A lower percentage of hopefuls for the Chartered Financial Analyst designation passed the first and second level of their three-part exam in June compared with a year earlier.
Forty-two percent of applicants passed the exam's first test, CFA Institute spokeswoman Kathy King said July 26, down from 46% on the June 2009 exam. Thirty-nine percent of applicants passed the second, compared with 41% a year earlier.
A record 139,900 candidates enrolled to take CFA exams in June, aiming to capitalize as Wall Street begins to recover from the worst shakeout in decades. Applicants take the test in hopes the certification can lead to better jobs, higher salaries and a deeper understanding of finance.
Financial firms are adding workers for the first time in two years, rebuilding businesses after cutting more than 346,000 jobs since the credit crisis began in 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In New York, 6,900 financial-industry positions were added from the end of February through June, according to the New York State Department of Labor.
The latest round of exams drew applicants from 160 countries, including 38,200 people from the U.S., 15,700 from China and 11,800 from India, the institute said in June.
Successful charter recipients spend an average of 300 hours preparing for each exam and typically take four years to complete all three tests, according to the not-for-profit institute.
Editor's note: Among the 42% of candidates who did pass the CFA Level 1 exam was Pensions & Investments' London Bureau Chief Thao Hua. Congratulations, Thao!