Celebrating 50 Years of the CFA Charter

CFA Institute
  • From: John Privat, CFA
  • Sent: February 25, 2010
  • Subject: A CFA story

The Seattle Society of Financial Analysts said you were looking for stories about charterholders. I started to put the request aside, then told myself, stop procrastinating and do it now. Here is my extemporaneous eyewitness account from the early 1970s:

I was studying for my third exam and was asked to study with a fellow who had flunked CFA I, then passed it, flunked CFA II, then passed it and was studying for number III. His wife had insisted that he start three months in advance to study and even dedicate his vacation to cram for the exam as she wasn’t willing to go through the trauma of another miss. He was dutifully memorizing everything in a frenetic way that seemed to me to be way overboard and pressure packed. The exam was to be taken Saturday morning at the University of Washington campus and entry was restricted to those who had an authorized IBM punch card that was to be given to the proctor.

I arrived on time but he was five- to 10-minutes late, arrived in disarray, barely being admitted to the room. He was totally agitated and proceeded to chain smoke for five minutes before he even opened the blue book. It wasn’t until the break that I could ask him what had happened. He had driven onto campus and the guard had asked him his business. When he said he was there for the CFA exam the guard had asked for proof. As he handed the IBM punch card through the partially opened car window, the two fumbled it and as only “Murphy” could do, it slid down the window glass and months of preparation disappeared into door! My friend let out a yell and the guard calmly assured him he would write the proctor a note saying what had happened. The frantic test taker convinced him that it wasn’t going to work, and the guard told him to pull to the side. Then the two of them dismantled the door panel, retrieved the punch card and sent him on his way. Despite the trauma there is a happy ending as he did pass the CFA III.

John P. Privat, CFA
Seattle, Washington
Charterholder since 1968

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