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History of the Institute

In 1985, eight investment consultants founded the Investment Management Consultants Association® (IMCA®) to broaden public understanding of investment consulting and increase the professionalism of those providing consulting services through education, ethics, and certification. The organization was renamed the Investments & Wealth Institute in 2017.

Today’s complex and global financial world requires sophisticated solutions from competent, ethical advisors in retail and institutional capacities. Since 1988, CIMA® certification has represented these virtues and helped advisors demonstrate professionalism and expertise in their investment management roles, regardless of channel.

In April 2011, CIMA certification gained additional credibility when it earned third-party accreditation by American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This accreditation distinguishes CIMA certification as the only financial services certification in the United States to meet international standards (ISO 17024) for personnel certification.

In 2007, the CPWA certification was created to develop and assess broad knowledge and skill competencies for advisors who work with high-net-worth clients. In 2012, the Institute defined wealth management after conducting a comprehensive analysis of professionals who serve wealthy clients. Based on the job analysis study, the Institute defined wealth management as “a distinct field of practice, through which qualified professionals help HNW clients achieve their goals and objectives related to the accumulation, protection and distribution of wealth by applying a set of specialized knowledge and skills.” The CPWA certification was refined to address this advanced professional competency.

In late April 2017, after months of discussion, research, and member feedback, the Board of Directors unanimously voted to change the name of the organization to the Investments & Wealth Institute. The new name more accurately reflects the organization’s professional development offerings and maps curriculum to the Investments & Wealth Competency Matrix. The matrix articulates the competencies for professionals who manage money for individuals and/or institutional clients. Investments & Wealth Institute formally announced the new name on October 16, 2017 at the Private Wealth Advisor Forum in Chicago.   

The new name, Investments & Wealth Institute, reflects who we are and what we do, and makes it easier for our members’ clients to understand who we are and what we do. Our new logo visually represents the balance between investments and wealth management and the honeycomb graphic connotes structure. Additional imagery comes to mind when you think of a honeycomb. Diligent worker bees who gather pollen (e.g. clients and their assets), and bring that pollen for safe keeping to the structure of a hive (e.g. structure, discipline and investments held by a custodian). The end result of all this hard work, compounded over time, is golden honey (wealth creation). 

We welcome you to take a deeper look at all the Investments & Wealth Institute has to offer.  Whether you are an advanced investments and wealth professional, a high-performing member of a team, an aspirational advisor looking to improve client outcomes, a financial planner looking to go beyond planning, a career changer trying to understand the investment consulting process, a lifelong learner who is looking for Ivy League quality education that is also practical, an advisor who is struggling with the unique needs of high-net-worth clients,  or an individual or institutional investor searching for a new advisory relationship, you have come to the right place.

Read the bylaws of the organization here.