General FAQs for CIMA Certification Program Revisions

The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document has been prepared to answer general questions about revisions to the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) Certification Program.

Q: How does the Investments & Wealth Institute keep CIMA, CPWA and its other educational offerings relevant?
The Investments and Wealth Competency Matrix is a framework designed to ensure that the organization’s advanced education remains on the forefront of an evolving profession.

The Matrix articulates: (1) investment knowledge competencies for professionals who manage money for individual and/or institutional clients, (2) wealth management knowledge competencies for advisors who work with clients with a net-worth of $5M and up, (3) General business, practice and client service knowledge for teams and independent practices, and (4) an ethics framework for investment and wealth professionals.

The body of knowledge is updated regularly by subject matter experts and through professional job analysis studies.

Q: What is a Job Analysis study?
A job analysis defines a profession, occupation, or job in terms of the activities (or tasks) performed and the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform those activities accurately and effectively.

The job analysis process utilizes subject matter expert group discussion, combined with a large-scale survey of financial advisors. The survey will ask participants to rate a series of knowledge and skill statements using a variety of metrics like importance, time spent performing a task, level of ability required for tasks, and relevance of  certain knowledge required to perform the job.

Once completed, the survey data will identify the critical elements for initial and ongoing CIMA certification requirements. The CIMA exam requirements will be updated and refreshed to reflect the latest knowledge and skills required to deliver competent, ethical financial advice.

The last CIMA job analysis was conducted in 2013. The last CPWA job analysis was conducted in 2012.

Q. Who completed the CIMA Job Analysis?
More than 2,000 industry professionals worldwide completed the study. Respondents include financial advisors, registered investment advisers (or Investment Adviser Reps), investment consultants, asset management professionals and investment analysts.

Q:  Will the standards required for CIMA certification change as a result of the job analysis?
A:  The standards required for CIMA Certification will not change. In order to be certified, candidates must meet the “Four E’s” required by the CIMA Certification Commission.
  • Experience — Candidates must complete three-years of experience in financial services prior to certification.
  • Ethics — Applicants are tested on the Institute’s Code of Professional Responsibility, must disclose any potential or real violations to the Institute’s Code of Professional Responsibility, and Disciplinary Rules and Procedures, and must successfully pass comprehensive background checks prior to certification.
  • Education — All candidates must complete an executive education component through an approved registered education provider program prior to certification.
  • Examination — All candidates must pass a rigorous examination requirement administered at a third-party testing center prior to certification.
Once the four E’s are met, candidates must also electronically sign a license agreement and pay an initial certification fee to become certified and able to use the CIMA marks.

Q: What changes will be made to the CIMA Core Body of Knowledge as a result of the CIMA Job Analysis Study?
A: The knowledge and skills which were enhanced, added, reduced or deleted can be summarized as follows:
  • The CIMA Core Body of Knowledge was consolidated and simplified into five knowledge domains, culminating in a revised, “Portfolio Construction and Consulting process,” which now includes application of ethics and fiduciary principles and guidelines.
  • Substantial emphasis was placed on passive investment vehicles and strategies, including a new section covering Investment Philosophies and Styles.
  • A new topic area was added, which outlines “responsible investing,” including ESG, impact investing, and socially-responsible investing.
  • The exam weightings for behavioral finance were again enhanced, as it was in 2013.
  • The investments section “real assets” was moved to a new content section.
  • Additional emphasis will also be required through the education requirements (initial and ongoing) in the fields of tax and regulatory frameworks for advisory and consulting engagements.
Q: How will the changes to the CIMA Core Body of Knowledge be reflected on the revised, comprehensive CIMA examination?
A: The revised body of knowledge will address 469 topics organized into 22 sections, and five knowledge domains:
Exam % Domains Sections
15% Fundamentals Statistics and Methods, Applied Finance and Economics, Global Capital Markets
20% Investments Vehicles, Equity, Fixed income, Alternative investments, Options/futures, Real assets
20% Portfolio Theory and Behavioral Finance Portfolio theories and models, Behavioral finance, Investment philosophies and styles, Tools and strategies
20% Risk and Return Attributes of risk, Risk measurements, Performance measurement and attribution
25% Portfolio Construction and Consulting Process Ethics, Client discovery, Investment policy, Portfolio construction, Manager search and selection, Portfolio review and revisions
Q: How will the CIMA certification process change?
A: After March 31, 2018, candidates will complete the CIMA certification process through a revised certification process outlined below:
  • Step 1:  Admission — Candidates must complete an application for candidacy online.
    • A background check will be performed to ensure candidate meets eligibility before incurring education expense.
    • The examination fee will be paid in advance, and a membership in the organization will be created (for non-members), and access to the CIMA Candidate Resource Center will be created.
  • Step 2:  Education – Candidates must successfully complete an executive education requirement through an approved registered education provider.
  • Step 3:  Examination – Candidates must successfully pass a 140-question, five-hour comprehensive Certification Examination administered at a Pearson VUE testing center.
  • Step 4:  Certification –The final step in the certification process is completed online by the candidate. This step includes a final background check, ensures that candidates have met all required experience requirements, and that candidates acknowledge and understand ongoing recertification requirements including ethics requirements and CIMA marks usage. Once this procedural step is completed, a two-year certification period commences.
Q: How will these changes affect those already certified?
A: Revisions to the CIMA Core Body of Knowledge and certification process will not affect those already certified. The revisions advance and protect the integrity of the CIMA Certification marks, enhancing their value to the public, regulators, and the industry.

Current CIMA certificants must still complete and report a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education credit, including two ethics hours, pay a certification renewal fee, and complete the compliance requirement in order to maintain their credential.  Commencing in 2019, additional emphasis will be required through ongoing education requirements of certified professionals in the fields of ethics, fiduciary, tax and regulatory frameworks for advisory and consulting engagements.

Q: When will these changes take place?
A: By June 1, 2018 the education partners will be teaching the revised content outline, and by August 1, 2018 candidates will take the revised, consolidated examination through our new global testing partner, Pearson.
Candidates who have applied prior to March 31 may complete all steps in the certification process under the existing requirements.

Starting June 1, 2018, all registered education providers will teach the revised body of knowledge.

After August 1, 2018, candidates must successfully complete a five hour, 140 multiple choice question comprehensive CIMA Certification Examination at an established testing center.
Commencing in 2019, additional emphasis will be required through ongoing education requirements of certified professionals in the fields of ethics, fiduciary, tax and regulatory frameworks for advisory and consulting engagements.
Q: Will the CIMA certification name, logo, or marks usage be changing?
A: The CIMA Certification name will not be changing.  There is a new CIMA logo and a revised Marks Use Guide.
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