Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®)

 

the peak international, technical portfolio construction certification program

 

CIMA certification is the peak international, technical portfolio construction certification program designed for investment and wealth management practitioners and non-practitioners. Sitting in the clear and uncluttered space between Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) on the one hand and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner (FChFP) on the other, CIMA certification is the peak, specialist certification for anyone involved in any aspect of constructing multi-asset, multi-manager portfolios.  There are already more than 7,250 CIMA certificants globally.

CIMA certification offers an unrivalled opportunity to formally equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to build better quality investment portfolios – and be recognised for it. 

Stand for more with CIMA certification - register now.

Graham Rich, Managing Partner & Dean

 
 

A quick introduction

 

The CIMA certification mark is owned by the Investment Management Consultants Association® (IMCA®), the global professional association for advanced investment and wealth professionals.

In Australia, CIMA certification is managed and delivered by PortfolioConstruction Forum, IMCA australia's strategic partner for CIMA certification and CIMA continuing education services. PortfolioConstruction Forum is Australia’s specialist, independent, investment continuing education and certification service for portfolio construction practitioners.

Why CIMA? (1.50 min)

 

Who CIMA certification is suited to

 

CIMA certification is ideally suited to anyone involved in any aspect of constructing multi-asset, multi-manager portfolios including:

Practitioners

  • senior private client advisers, researchers and portfolio managers from wealth management companies;

  • fund research analysts and asset consultants from research and investment consulting companies;

  • multi-manager portfolio analysts and multi-manager portfolio managers from funds management, superannuation and wealth companies;

Non-Practitioners

  • business staff from funds management, superannuation and wealth companies.


Recommended prior learning

Financial mathematics and statistics are a significant component of the CIMA certification curriculum. It is therefore difficult to complete the program successfully unless you have studied statistics, financial maths, pure maths, or maths as part of an engineering degree or similar, at tertiary level. It's ok if you're rusty, as the textbook covers all the required knowledge, and it will come back to you (much like a language!). 

However, if you have a few stats/maths papers as part of a broader tertiary degree or you've never studied statistics, financial maths or pure maths at tertiary level, we don't recommend you undertake CIMA certification at this time. Rather, contact us for information about preparatory courses we recommend you undertake before embarking on CIMA certification, and/or other programs we offer that don't have such a reliance on mathematics and statistics (but are still at an advanced level).

 

Why CIMA certification is different

 

CIMA certification sits in a clear and uncluttered space between the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) and the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certifications. While those designations leave practitioners siloed into either the "planning" or "financial analyst" channels, CIMA certification is the peak specialist certification for anyone involved in any aspect of constructing multi-asset, multi-manager portfolios. There are already more than 7,250 CIMA certificants globally, including 165 in Australia.

CIMA certification offers an unrivalled opportunity to formally equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to build better quality investment portfolios – and be recognised for it.

 

The CIMA certification curriculum

 

CIMA certification covers six knowledge domains:
1. governance;
2. fundamentals;
3. portfolio performance and risk measurement;
4. traditional and alternative investments;
5. portfolio theory and behavioural finance; and,
6. the investment consulting process. 

Specific topics covered include:
- Statistics and methods
- Portfolio theories and models
- Client discovery
- Investment Policy Statement
- Applied economics
- Markets history & valuation
- Efficient Market Hypothesis
- Behavioural Finance Theory
- Equity investing
- Fixed income investing
- Issues in asset allocation
- Managing currency risk
- Alternative investments
- Options and futures
- Risk measurements
- Performance measurement
- Portfolio risk management
- Manager selection, monitoring
- IMCA Code of Professional Responsibility
- Regulatory considerations

For more information about the curriculum, download the Detailed Content Outline.

 

The CIMA certification process

 

Overview

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

  • self-directed study before undertaking a two-hour, online Qualification Exam;

  • an executive education program - for Australian-based CIMA candidates, this is the six-day, residential Investment Management Analyst Program (IMAP) in Sydney, delivered by Registered Education Provider, the Paul Woolley Centre of University of Technology Sydney, culminating in a four-hour classroom exam; and,

  • further self-directed study before undertaking a four-hour, online Certification Exam.


Step 1: Registration & Application

2.1 Registration

  • In the first instance, Australian-based CIMA candidates register with PortfolioConstruction Forum to manage them through the certification process including pre-registering for the Investment Management Analyst Program (IMAP). 

  • Within two to three Australian business days of receipt of your registration form, the Forum will advise you of acceptance of your registration, process the one-third deposit of the Registration Fee, and forward your details to the global certifying body, IMCA International.

2.2 Application

  • IMCA International will contact you by email with instructions for completing your online application.

  • You then complete the online application and pay an Application Fee to IMCA International.

  • IMCA International reviews your application against program requirements, and undertakes an initial background check. Usually within five US business days from receiving your online application, IMCA International will advise you whether you have been accepted as a CIMA candidate.

  • If your application is not accepted - both the program deposit paid to the Forum and the application fee paid to IMCA International are refunded in full.

  • If your application is accepted - you become a candidate for CIMA certification and the program deposit and application fee are non-refundable. IMCA International will then advise their independent testing administrator, Applied Measurement Professionals, a PSI business (AMP/PSI) that you are eligible to sit the Qualification Exam.


Step 2: Self-directed study & the Qualification Exam

2.1 Booking to sit the Qualification Exam

  • You will receive an email from AMP/PSI advising you can book to sit the Qualification Exam when you are ready, and explaining the booking process.

  • So you have a concrete goal to study towards, we recommend that within a month after being accepted as a CIMA candidate and receiving the email from AMP/PSI, that you contact them to set a date to sit the Qualification Exam. Currently, AMP/PSI has testing centres in:
    - Sydney CBD - available weekdays;
    - Parramatta - available Friday, Saturday and Sunday;
    - Melbourne CBD - available weekdays (one seat per weekday in the early afternoon);
    - Banora Point (Brisbane) - available Thursday & Friday;
    - Adelaide CBD - available weekdays;
    - Perth - to be confirmed.

2.2  Preparing for the Qualification Exam

  • We will send you a copy of the recommended textbook (the is included in your Registration Fee).

  • You need to sign up for access to IMCA's Candidate Resources Centre (CRC).

  • You also need a scientific calculator - if you don't already have one, past candidates have recommended the Texas Instruments BA II Plus (approx A$60 new). If your financial calculator is quite old, please purchase a new one - they've come a long way in the past five to 10 years!

  • You then undertake a self-paced study program to prepare for the Qualification Exam. Preparation requires a significant amount of reading. We recommended you undertake a strict 10 hours a week study for 10 weeks as well as taking the practice tests available in the recommended textbook.

2.3  The Qualification Exam

The supervised, online, two-hour Qualification Exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions and 10 non-scored pre-test questions (to help you setttle in).

  • Within one week of sitting the Qualification Exam, IMCA International will email you advising of your pass/fail status.

  • If you pass the Qualification Exam - the Forum will contact you about booking into the next available IMAP.

  • If you don't pass the Qualification Exam - IMCA International's email will provide you with a diagnostic report showing your results by major topic areas (so you know where to focus your further study) and instructions on retaking the exam. There is a 30-day stand-down period before you can resit the exam, and a Resit Fee is payable to IMCA International. Once paid, IMCA International will notify AMP/PSI within two to three US business days that you are eligible to resit the Qualification Exam. AMP/PSI will then email you within two to three business days about booking a date to resit the exam.


Step 3: Investment Management Analyst Program & Exam

The IMAP is a very intensive, five-day, residential program delivered by Registered Education Provider, the Investment Management Research Program of University of Technology, Sydney.  IMAP is held at the H.C. Coombs Centre for Financial Studies in Kirribilli, Sydney.

3.1 Booking to undertake the IMAP

  • As soon as you pass the Qualification Exam, the Forum will contact you about booking your place on the next IMAP.  Bookings are taken on first-come, first serve basis with a maximum of 30 candidates per IMAP. On booking, the remaining two-thirds of the Registration Fee is payable to the Forum.

  • The next IMAP program is scheduled for:
    Sun 30 July to Fri 5 August 2017
    (with an optional Quantitative Workshop on Sat 29 July 2017)

3.2  Preparing for the IMAP

  • Approximately a month before the IMAP, the Forum will host a briefing call to run through what to expect and answer your questions.

  • The Forum will provide you with an IMAP Resource Kit to aid your preparation. It requires approximately 10 to 15 hours of reading.

  • We also strongly recommend you complete the optional five-hour Quantitative Workshop the day before the IMAP. It covers much of the statistical knowledge that is presumed prior knowledge for the IMAP. There is no additional fee to attend the Quantitative Workshop, however travel and accommodation to attend it, along with meals on the day, are at your own arrangement.

3.3. The five-day IMAP

The IMAP has been the core of the CIMA program in Australia since it was launched in Australia in 2001.

Led by Professor Ron Bird of the Investment Management Research Program of UTS, the IMAP features an outstanding faculty of academics, most of whom have significant business experience, and leading practitioners in relevant areas.

While the IMAP syllabus is based on the CIMA syllabus, the prime focus of the IMAP is NOT on preparing you for the Certification Exam. The IMAP is instead designed to provide you with up-to-date, in-depth exposure to a range of topics relevant to the Australian context, and to challenge your thinking in a number of areas. The main focus of program is on developing and implementing an 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 very practical.

Held at the H.C. Coombs Centre for Financial Studies in Kirribilli, Sydney, IMAP is an intense program taught over five days with the teaching each day extending from 8am to 9pm (followed by personal and group study), followed by the IMAP exam on the morning of day six.

3.4  The IMAP Exam

The IMAP culminates on the last day with a four-hour, classroom exam. The exam is based on the material taught over the week and consists of 18 essay/numerical questions worth 10 marks (one for each of the 18 teaching sessions in the program) plus 30 multiple choice questions worth two marks each, drawn from each session.

  • Within four weeks of sitting the IMAP Exam, the Forum will email you advising of your pass/fail status. 

  • Once you pass the IMAP Exam - the Forum will advise IMCA International that you have passed. IMCA International will then advise AMP/PSI that you are eligible to sit the Certification Exam.

  • If you don't pass the IMAP Exam - The Forum will work with you and the Investment Management Research Program of UTS to agree a date for you to resit the IMAP Exam. There is no fee to resit the IMAP Exam.


Step 4: Self-directed study & Certification Exam

4.1 Booking to sit the Certification Exam

  • AMP/PSI will email you information about how to book to sit the Certification Exam.

  • So that you have a concrete goal to study towards, we recommend that a month after receiving the email from AMP/PSI, you contact them to set a date to sit the Certification Exam.

  • The Certification Exam is available on US business days in November, February, May and August, at the same testing centres and on the same days as the Qualification Exam.

4.2  Preparing for the Certification Exam

  • You undertake a further self-paced study program to prepare for the Certification Exam. Preparation requires a significant amount of review (recommended 10 hours a week for 10 weeks) of the textbook, and the CRC, as well as retaking the practice tests available in the recommended textbook.

4.3  The Certification Exam

The supervised, online, four-hour Certification Exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and 10 non-scored pre-test questions. 

  • Within one week of sitting it, IMCA International will email you advising of your pass/fail status. 

  • Once you pass the Certification Exam - you are eligible to complete the final step of the CIMA certification process.

  • If you don't pass the Certification Exam - IMCA International's email will provide you with a diagnostic report showing your results by major topic areas (so you know where to focus your further study) and instructions on retaking the exam. You must wait until the next testing window to resit and pay a Resit Fee to IMCA International. IMCA International will then notify AMP/PSI within two to three US business days that you are eligible to resit the Certification Exam. AMP/PSI will then email you within two to three business days about booking a date to resit.


Step 5: Certification

Once you have passed the Certification Exam, you are eligible to complete the certification process online.

  • You must:
    - sign the CIMA Certification License Agreement;
    - answer the disclosure questions for a second background check;
    - commit to the Code of Professional Responsibility;
    - confirm three years' relevant experience; and,
    - pay the initial certification fee.

  • IMCA International then conducts a final background check (which is usually done within five US business days depending on disclosures and findings).

  • If all is fine, IMCA International will email your CIMA certification confirmation.

  • New CIMA certificants receive a framed certification certificate within 8 weeks.
     

Recertification

Your CIMA certification must be renewed every two years following your initial certification. There are three certification renewal requirements.

  • You must:
    - complete and report a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education (CE) credit, including two ethics hours;
    - pay the Certification Renewal Fee;
    - complete a compliance disclosure;
    - confirm continued adherence to the Code of Professional Responsibility, and Rules and Guidelines for Use of the Marks; and,
    - disclose any regulatory actions or complaints.

 

What does it cost?

 

Prices are correct at 1 January 2017 and apply for calendar 2017.

  • Registration Fee:  A$6,000+GST, payable to PortfolioConstruction Forum by credit card, one third on registration and two thirds after passing the Qualification Exam and booking into a specific IMAP. This fee covers the cost of the Forum managing you through the program, the recommended textbook and the cost of the residential IMAP (including lectures, meals, and five night's accommodation at the HC Coombes Centre for Financial Studies in Sydney). All other expenses related to attending the IMAP including travel costs are the responsibility of the candidate. The first  one-third of the fee is payable on registration.

  • Application Fee:  US$600 for IMCA members, payable to IMCA International as part of the application process. This covers the cost of you sitting the Qualification Exam and Certification Exam once each, administrative costs for processing and background checks, and complimentary 12-month access to the Candidate Resource Centre.

  • Scientific calculator:  approx A$60 (new, on ebay)

  • Initial Licensing fee:  US$275 for IMCA members, payable to IMCA International at the last step of the Certification process.

Plus, if you have to resit any of the Exams:

  • Resit Fee - Qualification Exam:  US$125 for IMCA members, payable to IMCA International.

  • Resit Fee - IMAP Exam:  There is no fee for this.

  • Resit Fee - Certification Exam:  US$225 for IMCA members, payable to IMCA International

Plus, every two years, a Recertfication Fee is payable.

  • IMCA Australia members:  US$275, but this is included in your annual IMCA Australia membership fee so provided your membership is current, you don't have a further recertification fee to pay.

  • Non-IMCA members: US$895

 

Getting started - register now for CIMA

 

The first step in your CIMA certification journey is to register by completing the registration form and returning to us. 

Tips to completing the Registration Form
1. Click on the Registration Form link below - save the Registration Form to your computer.
2. Don't complete the form in your web browser, your changes won't save!
3. Browse to where you saved the Registration Form, and open it from there.
4. You will see form fields. You can complete these onscreen including signing (follow the prompts).
5. Save completed Registration Form and email it to mail@portfolioconstruction.com.au

Alternatively, you can print the file and complete it by hand, scan it and then email it to us.

Download the Registration Form

What happens next?

PortfolioConstruction Forum checks your Registration Form and advises you whether your registration has been accepted (at which point the program deposit is charged). We then forward your details to the global certification team who contact you to ge the ball rolling.