Initially accredited in 2011, the CIMA® certification was the first financial services credential in the United States accredited by ANAB. In 2016 and again in 2021, CIMA® certification was re-accredited as a global certification, with a global body of knowledge and skills for investment advisors. CPWA® earned accreditation in 2022.The CIMA® and CPWA® certifications have been accredited as quality credentials that protect and enhance their value to certified professionals and provide reassurance for regulators, compliance departments, and clients. ANAB accreditation highlights the advantages of bona fide certifications:
- The certification process is valid, reliable, fair, transparent, and objective.
- CIMA® certification consistently distinguishes those who meet a level of competency and skills as an investment advisor or consultant from those who don’t.
- CPWA® certification consistently distinguishes those who meet a global standard of competency and skills in private wealth management from those who don’t.
- The program is supported by an organization with sound management systems.
To meet the rigorous ANAB ISO/IEC 17024 accreditation standard for personnel certifications, the Institute demonstrated its adherence to nearly 120 individual standards, including those that can be summarized in the following broad categories:
- Credibility and Consistency: The certification examination must be fair, valid and reliable. The examination cannot discriminate between persons based upon non-competency-related factors such as race, age, gender or ethnicity. A valid examination correctly measures whether an individual has the necessary competencies for the job. Validity is an indicator to establish that the process measures what it is intended to measure. Reliability demonstrates that the examination measures a person’s abilities in a consistent manner.
- Independence: The certification body involves a balanced representation of key stakeholders in making certification-related decisions, without undue influence by business interests. The certification functions must be independent of training to ensure that confidentiality, information security and impartiality are not compromised.
- Impartiality: The certification body must demonstrate that its structure, policies and procedures ensure impartiality and objectivity and that it manages conflict of interest arising from certification activities.
- Transparency and Accountability: The certification body is required to have an active complaint process to resolve complaints against its activities as well as complaints against individuals that it has certified. The certification body must have due process for taking away a credential for unethical or incompetent behavior.
- Continuous Quality Improvement: Management systems are in place to ensure continual improvement of the certification program and the stability of the certifying body. The standard is comprehensive and covers all aspects of certification including examination and data security, recertification, resource requirements, confidentiality, competence of personnel involved with certification activities, financial requirements and use of certification and logo marks.
To maintain the accreditation, ANAB requires more ongoing rigor by the credentialing body than other standards. ANAB requires annual surveillance applications, coupled with annual audits by assessors and reapplication every five years.
Commitment to Excellence
During the past several years as Investments & Wealth Institute anticipated applying for accreditation, our volunteer policymakers set transparent standards for registering education providers, modified the governance structure to address potential conflicts of interest, and separated the education program from the actual certification function.
Attainment of ANAB accreditation grows and protects the integrity of both the CIMA® and CPWA® certification. Investments & Wealth Institute is positioned at the forefront of financial services credentialing bodies, and the value of CIMA® and CPWA® certification is undeniably greater. Accreditation protects the value of CIMA® and CPWA® certification from regulatory trends in financial services, recognizes the quality of Investments & Wealth Institute’s organizational and certification processes, more effectively positions CIMA® and CPWA® certification for international growth.
Fewer than 5% of financial services credentialing programs meet accreditation standards and few create absolute separation between examination and education. Certificants, clients, employers, and regulators can continue to be assured that the CIMA® and CPWA® marks are granted and administered under rigorous guidelines.
The ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) is the largest multi-disciplinary ISO/IEC 17011 accreditation body in North America, with comprehensive signatory status across the multilateral recognition arrangements of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and International Accreditation Forum (IAF). The ANAB accreditation portfolio includes management systems certification bodies, calibration and testing labs, product certification bodies, personnel credentialing organizations, forensic test and calibration service providers, inspection bodies, police crime units, greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies, reference material producers, and proficiency test providers.
ANAB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting the U.S. voluntary standards and conformity assessment systems and strengthening their impact, both domestically and internationally, including by administering procedures and criteria for accreditation of conformity assessment programs and encouraging organizations to prepare and submit such programs for accreditation.