Candidates for the certified financial planner credential are not rushing to take the qualifying examination remotely despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Only 6% of the 2,153 who sat for the test in September did so from their homes or locations other than a test center, Kevin Keller, chief executive of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc., said Wednesday.
“I was surprised,” Keller said during a session at the online National Association of Personal Financial Advisors fall conference. “It is definitely a different experience from taking the exam in a test center.”
The pass rate for the September test was 64.6%, Keller said. The pass rate was similar for those taking the exam at a testing center and those taking it remotely. The full results of the September exam will be posted Thursday on the CFP Board website.
The CFP Board will again allow anyone who has a health concern about going to a test center or lives more than 50 miles from a testing location to take the exam remotely during the next round of exams, which will be offered Nov. 3-10
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. and the North American Securities Administrators Association, the umbrella group for state regulators, also are allowing remote securities licensing exams.
The CFP tests are usually administered in March, July and September. The March exams were mostly completed before the pandemic caused widespread shutdowns of normal activity in the middle of the month due to social distancing concerns.
The July exams were moved to September, and the September exams were postponed to early November. The CFP Board offered the remote option for the first time during the September exams. The firm Prometric administers the CFP exam, which is taken by about 8,000 people annually.
Keller said he participated in a “test run” of remote proctoring.
“I was impressed with how thorough the check-in process was,” Keller said. “They actually take over your entire computer.”
The proctor validates a test-taker’s identity and then has him or her use the computer camera to look around the room where the test will be taken. The computer camera and microphone must be on throughout the exam.
There was a 90% completion rate for the remote tests, Keller said. Most people who didn’t complete the remote test ran into problems related to taking the exam on a work computer that include security protections that blocked the testing software from taking over the device.
The CFP Board sets and enforces standards related to the credential, which is held by about 87,000 financial professionals in the United States.
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