Certified Investment Management Analyst®
The peak international, technical portfolio construction certification program
Are you involved in any aspect of constructing multi-manager, multi-asset portfolios? If so, Certified Investment Management Analyst® - CIMA® - certification offers an unrivalled opportunity to formally equip yourself with the knowledge, skill and expertise to build better quality investment portfolios, and be recognised for it.
CIMA certification is the peak, international technical portfolio construction certification program designed for investment management analysts - that is, those involved in any aspect of constructing multi-manager, multi-asset portfolios, whether practitioner or advocate. There are already more than 8,500 CIMA certificants globally.
Stand For MoreTM - more knowledge, skill and expertise - with CIMA certification.
Dean, Portfolio Construction Forum
P.S. Enrolment for the 2024 program will open in November 2023 and close 28 February 2024 (if not filled prior). Meanwhile, Contact Us for more information and to be notified when enrolment opens.
- Who should undertake CIMA certification?
- A quick introduction
- Recommended prior learning and time commitment
- The curriculum
- The process and timetable
- The costs
- Contact us for more information
Who should undertake CIMA certification?
CIMA certification is ideally suited to investment management analysts - that is, those involved in any aspect of constructing multi-manager, multi-asset portfolios, whether practitioner or advocate. This includes:
Practitioner investment management analysts:
- investment advisers, researchers/analysts and portfolio managers from private wealth management companies;
- fund analysts and asset consultants from fund research and fund investment consulting firms;
- fund researchers/analysts and portfolio managers from multi-manager funds management, superannuation, and investment platform companies
Advocate investment management analysts:
- funds management professionals who work with practitioner investment management analysts.
CFA vs CIMA certification?
Both CFA and CIMA are highly respected credentials, with complementary history, focus and distinctives. Not surprisingly, there are many “dual citizens”.
CIMA certification is especially suited to those involved in designing, building and managing multi-manager, multi-asset portfolios of managed funds. Although it is a global certification, those who complete the program via the Forum do so with a distinct Asia Pacific academic perspective, and specialist education support through the process.
The Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) designation has more focus on the analysis of individual securities and the building of portfolios of securities (including as managed funds). It is ideally suited to those who wish to further a career in financial analysis and investment management.
Because CIMA certification has a very specific focus, it has around one third of the total volume of learning of the CFA program, hence most candidates can complete their CIMA certification within 12 months, compared to three years for the CFA designation.
Association of Professional Fund Investors endorses CIMA certification
Formed in 2011, APFI advances the interests of investors by promoting professional standards and integrity in fund investing. CIMA certification is one of only six global accreditations approved by the APFI. APFI has previously released a white paper evaluating international accreditations available to industry professionals. It noted that while the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation is by far the most widely-held and most well-known accreditation in the financial services industry, the APFI believes that the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) accreditation is a better fit for professional fund selectors and recommended the CIMA certification as the most relevant and practical for fund allocators.
"Upon objective analysis of the above findings, the APFI recommends the CIMA® accreditation path as the single most sensible choice for most professional fund selectors. The CIMA® sets itself apart from its peers with its modern approach to testing and scheduling that shows a respect for the working professional that is emblematic of its founding by working fund selectors, like APFI members. The requirement for continuing education (the first among this peer group to establish such a requirement) also sets itself apart and befits the realities of a constantly evolving profession. The breadth and depth of the curriculum are excellent, but not excessive, striking the right balance of knowledge acquisition and professional practicality.”
A quick introduction
Today more than ever, quality investment portfolio construction requires a commitment to best practice continuing education and certification, because the investment world is ever changing and – entirely reasonably – individual investors are expecting and relying on superior professional standards to be met by those who design, build and manage their investment portfolios, to help them achieve their life goals and financial wellbeing.
Certification is the formal process of recognising an individual’s successful demonstration of superior knowledge and competence across a validated, best-practice body of knowledge and curriculum. CIMA candidates must meet best-practice ethical standards, have a minimum three years of relevant experience, pass two formal exams, and commit to a code of professional responsibility in order to reach certification - and then, they must recertify every two years by showing that they have abided by a code of professional responsibility and completed 40 hours of approved continuing education.
That’s why CIMA certficants Stand For MoreTM - more knowledge, more skill, more expertise - when it comes to designing, building and managing multi-manager, multi-asset portfolios.
Video: Learn more about the CIMA Certification process for Asia Pacific residents
Who is involved?
Portfolio Construction Forum - In the Asia Pacific region, CIMA certification and accredited continuing education is managed and delivered by Portfolio Construction Forum, the specialist, independent, investment continuing education, accreditation and certification service. The Forum’s specialist academic research unit, the Investment Management Research Program curates the Investment Management Analyst Certificate (IMAC) course, the core educational component of the CIMA certification program for the region.
Investments & Wealth Institute - The CIMA certification mark is owned by the Investments and Wealth InstituteTM, the Denver, USA-based international professional association, advanced education provider, and certification board for financial advisers, investment consultants, and wealth managers.
CIMA Society of Australia - CIMA certificants in the Asia Pacific region are encouraged to be members of the CIMA Society of Australia, an affiliate of the Institute, and a professional community for Certified Investment Management Analysts. Portfolio Construction Forum is CIMA Society’s strategic partner in the management and delivery of CIMA certification and accredited continuing education services.
Forum CIMA Bursary Partners - The significant value of advanced portfolio construction knowledge, skills and expertise for practitioners - resulting in better quality investment portfolios - is recognised by our Forum CIMA Bursary Partners, whose support helps ensures that CIMA certification is within financial reach of all practitioners by reducing the enrolment fee by 50%.
Recommended prior learning and time commitment
Recommended prior learning
Financial mathematics and statistics are a significant component of the CIMA curriculum. It is difficult to complete the program successfully unless you have previously studied tertiary level statistics, financial maths, pure maths, or maths as part of a technical degree (e.g. engineering, architecture, finance, econometrics, etc). It’s ok if you’re very rusty - candidates are provided with specific financial mathematics and statistics study resources - so as long as you study those resources, it should come back to you (much like a language!).
However, if you have no or just a few maths/stats papers as part of a broader tertiary degree, or you’ve never studied statistics or maths at tertiary level, we will send you a short electronic textbook to review, to ensure you’re comfortable that you’ll be fine with the maths.
Recommended time commitment
The minimum period possible to complete your CIMA certification is nine months - and it is very difficult to successfully complete the program without devoting at least 12 hours a week over that period. The timetable is below.
The CIMA curriculum covers five core topics, across 22 areas:
Statistics & Methods; Applied Finance, Economics; Global Capital Markets
Investment Vehicles; Equity Investments; Fixed Income Investments; Alternative Investments; Options/Futures; Real Assets
Portfolio Theory and Behavioural Finance
Portfolio Theories & Models; Behavioural Finance Theory; Investment Philosophies and Styles; Tools & Strategies
Risk and Return
Attributes of Risk; Risk Measurements; Performance Measurement and Attribution
Portfolio Construction and Consulting Process
Ethics; Client Discovery; Investment Policy; Portfolio Construction; Manager Search and Selection; Portfolio Review and Revisions
The process and timetable
There are five steps to CIMA certification:
- Certification Exam
In the Asia Pacific region, CIMA certification and accredited continuing education is managed and delivered by Portfolio Construction Forum, and candidates enrol through Portfolio Construction Forum. In order to enrol, you must be a member of Portfolio Construction Forum (membership is complimentary and immediate on registering). There is one intake each year, closing late February.
- Fee: An Enrolment Fee of A$5,995+GST is payable to the Forum on your enrolment being accepted. Practitioners (as defined above) receive a 50% CIMA Bursary, thanks to the support of our Forum CIMA Bursary Partners, which reduces the Enrolment Fee to A$2,995+GST.
The Enrolment Fee covers:
- Before the IMAC - The Forum provides you with instructions on when and how to apply to the Institute;
- The IMAC - All candidates must complete a registered education program. The Forum provides the synchronous Investment Management Analyst Certificate (IMAC) course, designed for this region. The IMAC includes a Study Plan, electronic textbooks, on-demand lectures and associated readings, and live stream (Zoom) IMAC tutorials;
- After you pass the IMAC Exam - The Forum provides you with guidance on how to prepare for the Certification Exam, including a Study Plan setting out recommended preparation steps and two live stream (Zoom) tutorials during your Certification Exam window (set by the Institute after we notify them you have passed the IMAC). The Forum also organises your complimentary CIMA Society of Australia associate membership for the then current financial year;
- After you pass the Certification Exam - on notification from you that you have passed the Certification Exam, the Forum provides you with guidance on the final steps to complete certification; and,
- After certification - The Forum provides you with practical advice on how to profile your CIMA certification, and organises your complimentary CIMA Society of Australia membership for the then current financial year.
Once enrolled successfully with the Forum, the Forum will notify the Investments & Wealth Institute (owner of the CIMA mark) that you wish to apply for its approval to undertake the CIMA certification program. The Institute will undertake a background check, and require that you disclose any potential or real violations of the Institute’s Code of Professional Responsibility.
- Fee: An Application Fee (currently US$600) is payable to the Institute. The Application Fee covers a background check and your first attempt at the global Certification Exam (step 4).
If your application is not accepted, both the Enrolment Fee you’ve paid to the Forum and the Application Fee you’ve paid to the Institute will be refunded in full.
3. Pass the IMAC
All candidates globally must successfully pass an executive education program through a Registered Education Provider. In Asia-Pacific, this is the Investment Management Analyst Certificate (IMAC) course. The IMAC has been at the core of the CIMA certification program since it was launched by Professor Ron Bird in Australia in 2001.
Delivered by Portfolio Construction Forum, the IMAC is curated by the Forum’s specialist academic research unit, the Investment Management Research Program, and features a selected faculty of academics from leading Australian university business schools, independent consultants and experienced practitioners.
At the time you enrol to complete the CIMA program with the Forum, you are committing to the specific IMAC noted on the Enrolment Form. Your IMAC booking is non-refundable.
The IMAC takes place over 26 weeks. It consists of synchronous on-demand lectures plus associated readings, and live stream (Zoom) tutorials, culminating in a four-hour exam. All aspects of the IMAC program are compulsory.
Every candidate who achieves 50% or more in the IMAC Exam receives Certificate of Attainment. The pass mark for the IMAC Exam is 70%. You must pass in order to be eligable to sit the global Certification Exam.
If you don’t pass the IMAC Exam, the Forum will provide feedback on areas of weakness and recommended further study, and the opportunity to resit the IMAC Exam. There is no resit fee.
4. Complete the Certification Exam
The Certification Exam is a supervised, online, five-hour Certification Exam consisting of 125 multiple-choice questions. Your exam result - “pass” or “fail” - is provided on-screen immediately you finish the exam.
Candidates must sit the Certificate Exam within an Institute-determined 90-day window (this attempt is included in the application fee) or a Rescheduling Fee (US$225) is payable to the Institute.
The Forum will advise the Institute when you have successfully completed the IMAC. The Institute will then contact you about booking to sit the Certification Exam through one of its two independent test administrators, Pearson Vue (face-to-face in their facilities) or Proctor U (online at your home or work office). Once you choose how you want to sit the exam, the Institute will advise the relevant firm which will then contact you with instructions on how to book your exam date.
The Forum provides you with guidance on how to prepare for the Certification Exam, including a Study Plan setting out recommended preparation steps and two live, online (Zoom) tutorials during your Certification Exam window (set by the Institute after we notify them you have passed the IMAC).
If you don’t pass the Certification Exam, the Institute will email you a report showing topics that merit additional study, and the process for resitting the exam. You must wait 30 days before resitting the exam, and a Resit Fee (US$225) is payable to the Institute.
Once you pass the Certification Exam, the Institute will email you instructions to complete the certification process:
- document at least three years of relevant experience in financial services and pass another background check;
- complete the Institute’s licensing agreement and agree to adhere to the Code of Professional Responsibility and Rules and Guidelines for the Use of the Marks; and,
- pay the Institute an Initial Certification Fee (US$395).
Once complete, the Institute will email you to confirm your CIMA certification.
CIMA program timetable
In the Asia Pacific region, CIMA certification and accredited continuing education is managed and delivered by Portfolio Construction Forum, and candidates enrol through Portfolio Construction Forum.
There is one intake each year closing late February. The minimum possible time to complete the CIMA certification program is nine months including:
- The IMAC - from early March to end August
- The IMAC Exam - early September
- Certification Exam prep - October to December
- Certifiation Exam - December/January
- Certification - January
Certificants must recertify every two years. There are three requirements.
Complete and report a minimum of 40 hours of accepted continuing education (CE), including two ethics hours and one tax/regulation hour over the two-year recertification period. To help CIMA certificants meet this requirement, the Forum’s live programs are accredited for “approved” CIMA CE hours which the Forum then reports to the Institute on your behalf. In addition, the Forum CIMA CE Library - which is complimentary for CIMA Society of Australia members - contains learning activities that provide at least 20 approved CIMA CE hours each year, so certificants can meet the entire 40 hour requirement online on-demand, if they wish. Any CE you complete via the Forum CIMA CE Library is also reported by the Forum to the Institute on your behalf. Plus, you can track any CE that the Forum has reported to the Institute for you via your Forum MyCE record.
Complete the compliance requirements - confirm continued adherence to the Code of Professional Responsibility, and Rules and Guidelines for Use of the Marks, as well as disclosing any regulatory actions or complaints.
Retain membership of CIMA Socieyt of Australia or pay the CIMA Certification Renewal Fee (US$395) - this fee is due to the Institute every two years, however it is prepaid by CIMA Society of Australia for its CIMA certificant members as long as their membership remains current for the full two-year recertification period. If you are not a CIMA Society of Australia member, you must pay the Institute at CIMA certification renewal fee of US$895 every two years plus US$200 to self report the required 40 CE hours.
Initial Certification - costs
Financial calculator: All candidates must use an Institute-approved financial calculator throughout the program.
Enrolment fee: A$5,995+GST, payable to the Forum at commencement. Practitioners (as defined above) receive a 50% CIMA Bursary, thanks to the support of our Forum CIMA Bursary Partners, which reduces the the Enrolment Fee to A$2,995+GST. This fee may be tax deductible.
Application Fee: Currently US$600, payable to the Institute after your enrolment is accepted by the Forum.
Initial Certification Fee: Currently US$395, payable to the Institute after passing the Certification Exam.
Exam rescheduling/resit fee: If you fail the Certification Exam or don’t sit it within the Institute’s prescribed 90-day window, there is a US$225 fee payable to the Institute to resit/reschedule it.
Certification renewal cost
CIMA Society of Australia members: US$395 - this fee is due to the Institute every two years, however it is prepaid by CIMA Society of Australia for its CIMA certificant members as long as their membership remains current for the full two-year recertification period.
Non-CIMA Society of Australia members: US$895, payable to the Insttitue every two years plus US$200 to self report the required 40 CE hours.