Marking Fifty Years of CFA Exams



Earlier this year, the CFA Institute celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. This marks fifty years of the Chartered Financial Analyst program offering three levels of testing to charter financial analysts. As a part of the celebration, the New York Stock exchange and 23 other financial centers worldwide closed their doors. Ceremonies will be held to celebrate the fifty-year mark. These ceremonies set the stage for 150,000 candidates who took part in Level I, II and III CFA exams.


What is the CFA Exam?

The CFA exams must be taken in order to receive a CFA Charter. This distinction is granted to individuals who pass a rigorous graduate-level exam. Many financially centered schools offer courses in CFA exam prep solely for individuals who wish to earn a CFA Charter. This prep is often a part of the curriculum for Information Technology Management, as the fields often overlap. Candidates must receive passing scores on three separate levels of exams.

The Level I exam is centered on the foundations of the investment business and tools used to invest. Candidates are tested on applicable knowledge and comprehension. The Level II exam tests the candidate’s understanding of derivatives, alternative investments, asset classes, equity investments and places emphasis on the candidate’s ability to apply this knowledge. The Level III exam combines all of this knowledge into understanding portfolio and wealth management, and applying it to making investment decisions.

In addition to the exams, candidates must also complete four years of investment industry work experience. Once the exams are passed and the work experience is completed, they must take a pledge to uphold the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. Once completed, they may apply to become a member of a CFA Institute society.

Who is the CFA Institute?

The CFA Institute is an association of global investment professionals. This well regarded Institute sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. They are champions of ethical behavior in investment markets and all areas of the financial community. Their overall goal, as stated by the CFA Institute, is to “create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best and economies grow.” The CFA Institute further states that they strive to create an investment environment that serves the overall greater good of society by raising standards of professional excellence.

Currently, the CFA Institute has over 110,000 members throughout 139 countries. There are 100,000 charter holders and 136 member societies.

The CFA institute can be traced back to the Financial Analysts Federation (FAF) that was established in 1947.  In 1959, FAF created an independent organization, the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts (ICFA), to create and administer CFA credentialing programs. ICFA opened their doors to candidates in 1963, when 284 candidates applied for the CFA exams. Membership continued to grow and charters were continually granted. The FAF and ICFA eventually merged and formed the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR).  In 2004, AIMR changed its name to the CFA Institute, and has continued to operate solely under this name.

Throughout this extensive history, the exam process has evolved and grown to adapt to an ever changing financial and investment environment. The program aims to equip charter holders with practical and applicable knowledge needed for a variety of career fields in the investment profession. The program has stayed relevant in today’s financial climate as it provides a tremendous value to both charter holders and perspective employers. A charter holder is prepared to immediately begin working in the investment industry. Employers know that by hiring a charter holder they are hiring someone who is qualified, has received a thorough education and has pledged to uphold the CFA Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

An Institution of Respect

Marking their fiftieth anniversary this year, they have continually provided charter holders with applicable knowledge and credentials to find gainful employment in the financial industry. When they opened their doors and began to offer CFA prep exams, they had 248 candidates. For their fiftieth anniversary weekend, over 150,000 candidates enrolled from all over the world to take various levels of the exam. The CFA Institute is held in such high regard, that their fiftieth anniversary marks the single largest global closing of financial centers worldwide.


This guest post article was written and provided by Kendra Lorenzo. Kendra finished her Bachelor’s degree online this last fall. She is now continuing her education by pursuing her Master’s degree online.



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