You Passed the Exam but are You Running the Risk of Sanction?

Every year candidates, so excited from receiving their test results, rush to update their resumes and business cards then wind up with a warning from the Institute.
What could be perpetually catching candidates and putting at risk all those years of hard work? It is nothing as obvious as front-running trades or disloyalty to employers, but something too often just skimmed over in the CFA Code and Standards. Candidates too often fail to appropriately label their status as a candidate of the designation.
Remember, you cannot claim candidacy for an exam until you are officially registered for that level. Until you are registered, you are still a ‘candidate’ for the previous level. You may, if you would like, show that you have passed a certain level. Until you are a charterholder, your resume should read nothing other than, ‘Candidate for CFA Level #’ or ‘Passed the CFA Level # Exam.’
Resist the urge to claim a pending status for the designation. There is no such thing as, CFA Pending even after you have passed all three exams. You will receive an email like the one below after passing the level III exam.
Congratulations. I am very pleased to inform you that you passed the June 2011 Level III CFA exam. You are one step closer to achieving your goal of earning the globally respected CFA charter.
Now that you have passed Level III, you must be a regular member of CFA Institute to be eligible for the award of the CFA charter. Log in now to verify your current membership status or complete the application process.
Again, congratulations on your achievement.
John D. Rogers, CFA
President and Chief Executive Officer
CFA Institute

Notice that nowhere in the email did it say that you could use the designation or that your status as a member had changed. Neither does it offer a projected date when you will receive the charter. In fact, you will not be able to use the designation even after signing your ethics statement, paying dues and meeting the experience requirement. After meeting all these requirements, the Institute will send you a letter telling you that you have been awarded the charter and can use the designation.
Registration is now open for next year’s exam, so if you are unsure about what to put on your resume, just register for the exam and list yourself as, ‘registered for the CFA Level # Exam.’ The first deadline for 2013 exam registration is September 19th. Enroll before the deadline to receive a $100 discount on registration. Candidates not enrolled by then have until February 13th when the total registration price goes up by $365 through the final deadline on March 13th.
Speaking of deadlines, time is running out for a 20% discount on FinQuiz materials as well. Candidates must order before August 21st to receive the discount on curriculum notes, summaries, mock exams and the test bank.
Don’t let all your hard work go to waste,
Joseph Hogue, CFA

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