The Institute, in partnership with Human Resources Research Organization™ (HumRRO), conducted a quantitative survey of 2,050 investment advisors and consultants in late 2017, and qualitative focus groups with subject matter experts to determine the advanced competencies professionals need to deliver the highest level of investment advice.

Study findings resulted in revisions to the CIMA Certification Program

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While the standards for CIMA certification – the Four E's:  Experience, Ethics, Education, and Examination – will not change based on the results of the comprehensive job analysis study, the CIMA Core Body of Knowledge (CBOK) and CIMA Certification Process will change to ensure that its education and testing requirements remain at the forefront of the evolving field of financial advising.  
  • The CIMA Core Body of Knowledge will address 469 topics organized into 22 sections and five knowledge domains including: Fundamentals, Investments, Portfolio Theory and Behavioral Finance, and Portfolio Construction and Consulting Process. Additional emphasis has been placed on passive investment vehicles and strategies, behavioral finance, and portfolio risk management. "Responsible investing" (including ESG) and real assets will become separate topic areas.
  • Starting June 1, 2018, the revised body of knowledge will be taught by registered program providers that deliver the CIMA executive education program: The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the Chicago Booth School of Business, Yale School of Management, and the Investment Management Research Program – Australia.
  • The current five-step certification process, will become a four-step process effective June 1, 2018. Rather than completing the examination requirement in two steps, the CIMA Certification Commission has combined the qualification and certification exams into a single comprehensive CIMA Certification Exam.
  • As of August 1, 2018, the revised, integrated CIMA Certification Examination will be administered at Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide.

Body of Knowledge Revisions

Based on the study’s findings, the CIMA Certification Commission subsequently revised, consolidated and simplified the CIMA Core of Body of Knowledge into five knowledge domains covering 22 knowledge sections that investment advisors and consultants with at least three years’ experience will be required to know. The following changes were made to the CIMA certification program:
  • A new section on real assets will be created.
  • Substantial additional emphasis has been made on passive investment vehicles and strategies, including a new section covering investment philosophies and styles.
  • A new topic area outlining responsible investing will include investment analysis and portfolio construction related to ESG factors, impact investing and socially responsible investing.
  • An expanded and consolidated application domain, “Portfolio Construction and Consulting Process,” which includes greater content focus on the application of ethics and fiduciary principles and guidelines.
  • Knowledge and skills related to behavioral finance will be enhanced substantially.
  • Knowledge and skills related to portfolio risk management will be enhanced substantially.
  • Additional emphasis on tax and regulatory education through the executive education program and ongoing continuing education will be implemented.

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