Investments & Wealth Institute Scholarship Fund

“Today is not just another day. It is a new opportunity, another chance, a new beginning. Embrace it” 

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Accelerate your career trajectory and thrive

The Investments & Wealth Scholarship Fund is designed to accelerate career advancement of target professionals that are currently underrepresented in the profession, thereby fostering a more diverse and sustainable workforce within the financial advisor profession.

Qualified individuals who can demonstrate financial need and are from underrepresented populations related to gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual preference, and/or financial need may receive scholarship assistance underwriting the costs of CIMA®, CPWA® and RMA® certification.




By unique design, the Investments & Wealth Institute Scholarship Fund is ensuring that every advisor, large or small, experienced or new, has access to a variety of advanced education and certification programs that will allow them to best advise and serve their clients.

In response to economic changes, the Institute has doubled the amount of financial aid offered. Additionally, we've created a new Advisors in Transition scholarship that is offered to advisors who have been laid off or who can demonstrate financial hardship




The mission of the Investments & Wealth Institute is to deliver the premier investment consulting and wealth management credentials and world-class education, in order to encourage the practice of high standards of professional conduct and improve the overall competency and professionalism of advisors.


The objective of the Certification Scholarship Fund is to promote diversity and grow the number of certified professionals who currently are underrepresented in the profession thereby enhancing the competency and professionalism of advice delivered to the public.

Scholarships Awarded in 2020, the inaugural year of the Certification Scholarship Fund, the Investments & Wealth Institute granted $226,870 in scholarship assistance to 191 students addressing the following eligibilities:

Scholarship Fund charts

The amount of financial aid varied by applicant, but typically the amount was $1,000–$2,000 to offset costs of Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®)certification, 1,000–$2,000 to offset costs of Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) certification, and $500–$1,000 to offset costs of Retirement Management Advisor® (RMA®) certification.

CIMA® Scholarships in 2020: $90,000 granted
CPWA® Scholarships in 2020: $115,670 granted
RMA® Scholarships in 2020: $21,200 granted

See our ongoing work for 2021: Quarterly Update - 2021 Q2



What types of scholarships can I apply for?2 diverse professionals working on a laptop together

The Institute offers four categories to choose from.                       

  • Women in Wealth:  Designed to combat the gender gap and accelerate opportunities for women across the globe and help them advance their career trajectories by enhancing their expertise, knowledge, and strategic approaches.

  • Investments & Wealth Diversity: Designed to attract members in the financial community who are reflective of the world we live in and combat the racial, ethnic, religious and gender identity gaps and accelerate opportunities for individuals across the globe and help them advance their career trajectories my enhancing their expertise, knowledge and strategic approaches.

  • The Center for RIA Excellence: Designed to reduce the financial barrier to entry for the next-generation of professionals from independent Registered Investment Advisor firms who don’t offer tuition reimbursement programs like other firms. The Center for RIA Excellence will support and advance issues important to RIA firms, and accelerate opportunities for individuals across the globe and help them advance their career trajectories my enhancing their expertise, knowledge and strategic approaches.

The Institute is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in its membership and executive educational programs. Our scholarships were designed to reduce the barriers for entry, and expand the shared perspectives and voices heard throughout our evolving industry. We wish to improve the access to premier professional development and increase the involvement of those underrepresented in the industry.

Who is eligible?

Individuals who:Asian professional smiling and talking with another professional

  • Are from groups currently underrepresented within the industry, including, but not limited to:
    • African-Americans/Blacks, Latinx, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans
    • Individuals with an ADA disability
    • Are a Veteran
    • Identify under the LGBTQ+ umbrella
    • Registered Independent Advisors who don’t have access to tuition reimbursement programs
  • Currently work in the field and meet the requirements related to the certification they are seeking
  • Are able to demonstrate financial need
  • Desire to create a more inclusive community and improve the professionalism, ethics and expertise throughout the industry

What does the Scholarship provide?

  • Scholarships range from $500-$2,000
  • Effective 2021, Basic membership will be included with application for all nonmembers
  • Provides a one-time $250 voucher towards any conference, must complete CIMA®, CPWA®, RMA® certification program before receiving voucher

Submission Process:

  • Recipient must first select a program (Either the CIMA®, CPWA® or RMA®)
  •  Please apply for a scholarship before being accepted into the program
  • Recipients are required to submit a short essay (no more than 600 words) describing why achieving an advanced certification is important to them

All applicants must have at least three years’ experience in financial services and meet the qualification requirements of the certification program for which they are applying. Applicants must have demonstrated professional, volunteer, or civic/community leadership experience and be committed to fully engage in all scholarship benefits. Applicants must apply for a scholarship before they enroll in the program to be considered eligible for scholarship funds.




Benefits that last

bipoc female holding hand out for handshake

Designation holders acquiring an elite professional certification will receive specialized expertise and skills, which will in turn lead to attracting and retaining high-net-worth clients.  This will create the opportunity to excel as a financial service professional through heightened confidence, competence, and compensation.

By investing in educational development, higher standards, and enhanced capabilities, women, diverse professionals, and next generation leaders will elevate their personal and professional careers within the financial services sector. 

Investments & Wealth Institute believes all advisors should have the same opportunity when it comes to their access to specialized education. This Scholarship Fund is designed to reduce the financial barrier to entry for eligible professionals who meet the requirements to pursue advanced designations. 

Check out our what our recipients have to say! Click here.



Moving the Needle

Since the Scholarship Fund was launched, the Institute has experienced a 389% rise in BIPOC applicants over the industry average, and a 114% rise in Latino applicants.
Thrive Scholarship comparison chart

Candidate Intake vs. All Advisor Benchmark: Women
*All advisors data is from 2021 Cerulli Associates Report


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Candidate Intake vs. All Advisor Benchmark: BIPOC and Hispanic
*All advisors data is from 2021 Cerulli Associates Report


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"As an investment professional or advisor, you can never stop learning and improving your skillset....This investment world is ever so changing, and you need to make sure you are constantly changing and improving along the way. And one way to do that is to continue investing in yourself through education and professional certifications."

Chadwick Roberson
Candidate for CIMA® Certification

"The CPWA® will be important for me and my firm as it covers all the bases, providing a full breadth of skill in addition to greater credibility. Credibility is critical to clients. As a young professional woman in finance, the CPWA® will be an immediate differentiation and help to demonstrate my knowledge, skills, and ability. I am so excited to have the opportunity to pursue the CPWA® Certification. The Scholarship expands my ability to pursue this education and grow my knowledge and practice."

Karīna Sērmūksle
Candidate for CPWA® Certification

"By investing in yourself, you show up better for others. Like investors, finance professionals want to see a return on investment. I am sure if you ask someone who has obtained the CIMA certification or CPWA certification if they believe it was worth the investment (both in time and financial cost), they will likely say yes."

Leslie Chang, CFP®
Candidate for CPWA® Certification

"I’m excited to be studying for the RMA certification to better assist clients making the transition into retirement and accessing portfolios we have spent many years building.  The CIMA program offered a deep dive into many aspects of investments, I’m looking forward to doing the same with retirement issues. As an advisor it’s imperative we are continually learning and seeking ways to improve the experience and outcomes for our clients."

Lynn Ann Gillen, CIMA® 
Candidate for RMA® Certification

"My goal is to work with high-net-worth clients and endowments. Earning the CIMA designation is an illustration to prospective clients that I possess the knowledge to effectively manage their capital. It will give me the credibility of having specialized training and knowledge. The CIMA certification is critical in helping me build trust and create relationships with wealthy sophisticated investors who have complex needs."

Shaun Taylor
Candidate for CIMA® Certification

"I chose [to pursue] the CPWA because the candidate body of knowledge addresses all that I want to address with high net worth clients.... If a client met with me today they would know that I am qualified to provide solutions to their complex issues. I want Bowman Wealth Management to be uppermost in the minds of estate planning attorneys and CPAs when they seek RIAs to refer their clients. I want to earn the business because I have consistently demonstrated my ability to address the complex issues of the high net worth individual, by providing answers to questions requiring strategic thinking, advanced concepts, and forward-looking planning."

Valerie Bowman, RCP,  RTP
Candidate for CPWA® Certification

"These designations not only hold you to the highest ethical standards but exemplify a person who is serious about what they do and the clients that they serve....My client base is comprised of high net-worth (HNW) & ultra-high-net worth (UHNW) individuals and families. The CPWA® hones in on planning and investment topics that are most pertinent to these types of clients. Obtaining this designation will help me continue serving these clients in the highest capacity."

Wes Hedrick, CFP®
Candidate for CPWA® Certification


Thank you to our donors

Thank you to the individuals and organizations below who believe that advanced education in the financial services profession equals a more informed and prosperous investing public.

Platinum Partners:

MacQuarie logo



Gold Partner:

Capital Group logo

Raymond James logo


Cambridge logo

Bitwise logo


FlexShares logo

Orion logo
RBC Wealth Management logo
TransAmerica logo

Bronze Partners:

American Century Investments

Black Creek Group logo

Charles Schwab logo



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