How do we Ensure that our Certifications Reflect the Needs of an Evolving Industry?

Posted by Admin on Feb 7, 2018 5:00:00 PM

In order for investment and wealth professionals to remain relevant and competent in a constantly changing financial services industry, their certifications must evolve to address the increasingly complex needs of investors.

The Investment and Wealth Institute’s latest research report,  “Defining the Future of Investment Advice: Industry Dynamics & CIMA Job Analysis Study,” produced in partnership with Human Resources Research Organization™(HumRRO), explores the process and outcomes of investment professionals worldwide to determine the advanced knowledge professionals need to deliver the highest level of investment advice.

By regularly conducting a job analysis study, which in this study identified more than 500 knowledge, skills and tasks required to effectively perform investment advisor and/or investment consultant activities, the Institute is working to ensure that initial and ongoing certification requirements reflect current professional practices, and enhance the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) program.

The quantitative study surveyed 2,050 investment advisors and consultants between August and September 2017, augmented with qualitative focus groups composed of subject matter experts. The survey asked participants to rate a series of knowledge and skill statements using a variety of metrics like importance, time spent performing a task, level of ability required for tasks, and relevance of certain knowledge required to perform the job.

Study Findings

Key findings indicated that:

  • 99 percent of respondents rank applying ethical standards throughout the client process as an important task, and 97 percent say that knowledge of fiduciary responsibilities for different types of clients (e.g., individuals, endowments, trusts, retirement plan clients) are also important.
  • Advisors placed substantial emphasis on passive investment vehicles and strategies, with 92 percent of respondents rating it as an important knowledge set to have.
  • A new topic area outlining responsible investing, which includes ESG (environment, social and governance), impact investing and socially-responsible investing, was rated as important by 72 percent of respondents.
  • Advisors demonstrated particular interest in leveraging behavioral economics, with 91 percent saying it is important to customize their own communication style based on clients' behavioral investment types, and 80 percent believing it is critical to discuss clients' biases and mental heuristics to illustrate potential impact on outcomes.
  • 97 percent felt that investment advisors should understand the types of risk to which clients are exposed, and 98 percent rank managing portfolio risk as an important or critical skill for investment advisors.

Resulting Changes to CIMA Certification

Based on the study’s findings, the CIMA Certification Commission subsequently revised, consolidated and simplified the CIMA Core of Body of Knowledge into five knowledge domains covering 22 knowledge sections that investment advisors and consultants with at least three years’ experience will be required to know. The following changes were made to the CIMA certification program:

  • A new section on real assets will be created.
  • Substantial additional emphasis has been made on passive investment vehicles and strategies, including a new section covering investment philosophies and styles.
  • A new topic area outlining responsible investing will include investment analysis and portfolio construction related to ESG factors, impact investing and socially responsible investing.
  • An expanded and consolidated application domain, “Portfolio Construction and Consulting Process,” which includes greater content focus on the application of ethics and fiduciary principles and guidelines.
  • Knowledge and skills related to behavioral finance will be enhanced substantially.
  • Knowledge and skills related to portfolio risk management will be enhanced substantially.
  • Additional emphasis on tax and regulatory education through the executive education program and ongoing continuing education will be implemented.

These changes will commence June 1, 2018. The revised body of knowledge will be taught by the providers that deliver the executive education programs: The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the Chicago Booth School of Business, Yale School of Management, and the Investment Management Research Program at the University of Technology, Sydney. The revised, integrated CIMA certification examination requirement will be administered commencing August 1, 2018 at Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide.

Learn about the “ Defining the Future of Investment Advice: Industry Dynamics & CIMA Job Analysis Study,” or about the changes to the CIMA Certification Program. 

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