Expanded RMA Certification: IWI's New Curriculum for Retirement Management Advisors

Posted by Allison Edmondson, Director of Communications

Jan 27, 2023 3:00:00 PM

Denver, CO – The leading professional association for financial advisors, the Investments & Wealth Institute (the Institute), has just rolled out a new examination and a more robust and comprehensive curriculum as part of its expanded Retirement Management Advisor® (RMA®) Certification.
The enhancements to the program result from in-depth job analysis conducted by Professional Testing, Inc., detailing the knowledge and skill competencies required of retirement advisor professionals. The Institute conducted the Job Analysis in 2022, after surveying several hundred retirement-focused financial advisors. As a result, the RMA® Certification was expanded to address 65 topics organized within 11 sections and three knowledge domains. The RMA Certification Commission establishes initial and ongoing certification standards to ensure that certified Retirement Management Advisor® professionals can build retirement income plans for end clients more effectively.
“The enhanced RMA® Certification has been developed to be more practical, applicable, and outcomes-based,” said Mike Kurz, RMA®, CIMA®, CPWA®, CFP®, CAIA®, director of programs for the Institute. “It maintains its differentiation from other retirement income programs by being product-agnostic and client focused. And the program now better supports advisors in building reliable and sustainable income plans for retirement clients through fresh content, an extended curriculum, new case studies, worksheets, and tools.”
The new RMA examination and education curriculum will address the following detailed content outline:
The Retirement Opportunity

  • The Retirement Landscape – critical retirement demographics and current trends, with an understanding of the role of the client and advisor

  • Retirement Mindset and Behavior – evolution of retirement approaches, and understanding the behavioral science related to finance, aging, retirement, cognitive decline, and family dynamics to positively impact client actions

  • The Ethical Advisor – business standards, regulatory requirements, ethics concepts and the code of professional responsibility

The Retirement Client

  • Client Discovery and Analysis – prudent, client-oriented advisory processes, and ability to create, implement, monitor, and adjust retirement plans

  • Assessing Retirement Readiness – scenario planning models and optimized retirement income plans, issue prioritization, understanding available capital for funding goals, income creation using assets and liabilities

  • Retirement Risk Management – approaches, concepts, categories, assessments, and strategies

The Retirement Technical Design

  • Retirement Portfolio Allocations – planning approaches, including goals-based planning to build a repeatable retirement income planning client engagement process

  • Key Retirement Planning Decisions – Social Security and Medicare strategies, as well as withdrawal polices, rules and risks

  • Implementations Strategies – portfolio allocations, product selection, insurance, lending, and investment vehicles specific to delivering sustainable retirement income plans

  • Life in Transition – special situations, considerations, and aging issues

  • Retirement Policy Statements​ – road map for clients to take actions against their retirement income plan

Applicants must meet a three-year experience requirement and pass a comprehensive background check as part of the application process. To prepare candidates to sit for the new, comprehensive certification exam, the RMA® education program will be migrated to a new learning experience platform.

Learn more about the RMA® Certification program or apply for the program online. You may also view an introductory webinar here. Private cohorts for corporate clients are available, please contact Michael Mastey at mmastey@i-w.org for information.


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