According to an CFA Institute statement, 151,853 candidates in 91 countries sat for the three levels of examinations in early June 2017.
The CFA pass rate in June 2017:
Level I Of 63,283 candidates 43% passed
Level II Of 56,939 candidates 47% passed
Level III Of 31,631 candidates 54% passed
The CFA Institute does not disclose pass rates for individual countries, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman said.
The 10-year average pass rates (2007-2016) for Level I, II and III exams are 40%, 43% and 51%, respectively.
For the second year, the number of candidates in China surpassed those of the US. In China, 33,934 people for all three levels took the exam and in the US the number was 32,353.
With the expectation of even more interest in the CFA designation in China, the Institute said it would open a new exam centres in Hangzhou in December 2017 and Dalian in June 2018.
In Hong Kong, 5,364 candidates took the June test and in Singapore, 3,295.
India, with 14,776 candidates, has the largest number of CFA exam takers in Asia Pacific after China. India, however, is one of the fastest growing countries by the number of candidates in the CFA programme, the Institute said.
The CFA designation is awarded to candidates who pass three levels of examinations, have accumulated four years of relevant work experience and join the CFA Institute as a paying member.
There are currently 145,000 CFA charterholders around the globe. The CFA designation is recognised, to an extent, by industry bodies and regulators in their own licensing and membership process.
The examinations are administered once a year, in early June (Level I examinations are also administered in early December). It takes, on average three or four years to complete the programme, which is based on self-study.
The curriculum includes investment valuation, financial reporting, portfolio management, economics and professional standards. However, the Instiute said it has plans to include fintech-themed questions.