Frequently Asked Questions


Have questions? Browse the commonly asked questions below for help.




 

About the CIMA® Certification


What is CIMA® certification?

CIMA certification is the peak international, technical portfolio construction program for investment consultants, analysts, financial advisors, and wealth management professionals.

CIMA certification teaches professionals how to integrate a complex body of investment knowledge, ethically contributing to prudent investment decisions by providing objective advice and guidance to individual and institutional investors.

What are the steps to earn CIMA certification?

There are 4 steps in the CIMA certification process. All steps must be completed to earn CIMA certification. The steps for earning CIMA certificate are:

1. Submit an online certification program application
2. Complete an executive education program through an approved
Registered Education Provider
3. Pass a comprehensive Certification Exam at an approved testing center.
4. Pass a 2nd background check, document a minimum of 3 years of verified work experience, sign a License Agreement, and pay an initial Certification Fee

How much does the CIMA certification program cost?

The total investment in obtaining the CIMA certification will range between US$4,800 and US$9,000, dependent on your choice of registered education provider and preparatory materials. Fees are subject to change. Please visit the Application & Fees page for more details.

How long does it take to earn CIMA certification?

It can take about 6–9 months to complete the program and earn CIMA certification.

What schools offer the executive education program for CIMA certification?

There are 4 schools that currently offer an executive education program for CIMA certification.

  • The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

  • The Wharton School

  • Yale School of Management

  • Investment Management Research Program – Australia

Education and Preparatation



What is the difference between Wharton, Yale and Chicago?

The main different between each school is the format in which they deliver their education program.

  • Yale School of Management offers a fully online education program. Yale’s program offers open enrollment which offers a more flexible education option. Candidates have the ability to begin their education whenever they feel ready and can complete education at their own pace within Yale’s stipulated timeframe.
     
  • The Wharton School offers a 5 day in-person education program. Wharton’s classes are scheduled at various times throughout the year. This option allows candidates to engage directly with Wharton faculty members and work with peers to understand the material.
     
  • The University of Chicago offers a hybrid program that includes live and online learning. Chicago’s education program is completed online and has a   start and end date for completion. The online education does include live lectures which allows for a more interactive online program. This can offer a nice balance between a convenient online program that is structured to help candidates stay focused on completing the education program.

What steps are required prior to attending/enrolling into an approved executive education program?

Individuals are required to apply for CIMA certification directly with Investments & Wealth Institute® prior to enrolling in an executive education program. Once accepted into the CIMA certification program, candidates may then register and begin the education program of their choice.

Are there any resources available for candidates to help them prepare for the executive education program?  

Candidates are encouraged familiarize themselves with content that will be covered in the program by reviewing the Detailed Content Outline. The Detailed Content Outline outlines the CIMA Core of Body of Knowledge. The Institute also offers a free online resource called the Candidate Resource Center that offers more content for candidates to review in preparation for the education program. Candidates are sent an email shortly after being accepted into the program providing resources to review and registration instructions for the Candidate Resource Center.

When can candidates schedule the certification exam?

The Registered Education Providers report candidates who have registered for their education program to the Institute. A scheduling window is then opened with the Institute’s exam vendor, Pearson VUE, within 24 hours of receiving registration information. This allows candidates to secure an exam date ahead of education completion if a candidate wishes to do so. It is important to note that a candidate must successfully complete an education program to actually sit for the Certification Exam.

When is the certification exam offered?

The Certification Exam is available on-demand, so candidates may sit for the exam after successful completion of the education requirement and may retake the exam every 30 days with a required retesting fee.

What is the score needed to pass the certification exam?

Investments & Wealth Institute does not release passing scores for the Certification Exam. Candidates will receive a pass/fail result only from the testing center after completing the exam.

How do candidates prepare for the certification exam?

Candidates should use the Detailed Content Outline to familiarize themselves with the topic areas that will be covered on the exam. There are also prep programs offered through third party providers that candidates may look into as an additional study option. A list of the third party prep providers are listed on the Study Resources page of the Institute’s website. It is recommended that candidates spend about 100-150 hours preparing for the Certification Exam.

What steps are required after passing the certification exam?

The Institute receives official exam results once a week on Monday. Once pass result is received and processed, the Institute will send an email confirming the exam result and instructions on the final steps for certification. To complete the program after passing the Certification Exam candidates must pass a second background check, document a minimum of 3 years of verified work experience in financial services, sign the License Agreement, and pay an initial certification fee. Candidates will become certified once the Institute completes the 2nd background check, which can take 7-–10 business days.

What happens when a candidate fails the Certification Exam?

Candidates must wait 30 days and pay a retake fee before retaking the Certification Exam. The Institute receives official exam results once a week on Monday. Once a fail result has been received and processed, the Institute will send a fail notification to the candidate with a link to pay retake fee online. A scheduling window for a retake will be opened after the retake fee has been paid.

Maintaining Your Certification



What is required to maintain CIMA Certification?

  • Complete and report a total of 40 CE hours including 2 ethics hours and 1 taxes/regulations hour
  • Pay the certification renewal fee
  • Complete the compliance requirement

Do I have to be a member to keep my certification?

No, However we recommend being a member because you receive significant discounts on registration fees for conferences, online education and certification renewal fee

Do I have to earn all CE with Investments & Wealth Institute?

No, CE can be earned from a variety of sources. Please check the CE Sponsors page on the website to find the preapproved providers.

I let my CIMA or CPWA certication expire, how can I get it back?

There are two Reinstatement options available to individuals who are no longer certified (CE option for applying for reinstatement within 2 years of termination date, Exam option for applying past 2 years). **See reinstatement policy.

Can I carry over any of my CE hours?

Yes. CIMA and CPWA certificants can carry-over up to 10 CE hours to the next renewal period if they were earned within the last six months of the current period. Ethics CE does carry over

Do I have to earn 80 hours of CE if I hold both designations I carry over any of my CE hours?

No, the CE topics and hours that are accepted apply towards both certifications

Can I have an extension to get my CE hours?

  • No. Unfortunately extensions are not available.
  • Not Licensed: Certificants who No have not met the three renewal requirements will receive an email stating they are no longer licensed on the next business day after certification renewal requirements are due. They then have an additional week to meet all requirements before they get an official Relinquishment letter.
  • Relinquishment: Relinquishment letter, reinstatement policy and reinstatement application is mailed via certified mail one week after the Not Licensed email is received.

Fees: Certification renewal fee paid every two years

  • Alignment: provides the option to pay for 2 years of certification plus 2 years of membership, renewal date will be two years from certification date. (fees vary, but usually $320 + $320 + $275 = $915
  • 1 year membership ($345) + 2 years certification ($275) = $620
  • Certification only ($275 for a member) or ($895 for a nonmember)

When will I receive a renewal reminder?

  • Auto Email is sent at 1 year, 180 days, 90, 60, 30, 15, 7 prior to renewal date
  • 90 day letter is mailed to primary address on record
  • Will receive phone calls and personalized email when it get closer to their renewal date

I can’t meet my requirements because I am having medical issues, what should I do?

We offer a Leave of Absence for certificants in this situation. They have to send an email (30 days before renewal date) requesting an LOA to recertification@i-w.org and it must be approved. Reasons one usually applies: personal illness, family emergency, pregnancy difficulties, taking care of sick family member etc. Unemployment, job change or being busy doesn’t qualify for an LOA.

I’m retiring, is there a retirement status?

No, there is not a retirement status. Certificants can remain certified if they meet all 3 renewal requirements. Certificants who are retiring may submit a request to voluntarily drop their certification. Voluntary Drop status does result in the individual no longer being certified, and they would have to go through reinstatement should they wish to earn the certification back. For this, they are not certified and cannot use the marks. Voluntary Drop requests must be sent to recertification@i-w.org.

I need to verify my certification, can I receive something in writing that confirms I hold certification and it is in good standing?

Yes. We have an email titled Letter of Good standing that will confirm an individual holds certification and it is in good standing.

Can I pay the certification renewal fee over the phone?

No. We do not accept payments over the phone. Certification renewal payments may be paid online under the My Renewal Requirements area of the Dashboard, or a Certification Renewal Invoice can be sent to the certificant to complete with payment information. The Certification Renewal Invoice can be downloaded from the My Renewal Requirements area of the Dashboard or downloaded from NetForum to be emailed to the certificant.

How can I submit my CE?

You may report CE online through the Dashboard. After logging into your Dashboard, click on Report CE to begin the reporting process.

Can I see all the courses that have been posted to my CE record?

Yes. Under the My Renewal Requirements area of the Dashboard there is a CE Summary button that will provide you with a summary of CE courses/programs that have been reported to your current renewal period.

Can I get a CE Summary for a past renewal period?

Yes. Once you click on the CE Summary Button under My Renewal Requirements there will be a drop down at the top of the page that will allow you to select a past renewal period.

How can I obtain a receipt for a payment I made?

You may print off a receipt from the My Transactions area of your Dashboard. There is a My Transactions link on the left side of your Dashboard.

I’m planning to attend a conference next week that is not preapproved, can you tell me if it will be accepted for CE?

Unfortunately we are unable to verify CE over the phone AND are unable to review events before they occur.

A third party calls in to verify certification for employment, what I can tell them?

  • You may verify if a CIMA or CPWA are certified by looking them up in NetForum. You can only say if they are currently certified, if they are listed as Not Certified-Cease and Desist then you can say that you are unable to locate them in the database and the certificant can all us directly.
  • Find An Advisor on the website is another resource you can provide to the caller. Go to Investors at the top header > Find an Exceptional Advisor > Then select FIMA or CPWA or RMA > Use Search to locate certificant.

Does this impact me as a CPWA or RMA certificant?

Yes, all Institute certifications are governed by the same continuing education requirements.

What’s driving these discussions around tax and regulations?

Per the latest Job Analysis study conducted in 2018, the Institute, in conjunction with its CIMA Certification Commission, announced several enhancements to the knowledge competencies and requirements, which included dedicated CE requirements in the areas of local tax and/or regulations content. This change also applies to wealth and retirement management so it will be applicable to all Institute certifications.

Is there someone I can talk to about my certification?

Absolutely. Feel free to contact the Certification Department at certification@i-w.org or call us at 303.770.3377 option 2 with any questions.

How much is the fee to report independent, third party CE (Self-Reported CE)?

Individuals who complete in-person or online continuing education from a third party that is not a CE Sponsor or the Institute will pay a US $5/per credit hour fee to add the hours to their CE record. The hours will be applied to the 40-hour CE requirement immediately upon entry.

Do I have to include documentation when I report independent, third party CE (Self-Reported CE)?

No. You should retain all documentation in the event you are audited, but you will not upload, email or mail supporting documentation when you report Self-Reported CE through your online Dashboard.

Can I still take courses outside of the Institute?

Yes. You can complete in-person or online continuing education hours from a CE Sponsor or independent third party.

Is there a fee to use the online tool to report programs completed through a CE Sponsor?

No. Programs completed through a registered CE Sponsor (Sponsored CE) can be reported through your online Dashboard using the assigned program/course ID specific to that program. CE credit is applied to your certification record immediately upon completion, and no fee is applied.

How is Premier CE completed through Investments & Wealth Institute added to my record?

Both live and online programs completed through the Institute will be reported on your behalf approximately 10 business days after the conclusion of a live event, and two business days after completion of an online program.

CE Audit



What is the process if I am selected for audit of my CE hours?

Audited individuals will have 30-days to provide documentation that supports their completed hours for review and approval. Certificants need only verify Sponsored CE and Self-Reported CE. Premier CE offered by Investments & Wealth Institute will not be audited.

Can I be audited prior to when my certification expires?

No. Individuals will only be audited after completing their renewal, and are randomly selected.

What is the proper documentation to substantiate program completion?

Individuals must provide documentation that supports the "3 C's": 1) Content, 2) Credit hours or program length and 3) Course completion for a program submitted for CE credit.

If I renew my certification on December 31, 2020, when is the earliest date that I could be audited?

The earliest date that you could be audited would be December 31, 2022.

Will I be notified if I passed or failed the audit?

Yes. You will receive notifications from the Institute regarding the steps you need to take along with your status throughout the entire process.

What if I fail to provide supplemental materials?

Audited individuals who do not/cannot provide acceptable documentation to satisfy the audit and subsequently do not have enough CE hours to meet their continuing education requirements may lose the right to hold the certification and will need to reinstate it.

How will I be notified that my account is under audit?

At the time that your account is selected for audit, you will receive an email communication sent to the primary email address the Institute has on file.

How long do I have to comply with the audit?

Audited individuals will have 30 days from the date of their audit notification email to submit supporting documentation.

What type of documentation do I need to submit?

You must submit documentation supporting program completion, content and clock time:

  • Proof of Completion: Acceptable documentation from the CE provider includes (1) a certificate of completion with your name, date of completion and program name; (2) a confirmation or email from a conference or event provider verifying your attendance; (3) a sign-in sheet; (4) a final attendee list completed after the conclusion of the event; (5) or a CFP Transcript showing completion of the event. Please note: For conferences, only overall completion is needed, completion documentation for individual sessions is not necessary.
  • Proof of Content: Acceptable documentation supporting proof of content includes clear information about the topics covered, showing that they are in line with our list of Accepted CE Topics. (1) For courses, provide documentation with course title. (2) For conferences provide a final agenda with the sessions you attended marked on the agenda. (3) For course or session titles that are vague, provide detailed content descriptions from the CE provider.
  • Proof of Clock time: Acceptable proof of clock time is documentation from the CE provider that each event lasted a minimum of 50 minutes. CE is awarded based on a minimum 50 minute hour (every 50 minute = 1 CE hour). *Conference sessions that are under 50 minutes in length will be accepted as long as the combined total of conference hours attended are greater than 50 minutes.

Is all of my CE under audit? Which CE course do I need to submit documentation for?

The email communication that you receive at the time the audit is initiated will include a list of the CE under audit that documentation must be submitted for. CE not listed in this communication is not under audit. There is no need to submit documentation for CE not listed in the communication.

If the CE list on the original audit communication is blank, you did not have any reported CE that is eligible for audit. (Only Sponsored CE and Self-Reported CE is eligible for audit). You will receive a follow-up communication verifying that your audit has been closed.

How do I submit my documentation?

All documentation can be submitted by email to recertification@i-w.org or fax 303-770-1812.

What happens when my documentation is approved?

When acceptable documentation is received and approved, you will receive notification that your audit has been successfully completed. The audit will be officially closed and your status will remain Certified in good standing.

What happens if the documentation is not received or documentation submitted is not approved?

If documentation is received but is not in line with the Institute's CE standards, you will be asked to either submit additional documentation or additional completed CE for which you are able to provide appropriate documentation.

In the event that no appropriate documentation is received by the deadline, your certification would be relinquished and your status would be changed to Not Certified. You would no longer be permitted to use the marks. At this point, you would need to go through Reinstatement (see policy here) in order to become certified and be able to use the marks. (Please note that there is no reinstatement option for the loss of the CIMC certification.)

For additional questions regarding the CE audit process, please contact the Certification Department at 303-770-3377 or email recertification@i-w.org.

CE Reporting Changes



What is changing to the self-reporting process?

The process for self-reporting CE will be streamlined using a new CE reporting feature. Using this tool, you will be asked to list program details such as program title, provider, date attended, credit hours and attest to completion of the program delivered through an independent third party, that is not the Institute or a registered CE Sponsor. A fee to report this CE online is required, and the CE credit is applied to your certification record immediately upon entry.

How much is the fee to report independent, third party CE (Self-Reported CE)?

Individuals who complete in-person or online continuing education from a third party that is not a CE Sponsor or the Institute will pay a US $5/per credit hour fee to add the hours to their CE record. The hours will be applied to the 40-hour CE requirement immediately upon entry.

Do I have to include documentation when I report independent, third party CE (Self-Reported CE)?

No. You should retain all documentation in the event you are audited, but you will not upload, email or mail supporting documentation when you report Self-Reported CE through your online Dashboard. Investments & Wealth Institute will not retain any documentation sent prior to the audit.

Can I still take courses outside of the Institute?

Yes. You can complete in-person or online continuing education hours from a CE Sponsor or independent third party.

Is there a fee to use the online tool to report programs completed through a CE Sponsor?

No. Programs completed through a registered CE Sponsor (Sponsored CE) can be reported through your online Dashboard using the assigned program/course ID specific to that program. CE credit is applied to your certification record immediately upon completion, and no fee is applied.

How is Premier CE completed through Investments & Wealth Institute added to my record?

Both live and online programs completed through the Institute will be reported on your behalf approximately 10 business days after the conclusion of a live event, and two business days after completion of an online program.

What is the process if I am selected for audit of my CE hours?

Audited individuals will have 30-days from date of audit to provide documentation that supports their completed hours for review and approval. Certificants need only verify Sponsored CE and Self-Reported CE. Premier CE offered by Investments & Wealth Institute will not be audited.

Can I be audited prior to when my certification expires?

No. Individuals will only be audited after completing their renewal and are randomly selected.