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Morning Coffee: Is sitting the CFA getting too popular in Asia?

CFA popular in Asia

All sitting the CFA tomorrow

Taking the CFA has become popular, perhaps too popular in Asia. About 70,000 of those registered for the June 2015 exam are from Asia Pacfic – 43% of the global total, according to new figures from the CFA Institute

In Singapore, nearly 3,900 candidates are expected to sit for the exams on June 6, an 8% rise over the previous year. Singapore ranks fifth in terms of the most number of candidates behind leaders China (29,698 candidates), India (12,820), Hong Kong (6,215) and Korea (3,912).

While these figures are undoubtedly impressive, one banking recruiter we spoke to in Singapore says that he is seeing “almost too many” people with Level I of the qualification on their CVs (despite high failure rates). “It’s become very popular very fast in Asia to the point at which Level I doesn’t really differentiate you much from your competition,” he adds.

For the time being at least, however, being a CFA charterholder (someone who has passed the exams at all three levels) still makes you somewhat of a rarity in Asia’s financial hubs. There are roughly 200,000 people working in financial services in both cities, but only 3,523 and 6,519 chaterholders in Singapore and Hong Kong respectively, according to data provided by the CFA Institute last month. China can only muster 3,320.


Singapore to boost Islamic finance regime. (Business Times)

China reopens market for credit card asset-backed securities. (South China Morning Post)

Total wages in the Singapore private sector rose in 2014, but the rate of growth was slower than the year before. (Channel News Asia)

ICBC opens first branch in Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)

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