In the UK 4,222 took the exam, the sixth highest total in the world with approximately 1,800 passing.
The biggest number of candidates was in China with 22,621 followed by the US with 10,649.
Some 59% (43,659) of candidates were from the Asia Pacific region, 23% (16,969) from the Americas and 18% (13,060) from the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
The CFA says successful candidates can now progress to Level II of the CFA® programme, the second of three exams toward earning the CFA charter, a widely recognised investment management benchmark.
Margaret Franklin, CFA, president and CEO of CFA Institute, said: “Congratulations to all of the successful candidates. They are well on their way to achieving an incredibly valuable credential that will attest to their commitment to professional excellence and upholding the highest standards of ethics in investment management.”
To earn the CFA charter, candidates must pass all three levels of the exam, meet the work experience requirements of four years in the investment industry, sign a commitment to abide by the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct and become a member of the CFA Institute.
Fewer than one in five candidates who begin the programme achieve the CFA charter and successful candidates take an average of four years to complete programme.
The December Level I CFA exam was administered in 134 test centres in 87 cities spread across 46 markets worldwide.
The exam was offered for the first time in two new cities in Asia - China, in Chongqing, and India, in Jaipur, attracting over 739 candidates between them.
The 10 markets with the largest number of Level l CFA candidates tested were:
China, 22, 621
United Kingdom, 4,222
South Africa, 1,240
Hong Kong SAR, 1,110
Source: CFA. Not based on candidate country of residence.