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CFA exam postponed, with no tests until at least December

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The CFA Institute postponed its June exam because of the coronavirus pandemic, with candidates who were planning to sit for the test delayed until at least December.

Those registered for the June chartered financial analyst exam will automatically be transferred to the next two test periods, and the institute is working with its partners globally to determine when that might be, according to a statement Thursday. December is the earliest opportunity for the exam to be re-administered.

“As the pandemic continues to intensify, with no certainty of when it will abate, we have made this decision with a heavy heart while knowing that it is in the best interest of all of our stakeholders,” Margaret Franklin, chief executive officer of the institute, said in the statement.

More than 245,000 people were registered for the June exam as part of the three-level program to earn a credential from the most challenging test in finance, hoping to improve their job prospects. The pandemic has prompted the cancellations of conferences, concerts, university classes, sporting events and other gatherings around the world.

The delay is a disappointment to candidates like Pong Wu who have been preparing hard for the June test. Many applicants are hoping the CFA designation will offer them better jobs, higher salaries and a deeper understanding of their industry.

“I was hoping to bury myself in the exam to avoid dealing with the slump, and come back to the markets when things return to normal,” said Wu, who works at a corporate finance advisory firm in Hong Kong. “But I understand the need to delay. That’s better than packing thousands of people into one venue during a pandemic.”

The global financial industry has already taken drastic measures to limit contact among workers, with banks including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup asking many of its employees to work from home.

The institute typically offers all three levels of the exam in June and just the first level in December. This will be the last year for paper-based Level I exams after the institute in February announced a switch to computer-based testing. The first level also will be offered four times a year starting in 2021.

Bloomberg News