How to become a CIMA® certificant

the peak international, technical portfolio construction certification program


Certified Investment Management Analyst® (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 portfolios, whether practitioner or advocate. There are already more than 8,000 CIMA certificants globally.

All CIMA candidates globally complete the same process including five key steps. Typically, it takes most candidates nine months to a year to attain CIMA certification.

Recommended prior learning
The curriculum
The process
The cost
Enrol now

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). It's ok if you're very rusty - candidates are provided with specific financial mathematics and statistics study resources. As long as you cover these, it will come back to you (much like a language!).

However, if you have 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 recommend you don't undertake CIMA certification just yet. Instead, contact us for information about a maths prep course to complete before embarking on CIMA certification.

The process

All CIMA candidates globally complete the same process including five key steps:
1. Enrol
2. Apply
3. Study for and pass the IMAC Exam
4. Study for and pass the Certification Exam
5. Certify

Step 1: ENROL

In the first instance, Australian- and NZ-based CIMA candidates enrol with Portfolio Construction Forum to manage them through the process, including booking their place on an Investment Management Analyst Certificate (IMAC) course. 

At the time you enrol for the CIMA program, you are also committing to attend a specific IMAC course (see Step 3) as noted on the Enrolment Form. Your IMAC course booking is non-transferable and non-refundable.

Within two to three Australian business days of receipt of your Enrolment Form, the Forum will confirm your enrolment and process the Enrolment Fee (or decline your enrolment and contact you to explain why).


The Forum will forward your enrolment to the Investments & Wealth InstituteTM ("the Institute"), the owner of the CIMA certification program.

The Institute will contact you by email with instructions for completing an online application and paying an Application Fee which covers the cost of the Institute undertaking a background check and your Certification Exam fee (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.

  • If your application is accepted - you become a CIMA candidate and the Enrolment Fee and Application Fee are non-refundable.


At the time you enrol, you are also committing to completing a specific IMAC course, as noted on the Enrolment Form. Your IMAC course booking is non-transferable and non-refundable.

Candidates must successfully complete an executive education requirement through an approved registered education provider. In Australia and NZ, this is the blended online and residential classroom Investment Management Analyst Certificate (IMAC) course, culminating in a four-hour exam. It is delivered by Portfolio Construction Forum's specialist academic research unit, the Investment Management Research Program, in collaboration with selected academic faculty of leading Australian university business schools, independent consultants and experienced practitioners. It is led by course director, Professor Ron Bird.

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

The IMAC curriculum is based on the CIMA Core Body of Knowledge and is designed to provide you with up-to-date, in-depth exposure to a range of topics relevant to the Australian context. The main focus of the IMAC is on developing and implementing investment strategy within the domestic setting, whether it is for an individual or an institution. The program brings together theoretical and practical knowledge directly relevant to Australian-based portfolio construction practitioners. The approach taken is both inquisitive and critical, and designed to be practical.

The IMAC is an intense, blended learning program consisting of online lectures that are completed prior to arrival, and a 4.5-day residential classroom lecture and review program (7am to 9pm) in Sydney.

The more foundational, static content of the IMAC is taught via online lectures which must be completed prior to arrival at the residential classroom component of the IMAC. The classroom content then focuses more on practical and contemporary issues, involving academics from leading Australian university business schools, senior practitioners and consultants, enabling open conversation and learning. There is significant pre-reading for both the online and classroom lectures.

Preparing for the IMAC

The recommended preparation (including covering the online lectures) is around 10 hours a week for 10-12 weeks.

The Forum provides candidates with an IMAC Study Plan setting out all the preparation steps.

The IMAC exam

The IMAC culminates with a four-hour exam on the final of the classroom days. The exam is based on the material taught in both the online lectures and classroom lectures.

Within two weeks of sitting the IMAC Exam, the Forum will email you advising of your result.

  • If you pass the IMAC Exam - the Forum will advise the Institute that you have passed and the Institute will then advise its independent test administrator, PearsonVue, that you are eligible to book a date to sit the Certification Exam. The Institute will nominate a three-month window in which you must sit the Certification Exam.

  • If you don't pass the IMAC Exam - The Forum will work with you to agree a date for you to resit the IMAC Exam. There is no resit fee for the IMAC Exam..


You must sit the Certificate Exam within a 90-day window nominated by the Institute, or pay an additional fee to open a new 90-day window.

4.1  Book a date to sit the Certification Exam

Once the Forum advises the Institute that you have passed the IMAC, the Institute will advise its independent test administrator, PearsonVue, that you are eligible to sit the Certification Exam. PearsonVue will then email you with instructions on how to book your exam date.

4.2  Study for the Certification Exam

The recommended study is around 10 to 15 hours a week for 10 weeks.

The Forum provides candidates with a Certification Exam Study Plan setting out recommended preparation steps (based on the success of past candidates).

4.3  Sit the Certification Exam

Candidates must sit the Certification Exam at a PearsonVue testing centre.

The Certification Exam is an online, five-hour exam consisting of 125 multiple-choice questions and 15 non-scored, pretest questions. You may take an optional 15-minute break during the exam, but the timed exam will not stop.

You are allowed to take an approved financial calculator (you will be required to clear the memory prior to the exam commencing) and you have have access to an online formula sheet while sitting the exam, along with a laminated booklet and wipe-on/wipe-off pen for workings.

Your exam result is provided on-screen immediately you finish the exam - you will be advised of a "pass" or "fail".

  • If you pass the Certification Exam - you are not provided with your pass mark. You are eligible to complete the final step of the CIMA certification process.

  • If you don't pass the Certification Exam - the Institute will email you with a list of topics that merit additional study, and process for resitting the exam. You must wait 30 days before resitting the exam, and a Resit Fee is payable to the Institute (see below). Once paid, the Institute will notify PearsonVue that you are eligible to resit the exam and PearsonVue will then email you to schedule the resit.


Once you have passed the Certification Exam, you will receive an email from the Institute to complete the final steps which are done online. This includes:

  • demonstrating a minimum of three years’ work experience in financial services (if this is not possible, you can wait until the three year period is completed);

  • passing a second background check conducted by the Institute;

  • completing a license agreement and agreeing to adhere to the Investments & Wealth Institute’s Code of Professional Responsibility and Rules and Guidelines for the Use of the Marks; and,

  • paying the Initial Licensing Fee (see below).

The Institute will then email you to confirm your CIMA certification. The Forum will send your framed CIMA certificate, you'll start receiving the quarterly CIMA Circular emails, and we'll give you access to the Forum's CIMA CE Library (our online CE resource for CIMA certificants to help you meet the CIMA recertification requirements). We'll also organise your initial membership to the CIMA Society of Australia.


CIMA certification must be renewed every two years following initial certification. To recertify, CIMA certificants must:

  • complete and report a minimum of 40 hours of accepted continuing education (CE) credit, including two ethics hours and one hour of tax or regulation CE, over the two-year recertification period;

  • complete compliance requirements - including indicating 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; and,

  • pay the Certification Renewal Fee (refer below).

The cost

Prices are correct and apply for calendar 2020.

Buy an up-to-date financial calcuator

You will need a scientific calculator throughout the CIMA program (the Forum will provide you with an online tutorial to refamiliarise yourself with how to use one).

The Institute has an allowed list of scientific calculators which includes: HP 10b, HP 10bII, HP 10bII Plus, HP 12C, HP 12C Platinum, HP 17B, HP 17BII and HP 17BII Plus, as well as the Texas Instrument BA II Plus, BA II Plus Professional and BA II Plus Business Analyst. Newer and older versions of these calculators will be allowed for use.

Fee paid to the Forum

  • Enrolment Fee: The Enrolment Fee (“Enrolment Fee”) is payable to Portfolio Construction Forum by credit card on enrolment. It is A$7,500+GST however Practitioners (as defined by Portfolio Construction Forum) receive a 50% bursary on enrolment, reducing the fee to A$3,750+GST, applied at the time of processing the enrolment fee. This fee may be tax deductible.

Fees paid to the Investments & Wealth Institute

  • Application FeeUS$600, payable to the Institute as part of Step 2 above. This covers the Institute's initial background check of you and the Certification Exam fee.

  • Initial Licensing Fee:  US$275, payable to the Institute at the last step of the certification process.

Plus, if you don't sit the Certification Exam within the required 90-day window or you fail the Certification Exam:

  • Rescheduling/Resit Fee:  US$225, payable to the Institute.

Plus, if you have to sit the Certification Exam within the required 90-day window:

Recertification fees

Every two years, a Recertfication Fee is payable:

  • CIMA Society of Australia members: US$450 - which comprises the annual CIMA Society of Australia membership fee - as long as your CIMA Society membership remains current, you won't have any further fee to pay on recertification;

  • Non-CIMA Society of Australia members: US$895

Getting started - enrol now

The first step in your CIMA certification journey is complete the Enrolment Form and return it to the Forum.

Tips to completing the Enrolment Form
1. Click on the Enrolment Form link below.
2. Download the form.
3. Browse to where you saved the Form, and open it from there.
4. Complete the form fields onscreen including signing (follow the prompts).
5. Email your completed form to

Download the Enrolment Form

What happens next?
The CIMA certification process steps are explained in "The Process" above.