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Jared Dillian

Wall Street’s CFA Program Is a Colossal Waste of Time

For many young finance workers, the three to five years it takes to study and pass all three levels would be better spent on just about any other pursuit.

Some tests have no point. 

Some tests have no point. 

Photographer: Bloomberg

(This column was originally published on Aug. 17. Today, the CFA Institute said on its website that the pass rate for the final level of the chartered financial analyst exam fell again, declining to a record low 39% in September.)

Twice a year, young finance workers perform a sacred ritual where they file into testing centers with Ziploc bags full of No. 2 pencils and financial calculators to take exams that will determine their future professional success. Maybe. I’m referring to the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams, which are notoriously difficult. The latest pass rate plummeted to the lowest ever, with only about 25% of test-takers passing Level I of the exams.