More Than 17,000 Pass Level III CFA® Program Exam, Will Join CFA Institute in Raising Professionalism in Investment Management

Candidates grew by nearly 10% globally, year-over-year

NEW YORK--()--CFA Institute, the global association of investment management professionals, announced that of 31,631 candidates who sat for the Level III CFA® Program exam in June, 54% passed the third and final exam. All candidates will be notified of their exam results today. Successful candidates will become CFA® charterholders starting in early October pending verification of professional experience and other membership requirements. They will join more than 145,000 charterholders around the globe who have earned the CFA designation and who lead the investment industry by promoting the highest standards of professionalism for the ultimate benefit of society.

The number of candidates who sat for the Level III exam this exam cycle grew by nearly 10% globally, year-over-year. This caps a 28% increase in Level III candidates over the last five years, reflecting a growing interest in the CFA designation as an international credential and building professionalism in investment management. The three fastest growing markets are outside of the United States with the strongest growth in mainland China where 33,934 candidates sat for the exams, surpassing the number in the United States for a second straight year. Growth also was notable in India where candidates tested increased by over 20% and in Brazil by over 16%, compared to 2016.

Of 56,939 candidates who sat for the Level II exam in June, 47% were successful. Of 63,283 candidates who took the Level I exam, the pass rate was 43%. These candidates will continue on their journey to becoming CFA charterholders.

Higher Standards Key to Winning Investor Trust

CFA Institute marks its 70th anniversary this year, and Paul Smith, CFA, president and CEO, CFA Institute, has challenged investment professionals to raise professional standards in investment management. “As leaders in the industry, we must be bold in our work to focus the investment management profession on redefining value and reclaiming investor trust. I call upon CFA® Program candidates and CFA® charterholders to advocate for a new professionalism by revising business models to deliver more value; and leading with candor and transparency to earn back investor trust. Congratulations to these successful candidates who we hope will soon join us in our earnest pursuit of this mission.”

As investment management enters an era of new professionalism, CFA Institute is also strengthening its partnerships with firms worldwide who employ current and future CFA charterholders. By engaging with investment management firms, the organization hopes to generate support to build professionalism, raise standards industry-wide, and win investor trust.

“The CFA designation is a visible and clear indication that an industry professional has high ethical principles and a drive to serve investors first,” said Kunal Kapoor, CFA, CEO of Morningstar, Inc. “Recruiting and retaining professionals who exemplify these ideals not only supports our business strategy but helps us foster the values that inspire our corporate culture. We are proud to partner with CFA Institute in the worthwhile effort to raise professional standards.”

1,000 Hours of Study

The CFA® designation is one of the most respected and recognized investment management designations in the world. To earn the charter, candidates must pass all three levels of the exam, which is considered to be the most rigorous exam in the investment profession; meet the work experience requirements of four years in the investment industry; sign a commitment to abide by the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct; and become a member of CFA Institute. Less than one in five candidates who begin the program end up finishing, which is testament to the determination and mastery of professional competencies demonstrated by successful Level III candidates.

Candidates study approximately 1,000 hours on average to master 8,500 pages of curriculum. The CFA® Program curriculum includes ethical and professional standards; financial reporting and analysis; corporate finance; economics; quantitative methods; equity; fixed income; alternative investments; derivatives; portfolio management; and wealth planning. Its depth and breadth provides a strong foundation of advanced investment analysis and practical portfolio management skills, which gives investment professionals a career advantage.

Candidate Demand Spurs New Test Centers

To accommodate growing interest in the CFA® Program and candidate growth around the globe, CFA Institute expects to add test centers in seven new locations in the coming year. Starting with the December 2017 exam cycle, the organization plans to add test centers in Anchorage, Alaska, United States; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; Hangzhou, China; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and in June 2018, CFA Institute plans to add new test centers in Barcelona, Spain; Dalian, China; Hyderabad, India.

The June Level I, II and III exams were administered in 262 test centers in 182 cities across 91 countries worldwide. The top 10 countries and territories with the largest number of candidates tested are:

  • Mainland China (33,934)
  • United States (32,353)
  • India (14,776)
  • Canada (11,688)
  • United Kingdom (9,924)
  • Hong Kong (5,364)
  • Australia (3,633)
  • Singapore (3,295)
  • South Africa (2,255)
  • France (1,858)

CFA Institute

CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organization is a champion for ethical behavior in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. The end goal: to create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. CFA Institute has over 152,000 members in 163 countries and territories, including 145,000 CFA® charterholders, and 148 member societies. For more information, visit


CFA Institute, New York
J.D. McCartney, +1-212-418-6889

Release Summary

CFA Institute announced Level III CFA® Program exam results. Successful candidates will join CFA Institute in raising professionalism and standards.


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CFA Institute, New York
J.D. McCartney, +1-212-418-6889