CFA Institute fails to cut number of exam no-shows

Desks in empty classroom

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The CFA emailed the results of its Level III exam – taken in June – to all 28,884 entrants on August 9, with 54% receiving a pass mark. The pass rate for all three levels this year has been 46%.

However, a spokeswoman for the CFA said 20% of students due to sit exams in 2016 had failed to show up. This has been the case for the past five years, despite efforts to tackle the issue.

Nitin Mehta, head of member value and acting managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the CFA Institute, said: “We would like all those who register and enrol for the CFA Program to appear for the exam, but as with any exam, there are some candidates who feel unprepared and so don’t turn up on the day.”

Candidates typically sign up to the CFA programme while in full-time employment; often on the buyside as the globally recognised qualification focuses on investment knowledge

In August 2015, FN reported that the CFA Institute had called on employers to offer more support to those enrolled on the programme. Mehta said at the time that employer support was “probably the biggest factor” in efforts to reduce the number of exam no-shows.

Reiterating the call in the wake of the 2016 results, Metha said: “The best employers provide ample study time to support their employees on their CFA journey. The CFA exams are an investment, both for the individual and the firm; so when the candidate passes and becomes a charterholder, it benefits everyone.”

The CFA has made other efforts. In 2014, it conducted a study that found work, family commitments and medical issues were the main factors that prevented people from showing up on exam day. The same year it introduced an interactive study planner to help candidates manage time.

To pass the exam, candidates will study for around 1,000 hours on average to master 8,500 pages of curriculum, which includes corporate finance, financial reporting and analysis, fixed income, equity, wealth planning and economics.

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