Maximize Earnings and Client Satisfaction with IWI Certifications

Posted by Allison Edmondson, Director of Communications

Jul 23, 2018 3:00:00 PM

Denver, CO — July 23, 2018The Investments & Wealth Institute® (formerly IMCA) recently released the latest issue of Investments & Wealth Research (Issue 3, 2018), focusing on measuring advisors’ return on investment through voluntary, advanced certification, and how those credentials correlate with superior levels of both advisor and client satisfaction.

“Research shows that high-net-worth clients want their advisors to go beyond the requirements of current laws and regulations regarding advice,” said Sean Walters, CAE, chief executive officer, Investments & Wealth Institute. “The knowledge, skills and ethics necessary to yield the trust and meet the evolving expectations of these clients can be gained if make an on-going commitment to advanced certifications. From the research, it is clear that certifications matter and that advanced, technical knowledge and high standards of ethics are required by the next generation of clients, and by affluent clients.”

Investments & Wealth Research looked closely at research studies conducted by the Institute with the Aite Group,, Human Resources Research Organization, and Cerulli Associates in partnership with Janus Henderson Investors.Findings from these studies published in 2017 and 2018, demonstrate that advisors earning the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) and Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) certifications are likely to be working within high-performing teams at firms where high-net-worth (HNW) clients value the knowledge demonstrated through their advisor’s certifications and where clients take advantage of the full array of services these teams provide. Advisors and HNW clients both benefit from stronger advisor-client relationships, where clients feel that advisors understand their needs (High Performing Teams study, 2017).

While clients clearly find worth in the knowledge their advisor’s designations provide, advisors also see a return on their investment in advanced certification. Study results show that CIMA and CPWA certified professionals: 

  • Are more highly educated. 37 percent of advisors who earned the CIMA credential hold a graduate degree vs. 24 percent of non-CIMA certificants (Aite Group, 2017).

  • Hold multiple designations. 77 percent of CPWA professionals have earned at least two designations compared to 43 percent of the advisor professionals who do not hold either a CPWA or a CIMA certification (Aite Group, 2018).

  • Report greater career satisfaction. 47 percent of CPWA-certified advisors reported being satisfied with their careers compared to 21 percent of non-CPWA advisors. Among professionals who strongly agree that CPWA certification was worth the time and effort, 77 percent reported high career satisfaction (Aite Group, 2018).

  • Earn more. 12 percent of CIMA advisors and 17 percent of CPWA advisors reported incomes of more than $380,000 vs. 3 percent for non-CIMA professionals and 7 percent for non-CPWA professionals (Aite Group, 2017, 2018).

  • Contribute to a team. 30 percent of wealth management firms with at least one CPWA advisor reported revenue growth of more than 10 percent over the prior five years vs. 18 percent for firms without a CPWA advisor (Aite 2018).

  • Have increased productivity. 26 percent of teams with a CIMA professionals experienced more than 10 percent revenue growth over the past five years compared to only 18 percent of teams without a CIMA professionals (Aite 2017).

"These studies clearly show that advanced certifications are worth the investment for advisors and make a significant difference to the advisor, the team, the firm, and most importantly, the clients they serve,” added Devin Ekberg, CIMA®, CPWA®, CFA®, managing director of education, Investments & Wealth Institute. “The demonstrated level of experience, education, ethics, and resulting superior performance among CIMA and CPWA professionals compared to other advisors is significant, and reflects the quality and standards of the certifications, as well as the high level of professionalism of the individuals who undertake them.”

Offered since 1988, CIMA certification is the peak international, technical portfolio construction certification program designed for investment consultants, analysts, financial advisors and wealth management professionals. The education requirement for CIMA certification is currently offered through the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Yale School of Management, and the Portfolio Construction Program–Australia.

The CPWA certification is an advanced professional designation for advisors who serve high-net-worth clients. It is designed for seasoned professionals who seek the latest, most advanced knowledge and techniques to address the sophisticated needs of clients with a minimum net worth of $5 million. The education requirement for CPWA certification is currently offered through the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and online through Yale School of Management.

Investments & Wealth Research is distributed as a member-only benefit as a supplement to the award-winning Investments & Wealth Monitor. Published by the Institute, it provides custom research describing demographic and best practice information about Institute members and how they deliver investment consulting and wealth management services.


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