Advancing investment management analyst expertise

The Investment Management Analyst Certificate (IMAC) advances investment management analyst knowledge, skill and expertise in a definitive set of competencies necessary for building and/or advising on quality multi-manager portfolios.

It stands out as the exemplar of investment education, designed first and foremost for investment management analysts – that is, those involved in any aspect of constructing multi-manager portfolios (whether practitioner or advocate) – in Australia and New Zealand. It is both a structured post-graduate certificate course in its own right, and the Australian-based Registered Education Program for the global Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) program.

The IMAC will help you acquire the knowledge necessary to develop your skills in designing robust multi-asset, multi-manager investment strategies to meet defined objectives.

We’d welcome you participating!

Graham Rich
Dean, Portfolio Construction Forum

- IMAC Overview:  Aim, Who should participate, Curriculum, Format, Faculty, Curation and Delivery
- IMAC Curriculum:  Content, Structure, Format, and Subjects
- Who is behind the IMAC?
- Testimonials
- IMAC Faculty

IMAC Overview


The IMAC advances investment management analyst knowledge, skill and expertise in a definitive set of competencies necessary for building and/or advising on quality multi-manager portfolios. The course provides deep insights specifically relevant to the Australian and NZ environment, with the central focus on three of the Forum’s five Knowledge Domains - Markets, Strategies and Investing - teaching the knowledge necessary to develop skills in designing robust multi-asset, multi-manager investment strategies to meet defined objectives.

Who should participate?

The IMAC is ideally suited to investment management analysts - that is, those involved in any aspect of constructing multi-manager 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.


The IMAC presents subjects focused primarily across three of the Forum’s five Knowledge Domains - Markets, Strategies and Investing - with the central focus on Strategies, which encapsulates the investment planning process. More about the curriculum


The IMAC course is a contemporary post-graduate, online blended learning certificate course consisting of on-demand lectures and live webinar tutorials, supplemented by readings and study groups. Typically, students need to commit 12 to 15 hours study per week over the 18-week course, and four-week prep period. Students are provided with an online Study Plan to follow and to use to track their progress.

The IMAC course has a total 225+ hour volume of learning delivered across 22 weeks:

  • 4 weeks preparation - 50 hours of study including a 3-hour lecture plus readings, and two compulsory, live online 2-hour (Zoom) tutorials;
  • 18 weeks course work - 225 hours of study including 25 IMAC on-demand lectures plus associated readings, and 15 live online (Zoom) IMAC tutorials, culminating in a four-hour exam. All aspects of the IMAC program are compulsory.
  • a 4-hour exam - closed book, consisting of 60 multi-choice questions (50% of the total exam mark), and 12 short response questions (50% of the total exam mark), both of which test knowledge across the IMAC curriculum. The pass mark is 70%.


Uniquely, the IMAC has a “pracademic” faculty, including academics from leading Australian university business schools, independent consultants, and experienced practitioners. IMAC students are assured of participation in a highly regarded, long-established investment education program led by an exceptional teaching faculty. More about the Faculty

Curation and delivery

The IMAC has a long heritage, having been established in 2000 by Professor Ron Bird, then Professor of Finance at University of Technology Sydney. Since 2016, the IMAC has been delivered by Portfolio Construction Forum, and curated by its specialist academic research unit, the Investment Management Research Program. Professor Bird retains the role of Course Director. Portfolio Construction Forum is the specialist, independent provider of portfolio construction continuing education, accreditation and certification services in Australia and New Zealand. After completing the IMAC, students can engage with ongoing continuing education via the Forum, building on the knowledge learned at the IMAC. More about who is behind the IMAC

Note, completion of the IMAC does not result in attainment of the CIMA certification but rather makes those enrolled in the CIMA certification program eligable to sit the CIMA Certification Exam.

IMAC Curriculum

As in any area of knowledge, it is incumbent on all practitioners to possess both a good understanding of the fundamental concepts of the discipline and the tools required to analyse problems and evaluate important decisions, and to be able to apply that knowledge and develop relevant skills and expertise.


The IMAC presents subjects focused primarily across three of the Forum’s five Knowledge Domains - Markets, Strategies and Investing - with the central focus on Strategies, which encapsulates the investment planning process.

Portfolio Construction Forum’s 5 Knowledge Domains

  1.  Philosophy - understanding principles to inform defensible investing knowledge, beliefs and behaviours
  2.  Markets - determining the drivers of and outlook for the investment markets
  3.  Strategies - designing robust investment strategies to meet defined objectives
  4.  Investing - selecting quality investment management solutions that are suitable for portfolios
  5.  Finology - identifying investing biases, beliefs and behaviours and the investment implications


The IMAC course is a contemporary post-graduate certificate course, consisting of preparatory work and then course work, delivered via an online blended learning program. Typically, students need to commit 12 to 15 hours study per week over the 22-week course.

The preparation program initially reviews basic investment management statistics and financial mathematics.

Then, the IMAC course work is grounded by first teaching core philosophies, dealing with portfolio theories and models, the Efficient Markets Hypothesis, and an introduction to behavioural finance theories.

  • The IMAC course has a strong emphasis on helping students understand the drivers of investment markets by including an in-depth review of applied economics and global capital markets history.

  • It teaches about the range of managed investment vehicles available and the relevant research processes, as well as the specifics of investing in equities, alternative assets, real assets, debt, options, futures and other derivative investments.

  • With this background, the IMAC addresses the key steps in designing, building and managing multi-manager portfolios including the client discovery process and investment policy statement, the theoretical and practical underpinnings of portfolio management including Modern Portfolio Theory and the Capital Asset Pricing Model, asset allocation, international investing, investment vehicles, manager search, selection and monitoring, portfolio risk management strategies, and portfolio review including portfolio performance measurement and attribution.

IMAC subjects by Forum Knowledge Domain

Philosophy – understanding principles to inform defensible investing knowledge, beliefs and behaviours

  1.  Portfolio Theories & Models - David Gallagher
  2.  Efficient Market Hypothesis - Ron Bird
  3.  Behavioural Finance Theory - Ron Bird

Markets – determining the drivers of and outlook for the investment markets

  1.  Applied Economics - Gordon Menzies
  2.  Global Capital Markets History & Valuation - Ron Bird

Strategies – designing robust investment strategies to meet defined objectives

  1.  Client Discovery & Investment Policy Statement - Annika Bradley
  2.  Foundations of Asset Allocation - Tim Farrelly
  3.  Managing Currency in Portfolios - Tim Farrelly
  4.  International Investing - Ron Bird
  5.  Issues in Asset Allocation - Ron Bird
  6.  Portfolio Risk Management Strategies - Nadima El-Hassan
  7.  Investment Philosophies & Styles - Ron Bird
  8.  Manager Selection and Blending - David Wright
  9.  Portfolio Performance Measurement & Attribution - Paul Kofman
  10.  Portfolio Review Process - Ron Bird
  11.  Strategies Case Study - Annika Bradley, Tim Farrelly, David Wright

Investing – selecting quality investment management solutions that are suitable for portfolios

  1.  Managed Investment Vehicles - David Wright
  2.  Manager Search and Selection - Graham Rich, David Wright, Ron Bird
  3.  Equity Investments - Ron Bird
  4.  Alternative Investments - Sam Edwards, Sam Mann
  5.  Real Asset Investments - Padraig Brown
  6.  Debt Investments - Nadima El-Hassan
  7.  Options, Futures & Other Derivative Investments - Nadima El-Hassan


  1.  Basic Investment Management Statistics - Nadima El-Hassan
  2.  Australian Regulatory Considerations & Codes of Professional Responsibility - Graham Rich
  3.  Australian Taxation Considerations - Graham Rich

Who is behind the IMAC?

Delivered by Portfolio Construction Forum, the IMAC is curated by the Investment Management Research Program, the Forum’s specialist academic research unit. The IMR Program aims to advance investment management research by curating courses, workshops and symposia focused on the spectrum of issues involved in designing and building investment portfolios. The IMR Program has a formal, collaborative working relationship with Macquarie University Business School.

The IMAC is the Australian-based Registered Education Program for the globally recognised CIMA® certification program. 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. The IMR Program is one of four Registered Education Providers globally, alongside: The University of Chicago Booth School of Business; The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; and, Yale School of Management.

IMAC Testimonials

The following is a selection of unsolicited testimonials that we’ve received from those who have completed the IMAC. Specific referee details are available upon request.

“Really enjoyed the IMAC and will definitely be an advocate for supporting CIMA certification. Thanks again for a great (and intense) time at the IMAC.”

“Thanks so much for facilitating such a top-notch initiative! I felt privileged to be part of such a quality course and I look forward to continuing the journey.”

“It was a really unique experience. Enjoyed it and will definitely be something that sticks in the memory. Has inspired me to look at different further education opportunities as well. Thanks for having me and coordinating the whole program.”

“I actually can’t put into words how much I enjoyed it (ha, sucker for punishment perhaps!). Genuinely, it was fantastic.”

“As an academic and practitioner in financial services for the past 20 years, I have had the opportunity to attend a variety of high-quality workshops and educational seminars. The IMAC is, by far, the best of all of them. I wish I had done it sooner. The quality of the presenters is world-class, the engagement process encourages in-depth financial analysis and the dedication to learning is unrivalled. I learned just as much from my fellow participants as I did from the professional staff conducting the seminars. The IMAC represents the premier source for advancing the field of multi-manager investment portfolio construction excellence in the Asia-Pacific.”

IMAC Faculty

Course Convenor & Lecturer

- Graham Rich, Managing Partner & Dean, Portfolio Construction Forum & Director, Investment Management Research Program

Graham is a pioneer of retail managed funds research in Australasia, and of financial planning in New Zealand. He started his financial services career in NZ in 1975. In 1983, he established his own business, Fiduciary Ltd, delivering funds research under the name FPG Research, financial planning under the name Financial Planning Group, followed by professional development and education services for investment advisers. After initially adding Morningstar as a minority shareholder in his FPG Research business in 1999, he continued to develop it for several years, before selling the rest of the fund research business to Morningstar in 2007. In 2002, Graham established Portfolio Construction Forum. Based out of Sydney, the Forum is recognised as the leading provider of specialist, independent continuing education, accreditation and certification for wealth management professionals in Australia and NZ.

Course Director & Lecturer

- Prof Ron Bird, Professor Emeritus, Australian National University & Director, Investment Management Research Program, Portfolio Construction Forum

Ron completed a master’s degree in Economics at Monash University prior to taking up a lectureship at Macquarie University in 1970. In 1973, he moved to the Economics Faculty at the Australian National University (ANU) where he headed up the Commerce Department and taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses in accounting and finance. He left ANU in 1988 and was subsequently awarded the title of Emeritus Professor by that University.

Ron then embarked on a career in the private sector, joining Towers Perrin where he was in charge of the asset consulting practice and global research unit. In 1992, he joined Westpac Investment Management, responsible for the development and application of quantitative techniques to funds management, the development and implementation of derivative strategies, and all aspects of performance. He then established a new Sydney-based quantitative funds management firm, in a joint venture with Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo (Boston) for whom he also coordinated global research activities.

Ron returned to academia in 1999, joining the Finance School at University of Technology Sydney (UTS). AT UTS, he taught honours and masters subjects in the areas of corporate finance and investments, and also coordinated the School’s honours program. For the first several years at UTS, Ron continued to work with GMO, running their in-house conferences and advising them on research matters. While at UTS, Ron also consulted to numerous funds management firms and superannuation funds, advising them on aspects of their investment strategy.

Soon after joining UTS, Ron approached the US-based Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA) to establish an arm in Australia and offer its certificate course. Ron first convened the course in Australia in 2001 and continued do so each year until 2016 when Portfolio Construction Forum took on the management and delivery of the CIMA program in Australia, at which point Ron continued as course director. In 2017, IMCA (Australia) made Ron a life member in recognition of the contribution that he has made to the program.

In 2007, Ron took the position of Director of the Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality at UTS, one of three such centres established around the world. In this position, he undertook and commissioned much research which identified failings in capital markets and financial institutions and identified policies designed to overcome these failings. In more recent years, Ron’s research has largely been undertaken in the areas of investments and behavioural finance with a concentration on failings within markets and the costs imposed on the community by these failures. He also established an annual conference and workshop to both encourage and promote research relating to capital market dysfunctionality. He has published numerous articles in Australian and overseas journals and made conference presentations in numerous countries, published several finance textbooks, and held visiting positions at several prestigious American and British Universities.

From 2012 to 2018, Ron also held a Chair in Finance at Waikato University (New Zealand) where he mentored staff and supervised several doctoral students.

Ron formally left both UTS and Waikato University at the end of 2018, to take up the position of Director of the Investment Management Research Program at Portfolio Construction Forum. Much of the events established by the Paul Woolley Centre and the accreditation course taught for IMCA moved with Ron and now constitute an important part of the IMR Program at Portfolio Construction Forum. Ron focuses on further developing teaching in this area to better meet the needs of the Australian financial community.

In 2018, Ron’s contribution to universities was further recognised when he was appointed an Honorary Professor at both Macquarie University and Waikato University.

Course Registrar

- Deirdre Keown, Partner & General Manager, Portfolio Construction Forum & Director, Investment Management Research Program

Deirdre is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Portfolio Construction Forum, including the management and production of its continuing education, accreditation and certification programs. She has worked in the Australian and New Zealand wealth management industries for over 25 years. Before establishing Portfolio Construction Forum with Graham Rich in 2002, Deirdre spent seven years as head of publishing at FPG Research and then at the same business when it became Morningstar Australia and New Zealand, where she was responsible for publishing of all research materials and software, database operations and marketing. Deirdre has a Masters in Commerce with first class honours.

Tutor & Lecturer

- Nadima El-Hassan, Senior Lecturer, University of Technology Sydney

Nadima joined the UTS School of Finance and Economics as a full-time staff member in July 1997. Her research interests include the pricing and hedging of complex derivatives, term structure modelling, risk management and portfolio attribution analysis. She has publications in a number of the leading international journals in finance including The Journal of Financial Engineering, Asian Capital Markets, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control and Journal of Computational Finance. Nadima also has considerable practical experience in derivative security pricing, hedging and risk management issues gained through her work experience in product development and risk management areas of the financial markets. As an academic, she has maintained links with industry through various collaborative projects.


- Annika Bradley, CIMA, Financial Services Consultant, Lodrino (Brisbane)

Annika is a financial services consultant with extensive experience across investments and wealth management in both the public and private sectors. Her experience includes investment manager selection, design and participation in governance and investment committee structures and product development and implementation. Previously, she was a portfolio manager with QSuper, a product manager with QIC, and a portfolio manager for Mosaic Portfolio Advisers. Annika is a member of a number of investment committees and is a Director of the CIMA Society of Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (major in Finance) and a Bachelor of Arts (majors in Political Science and Italian) from the University of Queensland. She also has a Master of Applied Finance (Major in Investment Management) from Kaplan Professional and is a Certified Investment Management Analyst.

- Padraig Brown, CFA, Principal & Head of Real Estate - Pacific, Mercer (Auckland)

Paddy is the Portfolio Manager for the Mercer Australian Direct Property Fund and is responsible for investment, consulting and research across global real estate markets. Paddy is chair of the Property Council of Australia’s Investor’s Roundtable and a member of the Mercer/IPD Advisory Committee. He holds a MSc (Global Politics) from London School of Economics and Political Science, and is a CFA Charterholder.

- Sam Edwards, Managing Director, Longreach Alternatives (Sydney)

Sam joined Longreach Alternatives in 2017, bringing with him over 15 years of global banking, global markets and alternative asset management experience. Based in Hong Kong for the prior nine years, Sam most recently held a senior leadership role at HSBC as the Regional Head (Asia Pacific) of Alternative Investments, Mutual Funds and Discretionary Wealth Management. He was responsible for all internal and third-party investment management solutions, platforms and programs. He has managed large portfolio management teams, repositioned and rebuilt large scale businesses for the bank and was responsible for guiding HSBC’s global alternative investment business to be one of the largest globally, allocating in excess of $1 billion to the asset class annually. Prior to joining HSBC, Sam spent seven years as a senior portfolio manager at Evolution Capital Management, an Asian Multi-Strategy hedge fund. This was followed by two years with Broadline Capital, a McKinsey-alumni, China-focused private equity firm. Before joining the financial services industry, Sam worked as a structural engineer for URS, one of the world’s largest engineering consultancy firms. Sam graduated with a Master of Applied Finance from Macquarie University in 2005, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Mechanical Engineering.

- Tim Farrelly, Principal, farrelly’s Investment Strategy (Sydney)

Tim founded farrelly’s in 2004, as the first independent, specialist asset allocation research service for investment advisory firms in Australia and New Zealand. He brings a unique combination of analytics, understanding of financial markets, knowledge of capital market history and insight into the practical requirements of financial advisers. Prior to founding farrelly’s, Tim was an Executive Director of Macquarie Bank Ltd, and Director of Macquarie Investment Management Ltd (MIML). At various times during his 14 years at Macquarie he sat on the MIML Asset Allocation and Risk Committees and was responsible for distribution of the Bank’s products through third party financial planners and stockbrokers. Between 1981 and 1986, Tim was head of research for Australian financial advisory firm, Monitor Money, where he was responsible for asset allocation and manager selection. He has an MBA (Distinction) from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Engineering (Met) from the University of Melbourne, where he was awarded the J. Neill Greenwood Medal.

- David Gallagher, PhD (Sydney)

David is a finance expert and scholar with experience spanning the institutional investing, portfolio management, superannuation, financial regulation and capital markets domains. His most recent academic role was the prestigious Malcolm Broomhead Chair in Finance at The University of Queensland. He is a former CEO of the Commonwealth and NSW Government’s $41 million Centre of Excellence in International Finance and Regulation (CIFR), also holding a joint Professorial appointment at UNSW Business School. His academic career has included professorial roles at UNSW, UTS, MGSM, UQ, as well as a visiting professorial role at The University of Texas at Austin. He was also a visiting scholar at the Investment Company Institute in Washington DC. Prior to this he was a financial analyst at Towers Perrin (now Willis Towers Watson) in the asset consulting division. David has consulted widely to both industry and Government, and has acted as an expert witness on legal matters. He is a long-standing participant at the Capital Markets CRC Limited, and a member of the Investment Process and Risk Committee of Alleron Investment Management Limited. David graduated with a Ph.D. in Finance from The University of Sydney.

- Paul Kofman, PhD, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne (Melbourne)

Paul came to Australia in 1994 as a Lecturer in Econometrics at Monash University. After subsequent positions at UNSW and UTS, he became Professor of Finance at The University of Melbourne in 2001, then Head of Department in 2006 until 2010. Following two years as Deputy Dean (Faculty), he became Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics in May 2012. Paul holds the Sidney Myer Chair of Commerce. His main research interest is in quantitative finance and the ethics of finance, but he has also published papers in international trade, econometrics, and actuarial journals, including the Financial Analysts Journal, the Journal of Applied Econometrics, the Journal of Banking and Finance, the Journal of International Economics, and the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics. He has received numerous research grants including ARC discovery and linkage grants. He is an associate editor of the Journal of International Money & Finance, the International Journal of Managerial Finance, the Review of Futures Markets and JASSA. Paul has a PhD in Economics from Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

- Sam Mann, CEO, Director & Co-Founder, Longreach Alternatives (Sydney)

Sam has over 21 years of funds management experience and is considered to be one of Australia’s leading experts in alternative investment and product solutions. Prior to establishing Longreach Alternatives, Sam was Managing Director & Head of Asia Pacific for Franklin Templeton Solutions and K2 Advisors, the Australian business of which he founded in 2006 and built to be one of the largest and most innovative alternatives managers in the Australian market. Sam’s experience includes roles with Deutsche Asset Management and State Street Global Advisors, where he was responsible for product distribution and strategy for alternative investment, private equity, infrastructure, real estate and global hedge funds. Sam has a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics from The University of Sydney.

- Gordon Menzies, DPhil, Associate Professor, Economics Discipline Group, University of Technology Sydney (Sydney)

Gordon joined UTS as a Senior Lecturer in Economics in 2003 and has since become an Associate Professor. Since joining UTS, he has developed a research program investigating rapid belief changes in markets, with Prof Daniel Zizzo at the University of East Anglia (UK). Together, in 2009, they won the Arrow Senior Prize for the best paper in Berkeley Electronic Press. Gordon completed a BEc (Hons) at the University of New England, after which he joined the Reserve Bank of Australia to work on the Bank’s macroeconomic model. He won a Bank scholarship to study at the Australian National University, where he won the Robert Jones Prize for the best Masters student. After a number of years working in the RBA, he won a Commonwealth Scholarship to undertake a DPhil at Oxford University. He has taught econometrics at UNE, economics at the ANU and was senior Economics Tutor at Christ Church College, Oxford. Since joining UTS, he has taught econometrics and international economics. Gordon’s main publications are in the areas of macroeconomics, trade and exchange rates. He has also published on the Economics of the Family, and on the cultural impact of the economic way of thinking.

- David Wright, Managing Partner, Zenith Investment Partners (Melbourne)

David is Managing Partner and a joint founder of Zenith Investment Partners, the managed funds research business he established in November 2002. He is heavily involved in all aspects of the Zenith business, including manager research, model portfolio construction and participation in client investment committee meetings. David has over 22 years’ extensive experience researching, assessing and rating all forms of managed investments including, managed funds, property syndicates, tax effective investments and other managed investment schemes. Prior to establishing Zenith, David held a position as Head of Research at IWL Ltd, an ASX-listed company, where he was responsible for managing a team of managed fund and equity analysts with the objective of producing investment research and ratings/recommendations for advisers and members of the firm’s retail investment website. Other prior roles included positions as Associate Director and Head of Managed Funds research at Lonsdale Limited, a national financial planning and stock broking group, and a position as an investment analyst with the Advisor Group, also a national financial planning group. David is a former practitioner lecturer of the Securities Institute of Australia (now FINSIA).