Frequently Asked Questions


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

 



Have questions? Browse the commonly asked questions below for help

About the RMA® CertificationEducation & Preparation | Maintaining Your Certification | CE Audit | CE Reporting

 

About the RMA® Certification


 

Ideal candidates for the RMA® Certification Program include wealth managers and specialists, financial planners, investment consultants and advisors, retirement specialists, family office professionals, trust professionals, tax and estate professionals.

 

 
  • Product-Neutral Learning: The program provides a unique mix of academic validation and practical application through a client-centered, “outcomes-based” approach, rather than what most retirement education programs teach which tilt towards investment planning or product solutions.
  • Practical Tools, Techniques and Methodologies: The Procedural Prudence Map™ is one of many practical tools that help advisors map a decision-making process that complies with fiduciary best practices for client recommendations. The result is a body of knowledge and skills that helps advisors to satisfy their clients’ retirement income needs while complying with the industry’s increasing regulations.
  • Flexible, Stackable Learning: The program is completed in three stages (or levels). Learners may elect to complete just 1) the online course and receive a certificate of completion, or advance through 2) the capstone course and 3) the final exam to receive the RMA certification.
  • Premier quality education and real-world application: The RMA program features a balanced lineup of expert practitioners and academics, with the focus on real-world application.

 

 

 

Financial services professionals with three years relevant experience or acceptable designations (CIMA)®, CPWA®, CFP®, CFA®, ChFC, RIPC) and adhering to the Institute Code of Professional Responsibility are eligible to register for the first level online course or the bundle of all three levels.

 

 

 

RMA® is considered a “post-CFP®, post-CIMA®, post-CPWA®" certification when it specifically comes to retirement-oriented planning. Each of these credentials addresses some elements of retirement planning, but usually in the context of other financial or wealth advice. The RMA® is retirement-income specific, with an emphasis on advising your clients through the realities of changing from an accumulation mindset to a decumulation mindset. Additionally, the RMA® builds on your previous certifications by providing academically backed, practical set of decision-making processes that can be used “off-the-shelf” in your practice today.

 

 


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Education and Preparatation


 

The Retirement Management Advisor®(RMA®) program is an advanced certificate program and pathway to certification that focuses on building custom retirement income plans to mitigate clients’ risks and to master the retirement planning advisory process, all within the increasing regulatory environment. RMA® education equips certificants with the knowledge needed to speak the language of retirement-focused clients and teaches how to build a plan that includes the option of a safety-first approach— something a pure accumulation mindset does not address.

 

 

  • Kick off call with the Investments & Wealth Institute
  • Check-in emails with helpful reminders and resources
  • Live Webcast check-in with Institute staff and content review with faculty advice on how to complete the course
  • Open office times with Institute staff for live Q&A with faculty and peer-to-peer discussion

 

 

Client Diagnostic Kit

  1. Client Planning Process—Client planning process, retirement phases, advisors' styles, “gamma," measures of fundedness
  2. The Household Balance Sheet—Household balance sheet, financial, social and human capital, start of life-cycle plan
  3. Household Cash Flows—Fixed and discretionary expenses, tax-bracket planning, retirement milestones, Medicare and Long-term care, Social Security, pensions, complete life-cycle plan

Retirement Allocation

  1. Assessing Retirement Risks—Retiree risk profiles, risk management techniques, floor allocation, probability-based and safety-first strategies

RMA® Toolbox

  1. Risk Management Allocations—Retirement allocations, withdrawal strategies, time segmentation, retirement policy statements
  2. Account Location/Product Selections—Product selection, account location, income annuities

Practice Management

  1. Presenting & Monitoring the Plan—Methods for planning, transparent and trustworthy advisory practice, aligning client situation with planning methodology
  2. Professional Guidelines—Investments & Wealth Institute’s Code of Professional Responsibility, marks usage, legal and regulatory compliance
  • Product-Neutral Learning: The program provides a unique mix of academic validation and practical application through a client-centered, “outcomes-based” approach, rather than what most retirement education programs teach which tilt towards investment planning or product solutions.
  • Practical Tools, Techniques and Methodologies: The Procedural Prudence Map is one of many practical tools that help advisors map a decision-making process that complies with fiduciary best practices for client recommendations. The result is a body of knowledge and skills that helps advisors to satisfy their clients’ retirement income needs while complying with the industry’s increasing regulations.
  • Flexible, Stackable Learning: The program is completed in three stages (or levels). Learners may elect to complete just 1) the online course and receive a certificate of completion, or advance through 2) the capstone course and 3) the final exam to receive the RMA® certification.
  • Premier quality education and real-world application: The RMA® program features a balanced lineup of expert practitioners and academics, with the focus on real-world application.

 

 

You’ll be contacted by email when you become an RMA® candidate, and invited to select a class, or if you’re already a candidate, you’ll be invited to attend a class.

 

 

No, students don’t have to select a class--- if the self-paced option works for you, it will still be available to you.

 

 

The ability to build custom retirement income plans to mitigate clients’ risks and to master the retirement planning advisory process.

 

 

Step 1, the online course, takes approximately nine weeks of self-study to complete. Step 2 is a two-day in-person experience. Step 3, the exam, is three hours, but we anticipate it may take a candidate approximately 10-12 hours of preparatory study.

 

 

There’s no penalty for falling behind--- you can always choose to pursue the self-paced option.

 

 

We’d allow it, but not provide a virtual summary call if the summary is conducted live.

 

 

We’re not sure yet whether we’ll offer in-person exams, but no. You can always choose an online-proctored exam.

 

 

Like other Institute certifications, the RMA® certification requires 40 credits every two years. Continuing education content that is approved for CIMA® and CPWA® is also approved for RMA®.

 

 

“In the process of preparing for and taking the RMA® exam, I realized how much I’ve learned about retirement planning that I never before understood. This approach is not just more comprehensive, it places a sharp focus on the risk-management techniques that both advisors and retirees really need to understand and implement. I believe that any practitioner who is concerned about succeeding in retirement planning would benefit enormously from the practical insights conveyed by the RMA® program."
~ David Macchia


“I can already tell how the RMA® coursework has changed the way I perceive my client’s risks exposures and how the “safety first” mantra of RMA® is permeating everything I do. I believe that as time passes and the retiree population grows further there will be an increasing desire to utilize income experts and retirement savvy planners. Additionally, I believe that the RMA® coursework puts me at an advantage when it comes to speaking to clients concisely about their retirement needs and puts me on the cutting edge of retirement portfolio construction.”
~Lucas Minton


“Up until now there hasn’t been any formal training available to teach advisors the important differences between planning for accumulation and planning for retirement income. The RMA® program is changing that. They developed a specialized curriculum one studies to become an RMA®, or Retirement Management Advisor®. The material is fabulous and offers a tremendous amount of insight into the difference between accumulating assets and ‘decumulating’ assets.”
~ Dana Anspach

 

 

It’s included in the cost of your RMA® candidacy, which is $2,495.

 

 

Included with RMA® candidacy is the online program, in-person attendance at RMA® Capstone or On-Demand, the exam, quarterly RMA® webcasts, as well as the benefits to all Investments & Wealth Institute members, including the RMA® blog content and Retirement Management Journal, as well as the Institute publications, the Journal of Investment Consulting, the Investments & Wealth Monitor and the discounts on our programs.

 

 

If you would like a more structured schedule to earn your RMA® certification, we have four class options to choose from in 2021. Simply select the schedule that best works for you and email rma@i-w.org for more information. The scheduled class options include the following: a kick-off call, check-in emails, live webcast check-in, open office times.

For more information on the application process, click here, or for information on class schedules, click here.

 


Maintaining Your Certification


 

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

 

 

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

 

 

  • 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.

 

 

  • 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)

 

 

  • 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

 


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.

 

 

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.

 


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

 


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.

 

 

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

 

 

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.

 


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.

 



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.

 


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

 

 

  • 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 CIMA® or CPWA® or RMA® > Use Search to locate certificant.

 


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

 

 

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.

 


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.

 


 

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.

 


 

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.

 


 

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

 


 

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.

 


 

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.

 


 

You will receive the all CE hours needed for a certification period for RMA®
You will receive 40 hours for CIMA® including ethics

 


 

Your Certificate should be received approximately 8 weeks after you have signed your license agreement

 

 

CE Audit


 

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.

 

 

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

 

 

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.

 


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

 

 

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

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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

 


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.

 

 

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


 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 


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

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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