Wire: BLOOMBERG News (BN) Date: 2009-07-28 15:18:18.60 GMT
By Michael J. Moore
July 28 (Bloomberg) -- A higher percentage of hopefuls for the Chartered Financial Analyst designation passed the first test in a three-step process that may give them a hiring edge during Wall Street’s worst shakeout in at least three decades. Forty-six percent passed the Level 1 test of the CFA exam,up from 35 percent in December and 35 percent a year ago, the CFA Institute said on its Web site today. A record 128,600people enrolled to take one of the three levels of the exam in June, the Charlottesville, Virginia-based institute said.Results for Levels 2 and 3 will be released on August 18. A CFA is a valued credential on Wall Street held by Bill Gross, who runs the world’s biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co., and Abby Joseph Cohen, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s senior investment strategist. It’s especially true after financial firms cut more than 328,000 jobs since global markets started to unravel in 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Candidates take the CFA 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 phase of the test. Completing all three levels costs about$2,500 and takes an average of four years.
There are about 84,000 CFA charter holders globally,according to the institute. About 35 percent of the 44,063people passed the first test in the process last June. Candidates from 154 countries were scheduled for three levels of the CFA exam. The first level of the exam is offered in December and June; the final two levels are administered only in June. Last year, 46 percent passed the second test and 53percent of participants passed the final level. 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. The CFA program started in 1963 and stems in part from Benjamin Graham, a pioneer of value investing who mentored Warren Buffett and advocated a rating system for financial analysts.
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