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Client Service Drives Canadian Investment Advisors' Interest in Continuing Education

Issue date: Tuesday, August 15, 2017

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Client Service Drives Canadian Investment Advisors’ Interest in Continuing Education

Canadian advisors strongly agree on the value of voluntary, professional certifications

The Investment Management Consultants Association® (IMCA) released research findings today exploring the role continuing professional education and certification play in Canada’s investment and wealth management industry. The findings are from IMCA Canada’s recent report, IMCA and Strategic Growth: Continuing Education and Professional Development for Canadian Advisors.

Research highlight: Education highly valued
The study, fielded by CoreData Research, an independent research firm, surveyed 347 Canadian advisors between January–April 2017 and found that:

  • 100 percent of Canadian advisors believe continuing education and professional development (CEPD) courses are important in optimizing successful outcomes for their clients, with 93 percent agreeing that CEPD courses are important to very important.
  • Almost half (46 percent) of advisors polled, cited improved client service as the main driver of their process when choosing which CEPD programs to pursue, with a strong desire to seek education that will demonstrate advanced knowledge to help exceed client expectations.
  • 95 percent of advisors considered professional certifications–and the education required to obtain them–highly valuable in terms of enhancing their knowledge and improving client outcomes.
“Advisors want to better serve their clients and in doing so, recognize that the latest in investments and wealth education is necessary not only to do that, but to also advance their practices and careers,” said Sean Walters, CAE, executive director and chief executive officer, IMCA. “We asked similar questions of clients in a 2015 client study. Clients and advisors agree that it’s important or critical to hold voluntary certifications in addition to required licenses and registrations.”

Education with a purpose:  Quality over quantity and importance of professional certifications
With client service at the heart of advisors’ pursuit of continuing education, many Canadian advisors are taking a quality over quantity approach, looking for courses, programs and events that expand beyond well-known industry issues and concepts to help them maintain cutting-edge knowledge of the latest investment trends and techniques.

Educational conferences are an important component of CEPD for Canadian advisors—nearly three-quarters (73 percent) said they are important to very important. However, more than half (57 percent) had the ability to only attend one or two conferences per year—indicating that the content of events is critical for advisors when making their educational choices.

But Canadian advisors also consider professional certifications—and the education required to obtain them—far more valuable in terms of enhancing their knowledge and improving client outcomes. In fact, nearly all (95 percent) of the advisors surveyed said these certifications are very important or important, while more than 40 percent expressed interest in professional certification through IMCA’s own Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) certification program, an industry-acclaimed designation that provides advisors with the qualifications needed to attain competency as an advanced investment advisor for high-net-worth and institutional clients.

“Professional development is necessary to keep the investment and wealth management industry at the forefront of optimizing successful client outcomes,” said Asif Nasim, Council member, IMCA Canada. “Canadian advisors understand that they cannot rest on their laurels to keep their businesses moving ahead and their clients happy. They must constantly refresh their knowledge, understand the latest tools and concepts available, and hold themselves to an ever-higher ethical standard in order to stand out from their competitors and improve client returns.”

Additional findings
  • Lack of fresh content hampers demand for CEPD. When asked about the factors that deter them from pursuing continuing education, 29 percent of Canadian advisors pointed to stale, rehashed material as the biggest deficiency. Meanwhile, 20 percent said courses are designed to “check a box” versus provide true education, and 19 percent worried about material being too product-oriented.
  • Advisors place high value on professional associations. Fifty-seven percent of advisors stated membership in a professional society is important to very important. Fifty-six percent said that they would prefer to join a local professional organization versus a global association, underscoring the need for education and networking opportunities that speak to region-specific issues and needs – however, 40 percent said they were willing to travel outside of Canada for the right CEPD opportunities.
  • Firms and professional associations are preferred sources for CEPD. Slightly more than one-third of advisors placed the most value on their firms and/or employers as CEPD education providers; however, professional associations are similarly valued, with 30 percent of advisors citing them as their top provider.
  • Educational opportunities outside of the country appeal to Canadian advisors. Forty-four percent of advisors said they were willing to travel to the United States for the right CEPD opportunities, and this proportion was reflected across AUM brackets.

Download the IMCA and Strategic Growth: Continuing Education and Professional Development for Canadian Advisors executive summary for more information. For detailed information about IMCA and its comprehensive investment and wealth continuing education opportunities (including the prestigious CIMA® and CPWA® professional certifications), please visit www.imca.org or contact Asif Nasim in Canada at anasim@imca.org or (416) 455-6569, or Greta Gloven in the U.S., director of communications, at ggloven@imca.org or 303-850-3079. 

About IMCA

Established in 1985, IMCA is a nonprofit professional association and credentialing organization serving individual members and certificants in 37 countries around the world. IMCA members collectively manage more than $3 trillion, providing investment consulting and wealth management services to individual and institutional clients. Since 1988, IMCA has offered the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®), which meets international accreditation standards (ANSI/ISO 17024) for personnel certification. The CIMA certification consistently distinguishes those who meet a global standard of competency and skills in investment management from those who do not. IMCA’s Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) certification is suited for wealth management professionals working with high-net-worth clients. In 2016, IMCA’s educational programs hosted more than 6,000 professionals.

IMCA® and Investment Management Consultants Association® are registered trademarks of Investment Management Consultants Association Inc. CIMA®, Certified Investment Management Analyst®, CIMC®, CPWA®, and Certified Private Wealth Advisor® are registered certification marks of Investment Management Consultants Association Inc. Investment Management Consultants Association Inc. does not discriminate in educational opportunities or any other characteristic protected by law.

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