjamin Graham, a pioneer of value investing who mentored Warren Buffett, for a rating system for financial analysts.
For Related News and Information:
News securities firms: NI SCR
Top financial stories: FTOP
Stories about job cuts: NI JOBCUTS
Stories about financial services: NI FIN
--With reporting by Henry Goldman in New York. Editors: Steve Geimann,
Alec D.B. McCabe
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