CIMA certification has been accredited as a quality credential which protects and enhances its value to certified professionals and provides reassurance for regulators, compliance departments, and clients. ANSI 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.
- The CIMA certification content is derived from an independent job analysis of the knowledge and skills needed by today’s investment advisor professionals.
- The program is supported by an organization with sound management systems.
Official definition of CIMA certified professional (from 2013 Job analysis):
CIMA professionals integrate a complex body of investment knowledge, ethically contributing to prudent investment decisions by providing objective advice and guidance to individual investors and institutional investors.
Today’s complex and global financial world requires sophisticated solutions from competent, ethical advisors in retail and institutional capacities. For more than 28 years, CIMA certification has represented these virtues and helped advisors demonstrate professionalism in their investment management roles. In April 2011, CIMA certification gained additional credibility when it was the first credential to earned third-party accreditation by American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This accreditation distinguishes CIMA certification as one of a handful of financial services certification in the United States to meet international standards (ISO 17024) for personnel certification.
Among the hundreds of financial certifications and certificates currently offered in the marketplace, few meet national/international standards, raising concerns about consumer protections. Competency-based certifications that meet stringent global standards with third-party accreditation provide stakeholders with the confidence that those holding the certification have the necessary expertise. In the U.S. today, several federal agencies including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, FDA, and OSHA rely on American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accreditation to identify credible certifications.
ANSI is a private non-profit organization that facilitates standardization and conformity assessment activities in the United States. The institute oversees the creation, promulgation, and use of thousands of standards, guidelines, and conformance measures that directly impact businesses and consumers in nearly every industry. ANSI also provides third-party accreditation of organizations that certify that products, processes, personnel, services, systems, and certificate programs meet recognized international standards. The CIMA certification earned accreditation under ANSI’s personnel certification program.
ANSI is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) via the U.S. National Committee, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), and other international and regional forums. Since the inception of ANSI’s Personnel Certification Accreditation Program in 2003, the Institute has accredited 33 personnel certification bodies for 79 scopes in a range of industry sectors under the international standard ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024.
To achieve accreditation, Investments & Wealth Institute was evaluated on a broad range of activities and CIMA certification policies and procedures needed to demonstrate that:
- The program is open and transparent
- The program is fair, objective, and impartial
- There are appeals procedures for complaints
- The program is supported by an organization with sound management systems
- The decision-making body for the certification program is autonomous and without undue influence by special interests
- Certification is based on a process that consistently distinguishes those who meet a level of competency and skills as an investment management professional from those who do not.
During the past several years as Investments & Wealth Institute anticipated applying for accreditation, Investments & Wealth Institute’s 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 ANSI accreditation grows and protects the integrity of the CIMA certification. Investments & Wealth Institute is positioned at the forefront of financial services credentialing bodies, and the value of CIMA certification is undeniably greater. Accreditation protects the value of CIMA certification from regulatory trends in financial services, recognizes the quality of Investments & Wealth Institute’s organizational and certification processes, more effectively positions CIMA certification for international growth, and differentiates CIMA certification in a crowded financial services credentialing market.