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Testimonials & Certification Comparison Chart

The CIMA certification is the standard for financial professionals who work in investment management. Hear what your peers have to say about how the CIMA certification has impacted their careers.


“The CIMA program provides the kind of sophisticated investment and wealth knowledge and tools I need to stay relevant and competitive in today’s marketplace.”

— Noel Pacarro-Brown, CIMA®, CPWA®



“If you are in the business of being an investment management advisor, you should invest in your business and invest in yourself. Earning CIMA certification is one of the best investments you can make.”

— James A. Pupillo, CIMA®, CIMC®, C(k)P™, TFMC™


“The CIMA certification is a valuable next step for CFP advisors who want to grow the knowledge base and skill set they need to build and maintain relationships with high-net-worth and other sophisticated investors.”

— Kevin Sanchez, CFP®, CIMA®, CPWA®

“Earlier in my career, the CIMA certification gave me the confidence to be at the table with CFA® charterholders and institutional portfolio managers. It helped me understand what they were talking about and enabled me to challenge or defend their ideas with my own. By adding breadth and depth to my investment knowledge, the program has allowed me to cover the gamut of industry topics as a coach. The CIMA certification tells advisors that I also understand the investment side of the business and that I can help them construct model portfolios through disciplined investing. Earning the CIMA certification has enhanced my competence, confidence, and credibility.”

— Kelly Walsh, CIMA®

Certification Comparison Chart

The CIMA and CPWA certifications are must-have credentials for investment and wealth advisors and consultants of all experience levels. While other certifications offer training that’s relevant to the work of financial advisors, investment consultants, and wealth managers, only CIMA and CPWA professionals are accredited to provide the most useful combination of subject-matter focus and hands-on application.
Here’s how the CIMA and CPWA certifications stack up against other well-respected industry credentials.

Sponsoring organization CFP Board of Standards Investments & Wealth Institute Investments & Wealth Institute CFA Institute
Ideal for Financial planners Investment advisors, managers, and consultants Financial planners and advisors who work with high-net-worth clients Portfolio managers and securities analysts
Curriculum focus Financial planning: insurance, investment, tax, and estate planning Discretionary investment management: investment policy and plan design, portfolio construction, investment fundamentals and advanced theory, behavioral finance Advanced wealth management:  Planning strategies for high- net-worth individuals, asset protection, tax and estate planning, legacy planning Investment expertise across all asset classes, economics, accounting, corporate finance, and portfolio management
Typical time commitment 18 months 9 months 7 months 3 years
Minimum work experience requirement 3 years
3 years
5 years
4 years (investment)
Exams required 1 1 1 3
Education requirement with top business schools No Yes Yes No
Adherence to code of standards/ethics Yes Yes Yes Yes
Renewal period 1 year 2 years 2 years 1 year
Continuing Competency Requirement Required Required Required Optional