CFA Institute Says African Level 1 Exam Papers Lost

Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals that awards the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, said the answer sheets of 275 candidates who took exams in Ghana last month were lost.

The shipping agent hasn’t delivered the Level 1 papers to the institute so “we cannot grade your December 2010 CFA exam,” according to an e-mail addressed to “all candidates in Africa” by President John Rogers.

“I can only imagine how upsetting this news must be to you. We know the time and effort you put into this examination process and are determined to support your investment in time as best we can,” Rogers said in the e-mail.

Applicants pursue the CFA hoping it will lead to a better job, higher salary and deeper understanding of finance. The not-for-profit institute, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, recommends 300 hours of study for each of the three six-hour tests. Those who pass Level 1 are eligible to take Level 2.

The institute will provide those affected with a full refund of their exam fees and travel costs, will waive the fees for their next registration, and will invite them to re-sit the test on Feb. 5, the e-mail shows.

“Incidents like this are extremely rare,” Terry Lee, Asia-Pacific director of marketing and communications, said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News. “Since the first administration of the CFA exam in 1963 we have never before experienced an incident of this sort and magnitude.”

The institute is working with the courier company to locate the missing papers, and if they are found a pass score on the December 2010 exam, or the February re-test will allow candidates to move on to Level 2, according to the e-mail.

“We have numerous procedures and quality controls in place to uphold the highest standards of security for CFA examination materials,” Lee said. “Unfortunately, those processes appear not to have been sufficient in this case.”

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will McSheehy at