CIMA CFA Challenge

An accelerated pathway to earn the Certified Investment Management Analyst® designation

The CIMA CFA Challenge is an opportunity for CFA charterholders to take an accelerated pathway to earn the globally-recognised Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) designation.

CIMA certification is the peak, international, technical multi-manager, multi-asset portfolio construction certification program, with more than 10,000 CIMA certificants globally. Complementing your CFA designation with CIMA certification will result in the rare distinction of becoming a “dual citizen” - that is, one of an elite group globally who have earned both designations.

The accelerated pathway enables CFA Charterholders to save considerable time and fees such that CIMA certification can be achieved in three to six months instead of the usual 12-15 months, and at 25% of the usual cost. Enrolment for the CIMA CFA Challenge closes 31 December 2021.

A quick introduction   What is CIMA certification? Who should undertake it? Who is involved?

CFA vs CIMA certification  Our “dual citizens” explain the value of CIMA for CFA charterholders

CIMA curriculum - The CIMA curriculum covers five core topics, across 22 areas

CIMA CFA Challenge process - three to six months of study

CIMA CFA Challenge costs - save 75% of the usual cost

Enrol now - complete and submit the Enrolment Form

Contact us for more info

A quick introduction

What is CIMA certification?

CIMA certification is the peak, international technical portfolio construction certification program designed for investment management analysts – practitioners or advocates – involved in any aspect of constructing multi-asset, multi-manager investment portfolios.

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.

The Association for Portfolio Fund Investors has recommended CIMA Certification:
“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. 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.”

Who is involved?

  • 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.

  • The CIMA Society of Australia - The professional community for Certified Investment Management Analysts in Australia and New Zealand, the purpose and mission of the CIMA Society is to promote and maintain a high standard of knowledge and practice among investment and wealth professionals associated with constructing investment portfolios, with the CIMA certification program as the core strategy.

  • 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.

CFA vs CIMA certification

Both CFA and CIMA are highly respected credentials, with complementary history, focus and distinctives. Not surprisingly, there are some “dual citizens”.

Hear our CIMA certificant, CFA charterholder “dual citizens” explain why CFA and CIMA certification are complementary, and the value of CIMA certification compared to the CFA program:

Graeme Bibby, CFA, CIMA®

Rein van Rooyen, FIA, CFA, CAIA, FRM, CIPM, CIMA®

Ben Lau, CFA, CIMA®

Andrew Mellor, CFA, CIMA®

Oliver Trusler, CFA, CIMA®

Angus McLeod, CFA, CIMA®

The CIMA curriculum

The CIMA curriculum covers five core topics, across 22 areas:

  1. Fundamentals
    Statistics & Methods; Applied Finance, Economics; Global Capital Markets

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

  3. Portfolio Theory and Behavioural Finance
    Portfolio Theories & Models; Behavioural Finance Theory; Investment Philosophies and Styles; Tools & Strategies

  4. Risk and Return
    Attributes of Risk; Risk Measurements; Performance Measurement and Attribution

  5. Portfolio Construction and Consulting Process
    Ethics; Client Discovery; Investment Policy; Portfolio Construction; Manager Search and Selection; Portfolio Review and Revisions

The CIMA CFA Challenge process

1. Apply by 31 December 2021

The first step in your CIMA CFA Challenge journey is to enrol by 31 December 2021. $nbsp;Enrol now

2. Study to sit the CIMA Certification Exam

The recommended study prep is 10-12 hours a week for at least three months. To assist, Portfolio Construction Forum provides CIMA CFA Challenge candidates access to the Forum’s proprietary CIMA CFA Challenge Study Plan, including on-demand lectures and quizzes, at no cost.

3. Sit the CIMA Certification Exam

Once your application is accepted by the Institute, CFA charterholders have a six-month window to prep for and sit the CIMA Certification Exam. If you don’t sit the Exam within that window, you must pay the Institute the US$225 rebooking fee to get a new three-month window. The aim is that people don’t keep “kicking the can down the road”. You must pass the Certification Exam within two years of your application being processed, or you must apply again.

  • 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. 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.

4. Certify

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.

5. Recertification

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

  1. CE hours - 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 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 reported by the Forum to the Institute on your behalf. The Forum’s live programs are also accredited for “approved” CIMA CE hours which the Forum then reports to the Institute on your behalf. Finally, you can self report CE earned by attending events direct to the Institute.

  2. 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.

  3. Retain membership of CIMA Society of Australia or pay the CIMA Certification Renewal Fee - 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 a CIMA certification renewal fee of US$895 every two years, plus US$200 to self report the required 40 CE hours.

The CIMA CFA Challenge costs

CFA Charterholders save A$2,995+GST to A$5,995+GST (depending on their role) compared to the usual cost of CIMA certification, because they are exempt from having to complete the CIMA Education program (offered by Yale, Chicago Booth, Wharton and, locally, Portfolio Construction Forum’s Investment Management Research Program).

The CIMA CFA Challenge fees are therefore:

  • Application fee: US$995 – paid to the Institute, includes sitting the Certification Exam once within 6 months of your application being approved.
  • 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 six-month window, there is a US$225 fee payable to the Institute to resit/reschedule it.

Enrol now

The first step in your CIMA CFA Challenge journey is complete and submit the Enrolment Form by 31 December 2021.

  • Within two Australian business days, the Forum will acknowledge receipt of your enrolment form, and forward to the Institute for their approval.

  • Once the Institute has approved your application, the Forum will provide you with its proprietary CIMA CFA Challenge Study Plan and proprietary on-demand lectures and quizzes, at no cost.


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