How to become a CIMA® certificant

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 advocates. 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.

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 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 a technical (e.g. engineering or architecture) degree at tertiary level. It's ok if you're very rusty - the textbook covers all the required knowledge and we provide specific financial mathematics and statistics study resources. As long as you cover those in your study, it will come back to you (much like a language!).

If you have just a few maths/stats 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. Rather, contact us for information about a preparatory course you can undertake before embarking on CIMA certification and/or other programs we offer that don't have such an emphasis on mathematics/statistics (but are still at an advanced level).

The CIMA certification curriculum in detail

The CIMA certification curriculum covers six core topics.

1. Governance
    - IMCA Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards of Practice
    - Regulatory Considerations

2. Fundamentals
    - Statistics and Methods
    - Applied Finance and Economics
    - Global Capital Markets History and Valuation

3. Portfolio performance and risk measurement
    - Attributes of Risk
    - Risk Measurements
    - Performance Measurement and Attribution

4. Traditional and alternative investments
    - Traditional Global Investments (Equity and Fixed Income)
    - Fixed-Income Vehicles
    - Foreign Exchange Market
    - Alternative Investment
    - Options, Futures, and Other Derivatives
    - Tools and Strategies Based on Technical Analysis

5. Portfolio theory and behavioural finance
    - Portfolio Theories and Models
    - Behavioral Finance Theory

6. The investment consulting process
    - Client Discovery
    - Investment Policy Statement (IPS)
    - Portfolio Risk Management Strategies
    - Manager Search, Selection, and Monitoring
    - Perform Portfolio Review and Revisions Process

A detailed breakdown of the CIMA curriculum is available in 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 (IMAC) in Sydney, delivered by Registered Education Provider, the Investment Management Research Program 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: Enrol & Apply


2.1 Enrol

  • In the first instance, Australian-based CIMA candidates enrol with PortfolioConstruction Forum to manage them through the certification process including reserving their place in the next Investment Management Analyst Program (IMAC). 

  • Within two to three Australian business days of receipt of your enrolment form, the Forum will confirm your enrolment and process one-third of the Program Fee before forwarding your enrolment to the global certifying body, IMCA International.


2.2 Apply

  • Within five US business days of receiving your enrolment from the Forum, IMCA International will contact you by email with instructions for completing an online application.

  • Once you complete the application and pay an Application Fee, IMCA International reviews your application against program requirements and undertakes an initial background check. Usually within five US business days from receiving your 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 will be 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 advise their independent testing administrator, Applied Measurement Professionals, a PSI business (AMP/PSI), that you are eligible to book a date to sit the Qualification Exam.


Step 2: Self-directed study & the Qualification Exam


2.1 Book your Qualification Exam

  • You will receive an email from AMP/PSI advising you are eligible to book to sit the Qualification Exam.

  • So you have a concrete goal to study towards, we recommend that you immediately book 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
    - Salisbury Heights, Adelaide
    - Perth - to be confirmed


2.2  Preparing for the Qualification Exam

  • We will post you a copy of the CIMA certification textbook (The Investment Advisor Body of Knowledge + Test Bank: Readings for the CIMA Certification published by Wiley). We will email you two additional texts focused on financial maths and valuation techniques. The cost of these resources is included in your Enrolment Fee.

  • You sign up for access to IMCA's Candidate Resources Centre (CRC) - it contains useful additional study materials.

  • You 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, it pays to 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 and study. We recommended you undertake 10 hours a week study for 10 weeks, as well as taking the practice tests available in the CIMA certification textbook and financial maths text.


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 settle 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 Investment Management Analyst Course (step 3).

  • 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 Qualification Exam.


Step 3: Investment Management Analyst Course (IMAC) & Exam

The IMAC is a very intensive, six-day, residential program delivered by Registered Education Provider, the Investment Management Research Program of University of Technology, Sydney and led by course director, Professor Ron Bird.  IMAC is held at the H.C. Coombs Centre for Financial Studies in Kirribilli, Sydney.

3.1 Booking to undertake the IMAC

  • When you enrol for the CIMA program, your place is reserved on the next available IMAC. There are a maximum of 30 candidates per IMAC. Two months prior to the IMAC, the Forum will contact you to finalise your booking and the remaining two-thirds of your Enrolment Fee is payable.  

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

3.2  Preparing for the IMAC

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

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


3.3. The five-day IMAC

The IMAC 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 IMAC features an outstanding faculty of academics, most of whom have significant business experience, and leading practitioners in relevant areas.

While the IMAC syllabus is based on the CIMA syllabus, the prime focus of the IMAC is NOT on preparing you for the Certification Exam. The IMAC is 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 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 very practical.

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


3.4  The IMAC Exam

The IMAC 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 IMAC Exam, the Forum will email you advising of your result. 

  • If you pass the IMAC Exam - the Forum will advise IMCA International that you have passed and IMCA International will then advise AMP/PSI that you are eligible to book to 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 fee to resit the IMAC Exam.


Step 4: Self-directed study & Certification Exam


4.1 Booking to sit the Certification Exam

  • You will receive an email from AMP/PSI advising you are eligible to book to sit the Certification Exam.

  • So you have a concrete goal to study towards, we recommend that you immediately book 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 (see 2.1 above).


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 (again, a recommended 10 hours a week for 10 weeks) of the textbooks, the materials within the CRC, as well as retaking the practice tests available through the CIMA certification 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. 

  • If 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 email you within two to three business days about booking a date to resit it.


Step 5: Certification

Once you have passed the Certification Exam, you are eligible to complete the certification process. This is done 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 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 you to confirm your CIMA certification.

  • The Forum will then send you a framed certification certificate within 8 weeks, and you will begin to receive the Forum's monthly CIMA Circular email, we'll give you access to CIMA Central (our online CE resource for CIMA certificants), and we'll alert you to our CIMA Connect events (an opportunity for an interchange of ideas and developments including networking with your fellow CIMA certificants)
    .

Recertification

CIMA certification must be renewed every two years following initial certification. 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.

  • Enrolment Fee:  A$6,000+GST, payable to PortfolioConstruction Forum by credit card, one third on enrolment, and two thirds after passing the Qualification Exam and finalising your IMAC booking. This fee covers the cost of the Forum managing you through the program, the recommended textbook and the cost of the residential IMAC (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 IMAC including travel costs are the responsibility of the candidate.

  • 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 - IMAC 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 - this fee is paid as part of your annual IMCA Australia membership fee, so as long as your IMCA Australia membership remains current, you won't have any further fee to pay to IMCA International on recertification.

  • Non-IMCA Australia members: US$895

Getting started - enrol now for CIMA

The first step in your CIMA certification journey is to enrol by completing the enrolment form and returning it to us. 

Tips to completing the Enrolment Form
1. Click on the Enrolment Form link below - save the Form to your computer. DON'T complete it in your web browser, your changes won't save!
2. Browse to where you saved the Form, and open it from there. Complete the form fields onscreen including signing (follow the prompts).
3. Save your completed Form and then email it to mail@portfolioconstruction.com.au

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

Download the Enrolment Form

What happens next?

The CIMA certification process steps are explained in full in "2. The Process" above
 


 


 

 

About CIMA >