Certified Investment Management Analyst®

The peak international, technical portfolio construction certification program

Are you involved in any aspect of constructing multi-asset, multi-manager portfolios? Are you seeking to formally equip yourself with the knowledge, skill and expertise to build better quality multi-asset, multi-manager investment portfolios? Certified Investment Management Analyst® - CIMA® - certification offers you an unrivalled opportunity to do so, and be recognised for it. In the Asia Pacific region, Portfolio Construction Forum manages and delivers CIMA certification and accredited continuing education services.

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-asset, multi-manager portfolios. There are already more than 8,700 CIMA certificants globally.

I invite you to Stand For MoreTM - more knowledge, skill and expertise - with CIMA certification. Enrol now!. Enrolment for the 2024 intake closes Sunday 07 April 2024.

Graham Rich
Dean, Portfolio Construction Forum

- Who should undertake CIMA certification?
- A quick introduction
- Recommended prior learning and time commitment
- The curriculum
- The process and timetable
- The costs
- Enrol now

Who should undertake CIMA certification?

Certification is the formal process of recognising that an individual has mastery of a validated best-practice body of knowledge, and meets ongoing ethical and accredited continuing education standards.

CIMA certification is widely recognised, regarded and respected. It is ideally suited to investment management analysts - that is, those involved in any aspect of constructing multi-asset, multi-manager portfolios. 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?

Certification is the formal process of recognising that an individual has mastery of a validated best-practice body of knowledge, and meets ongoing ethical and accredited continuing education standards.

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, implementing and evaluating multi-asset, multi-manager portfolios. 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 including the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. It noted that while the 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 CIMA certification as the most relevant and practical accreditation 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, implement and evaluate 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 expertise 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 renew their certification 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 certificants Stand For MoreTM - more knowledge, more skill, more expertise - when it comes to designing, implementing and evaluating multi-asset, multi-manager 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 Asia Pacific - CIMA certificants in the Asia Pacific region are encouraged to be members of CIMA Society Asia Pacific, a community of practice for investment and wealth management professionals, and affiliate of the Investments & Wealth Institute. 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 practitioner investment management analysts by reducing the enrolment fee by 50%.

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.

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 curriculum

The CIMA curriculum encompasses five knowledge domains, across 22 knowledge areas:

  1. Fundamentals
    Statistics & Methods; Applied Finance and Economics; Global Capital Markets History and Valuation

  2. Investments
    Investment Vehicles; Equity Investments; Fixed Income Investments; Alternative Investments; Options/Futures; Real Assets

  3. Behavioural Finance, Portfolio Theory & Construction
    Portfolio Theories and Asset Pricing Models; Efficient Market Hypothesis and Behavioural Finance Theory; Investment Philosophies and Styles; Portfolio Construction

  4. Performance Analysis
    Risk Concepts and Measurement; Performance Measurement and Attribution

  5. Portfolio Implementation and Consulting Process
    Client Discovery and Investment Policy Statements; Investment Implementation Approaches; Manager Search, Selection and Monitoring; Portfolio Review and Revisions

The process and timetable

There are five steps to CIMA certification:
- Enrol
- Apply
- Achieve a Credit Pass in the IMAC Exam
- CIMA Certification Exam
- Certify

1.  Enrol

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 March.

To enrol, you must complete the Enrolment Form in full and pay the correct Enrolment Fee by credit card. The Forum will then consider your enrolment and advise you in writing whether it has been accepted. If your Enrolment is not accepted by the Forum, the Enrolment Fee you have paid will be refunded in full to the credit card used to pay it. If your Enrolment is accepted by the Forum, the Enrolment Fee is immediately non-refundable and non-transferable to any other intake or person.

  • Enrolment Fee:  An Enrolment Fee of A$6,995+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$3,497.50+GST. Note, the Enrolment Fee is not the same as the Certification Application Fee (step 2).

The Enrolment Fee covers:

  • The IMAC course - 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 an online Study Plan, two electronic textbooks, on-demand lectures and associated readings, compulsory weekly live stream (Zoom) tutorials; the IMAC WhatsApp group for your class and the IMAC Exam. There are two scheduled IMAC Exams per year, one in September and one in December (dates are advised in the Enrolment Terms & Conditions).
  • If you sit the first IMAC Exam in September and achieve a mark of less than 70% - you will be invited to sit the second IMAC Exam in December.
  • If you sit the first and/or second IMAC Exam and achieve a mark of 50% or more - you will receive a digital certificate of completion, complimentary Associate Membership of CIMA Society Asia Pacific for the remainder of the then current financial year and detail of the steps for ongoing Associate Membership which is subject to separate terms and conditions, and you will be invited by the Forum to take up the designation “Associate Investment Portfolio Analyst” which is subject to separate terms and conditions.
  • If you sit the first and/or second IMAC Exam and do not achieve a Credit Pass (70% or more) in either - the Forum will invite you to re-enrol in the Program for the next calendar year at a 50% discount on the then applicable Enrolment Fee.
  • If you sit the first and/or second IMAC Exam and achieve a Credit Pass (70% or more), you are eligible to proceed to the next step in the CIMA certification process.
  • At the start of your Certification Exam window - the Forum provides you with guidance on how to prepare for the Certification Exam, including a Study Plan setting out recommended preparation steps during your Certification Exam window (set by the Institute after the Forum notifies IWI that you have achieved a Credit Pass in the IMAC Exam).
  • After you pass the Certification Exam - on notification from you that you have passed the global Certification Exam, the Forum will provide you with guidance on the final steps to complete certification and, once you are a CIMA certificant, the Forum will provide you with practical advice on how to profile your CIMA certification and organise your complimentary Certificant Membership of CIMA Society Asia Pacific for the remainder of the then current financial year and detail of the steps for ongoing Certificant Membership which is subject to separate terms and conditions.

2.  Apply

Once enrolled successfully with the Forum and settled into the IMAC, the Forum will notify the Investments & Wealth Institute (the 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.

  • Certification Application Fee:  An Application Fee (currently US$600) is payable directly 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, the Investments & Wealth Institute will refund your Application Fee.

3.  Achieve a Credit Pass in the IMAC Exam

Globally, all CIMA certification candidates must successfully complete an executive education program presented by a Registered Education Provider. In Asia-Pacific, this is the Investment Management Analyst Certificate (IMAC) course.

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. The IMAC has been at the core of the CIMA certification program since it was launched by Professor Ron Bird in Australia in 2001.

The IMAC takes place over 26 weeks. It is a synchronous course - that is, the year’s class of candidates completes the program together to the same timetable - of on-demand lectures plus associated readings, and weekly live stream (Zoom) tutorials (AEST 6pm-8pm Monday), culminating in a four-hour exam in September. All aspects of the IMAC program are compulsory.

Every candidate who achieves 50% or more in the IMAC Exam receives a digital Certificate of Attainment and digital badge. However, candidates must achieve a Credit Pass (70% or more) in the IMAC Exam to be eligible to sit the global Certification Exam.

Candidates who do not achieve a Credit Pass (70% or more) in the IMAC Exam are provided with feedback on areas of weakness and recommended further study, and the opportunity to resit the IMAC Exam in December. There is no resit fee.

4. Pass the Certification Exam

The Forum will advise the Institute when you have successfully completed the IMAC with a Credit Pass (70% or more). 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 ProctorU (online at your home or work office using their Meazure Learning portal). 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 Certification Exam is a supervised, online exam consisting of multiple-choice questions. Your exam result - “pass” or “fail” - is provided on-screen immediately you finish the exam.

To help you prep, Forum provides you with guidance on how to prepare for the Certification Exam, including a Study Plan setting out recommended preparation steps during your Certification Exam window (set by the Institute after the Forum notifies IWI that you have achieved a Credit Pass in the IMAC 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.

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 Certification Exam, and a Resit Fee (US$225) is payable to the Institute.

5. Certify

Once you pass the Certification Exam, the Institute will email you instructions to complete the certification process. You will need to:

  • document at least three years of relevant experience in financial services and pass another background check (if you have not completed three years of relevant experience, you are unable to use the CIMA® mark until this is the case);
  • 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 at 01 March 2024) which includes “Basic” Institute membership. Note, this fee does not include CIMA Society Asia Pacific membership.

Once you have completed these final three steps, the Institute will email you to confirm your CIMA certification and you will be able to use the CIMA® mark (add it to your LinkedIn, your email signature, etc). The Forum will organise your complimentary Certificant Membership of CIMA Society Asia Pacific for the remainder of the then current financial year and detail of the steps for ongoing Certificant Membership which is subject to separate terms and conditions.

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 in late March. The minimum reasonable time to complete the CIMA certification program is nine to 12 months including:

  • The IMAC course - from March to September including the IMAC Exam
  • Certification Exam prep - November to February
  • Certification Exam - February
  • Certification - February/March

Certification renewal

Certificants must renew their certification every two years. There are three requirements:

  1. Pay the CIMA certification renewal fee - Retain membership of CIMA Society Asia Pacific each year in which case, CIMA Society pays your CIMA certification renewal fee to the Institute. (You can choose to instead pay the Institute directly the Institute’s more substantial CIMA certification renewal fee of US$895 plus US$200 to self report the required 40 CE hours direct to the Institute and if so, the Forum is not available to assist you with your certification renewal).

  2. 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.

  • If you are a CIMA Society Asia Pacific member, the Forum will assist you by reporting “approved” CIMA CE hours to the Institute on your behalf, that you earn by attending the Forum’s live programs, by completing learning activities via the Forum CIMA CE Library (which 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) and/or by self reporting qualifying learning activities to the Forum. Any CE earned in these three ways is reported by the Forum to the Institute on your behalf and is not auditable by the Institute. Plus, you can track any CE that the Forum has reported to the Institute for you via your Forum MyCE record.
  1. 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.

The costs

Initial Certification costs

  • Enrolment fee:  A$6,995+GST, payable to the Forum on enrolment. 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$3,497.50+GST. This fee may be tax deductible.

  • Certification Application Fee:  US$600 (at 01 March 2024), payable to the Institute after your enrolment is accepted by the Forum and the Forum advises the Institute that your enrolment has been accepted by the Forum.

  • Initial Certification Fee:  US$395 (at 01 March 2024), 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 (at 01 March 2024) payable to the Institute to resit/reschedule the Certification Exam.

Note, all candidates need an Institute-approved financial calculator throughout the program.

Certification renewal cost

  • CIMA Society Asia Pacific members:  A$750+GST (Early Bird payable before 30 June each year) or A$850 (Late Bird payable between 1 July and 31 July each year) per annum CIMA Society membership fee which includes CIMA Society paying your CIMA certification renewal fee to the Institute every two years (as long as your CIMA Society membership remains current for the full two-year CIMA Society membership period). CIMA Society membership includes the Forum assisting you by reporting “approved” CIMA CE hours to the Institute on your behalf at no additional cost, if earned by attending the Forum’s live programs, by completing learning activities via the Forum CIMA CE Library, and/or by self reporting qualifying learning activities to the Forum.

  • Non-CIMA Society Asia Pacific members (i.e. Institute members):  US$895 plus US$200 to self report the required 40 CE hours to the Institute, payable to the Institute every two years.

Enrol now

Before you enrol, you should read in full and reflect on the above detailed explanation of the CIMA Certification Asia Pacific Program. To enrol, you must complete the below Enrolment Form in full and pay the correct Enrolment Fee.   Enrol now!. Enrolment for the 2024 intake closes Sunday 07 April 2024.

 


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