BOSTON -- IMCA is updating the curriculum and exams for its CIMA certification to better prepare advisors for a changing industry, the association said at its annual conference.

"CIMA certification has been updated because your roles and responsibilities have changed," IMCA Chairman John Nersesian told attendees in Boston on Monday.

The revised curriculum and exam, which follow job analysis research conducted for IMCA, are putting greater emphasis on such topics as risk management, alternative investments, behavioral finance, governance and the investment consulting process.

"CIMA is evolving with the advisor's needs," explains Sean Walters, executive director and CEO of IMCA. "This certification broadens their base of knowledge and makes them more effective dealing with institutional or individual clients."

The changes, which are effective as of May 1, do not affect advisors who currently hold a CIMA certification.


As part of the update, IMCA is expanding education on alternative investments. The move comes shortly after the association partnered with CAIA, the Chartered Alternative Investment Association, to produce an entry-level education program on the fundamentals of alternatives.

The investment consulting process, which is the largest subject area of the CIMA certification, is now organized into a single five-step process, whereas it was previously integrated into different subject areas of the curriculum.

IMCA is also enlarging aspects of the curriculum that deal with fiduciary and regulatory responsibilities, in keeping with an organizational goal to broaden ethics training.

The job analysis research, conducted by testing company Applied Measurement Professionals, surveyed more than 750 retail and institutional advisors in the United States, Canada and Australia.

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