Market: when the most difficult exam in the financial world no longer makes you dream …

(BFM Bourse) – CFA Certificate, a precious sesame for financial professionals, is no longer a dream. For the third year in a row, the number of candidates for this prestigious exam has fallen to the level of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to FinancialTimes.

The most difficult exam on the planet of finance is not as desirable as in previous years. Pandemic failures and pass rates below 50% distract entrants from the CFA or Chartered Finance Analyst exam, according to FinancialTimes.

Founded 75 years ago in the American city of Charlottesville, Virginia, the association of the origin of precious sesame has 190,000 members worldwide. If until the early 1980s only North American candidates were eligible for the CFA, the exam was extended to the rest of the world, making it increasingly popular. The reputation of the most difficult exam in the world is far from usurped. To get precious sesame seeds, a candidate must invest many years before getting a full course.

The program, exclusively in English, consists of three parts. The first, or CFA Level I, tests the ability of candidates to own major financial instruments. The Level II program, which focuses on the valuation of structured and complex assets, includes the study of more complex tools. This level is considered the most difficult to pass the three exams. Level III focuses more on portfolio management techniques and requires several years of experience in finance, unlike Level I, whose exam is also available to students. Obtaining a CFA degree, which requires about 1,000 hours of training, has long been considered important for many careers in finance. But the wave is changing. The high workload, low success rate and pandemic failures have led future students to question whether obtaining this certification is so important to their careers, he added. FinancialTimes.

A sharp drop in demand

“Demand is falling off the cliff. Today, people are scared away by long hours of training in a low-pass exam that employers don’t just require when hiring, and then it’s out of date,” said Margaret Franklin, director of the CFA Institute. “The number of candidates is lower than before due to the pandemic. The situation is more complicated because students want to be sure that they will be able to pass the exam,” she said.

In the year ending August 2019, approximately 160,900 candidates from around the world passed the Level 1 exams, the first of three stages leading to a full qualification for the CFA. The following year, that number dropped to just 73,688, when a pandemic forced the institute to cancel written exams scheduled for June 2020. In the year ending August 2021, 125,775 students passed the exams. Exams after the institute replaced written tests with online ones from February. 2021. The institute was severely criticized by entrants last year after a fifth of staff were reduced and exams were canceled due to a pandemic. “The pandemic has affected the ability of many candidates to prepare. The learning conditions were suboptimal. Intermittent interruptions around exams have affected performance, ”said Margaret Franklin. FinancialTimes.

In the current fiscal year, just over 93,000 students passed the Level 1 exams, but Margaret Franklin said quarantine in China had led to a large number of candidates canceling or rescheduling tests scheduled for May. Since the introduction of online testing last year, the success rate has dropped significantly to around 28% for level 1 exams, compared to an average of 41% over the last decade. The July exams accounted for only 22% of students, the lowest since the 1963 CFA exam.

She added that she expects the number of applicants to be lower in the coming months due to the situation in China, where demand was high before the pandemic. “Beijing’s policy of zero Covid means that we expect new failures in China over the next six to nine months, but India has already returned to the level of a pandemic,” said Margaret Franklin.

Sabrina Sadgi – © 2022 BFM Bourse