IMCA Rebrands To The Investments & Wealth Institute
The Investments & Wealth Institute, formerly the Investment Management Consultants Association® (IMCA®), the leading provider of advanced education for investment and wealth management professionals, offering the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) and Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) certifications, announced several major initiatives
As part of a multi-stage strategic plan focused on positioning the organization for the future, IMCA has changed its name to the Investments & Wealth Institute (“The Institute”). The rebrand is key in facilitating the plan’s objectives for the Institute based on GEARS: Grow, Educate, Add Value, Relevance and Standards.
“We’ve undertaken this change at a time of tremendous strength. For over three decades, our organization has been at the forefront of investment and wealth management education, and the expectation for advanced knowledge and professionalism in the industry is rising,” said Scott Thayer, CIMA®, chairman of the board. “We’re here to meet that growing need. Our new name – the Investments & Wealth Institute – more accurately reflects who we are and what we do, as well as elevates the Institute’s mission by recognizing the contributions we’ve made to the profession’s body of knowledge and our commitment to increase public trust and improve outcomes for investors.”
Members can expect to see the same high-quality educational offerings along with new courses and more options for live and online learning. Certification requirements for the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) and Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) designations have not changed. In addition, a number of benchmark studies are underway to substantiate the importance and value of the CIMA and CPWA credentials for individuals and teams, as well as how these credentials meet the expectations of high-net-worth (HNW) investors. A new website, www.investmentsandwealth.org, will also be unveiled later this year.
“Since 1985 we have established and enforced high standards for advanced practitioners, delivering premier education that offers a unique blend of Ivy League level expertise and practical application,” added Sean Walters, chief executive officer. “The Investments & Wealth Institute will continue to enhance the competency and professionalism of advice delivered to the public. This rebrand re-focuses our identity toward our primary objective, which is to develop and certify ethical, competent professionals to provide clients with comprehensive strategies and advice on how to navigate their investments, and how to grow, preserve and transfer wealth.”
As part of the rebranding effort, IMCA Australia will become the CIMA Society of Australia and the New York chapter will be named the Investments & Wealth Society of New York.
Expanded Collaboration with Yale School of Management
The Yale School of Management has expanded its collaboration with the Institute and is launching an online CPWA Certification Program beginning in early 2018. CPWA certification is the premier wealth management credential created specifically for professionals working with high-net-worth clients. Advisors who earn the certification have demonstrated advanced knowledge and skills in private wealth management, which include learning how to navigate family dynamics and behavioral biases; how to develop sophisticated tax, investment and asset protection strategies for closely held business owners, executives and high-net-worth individuals in retirement; and legacy planning through charitable giving and estate planning.
“Advisors and consultants will now have the convenience of completing the education requirement for CPWA certification online, on-demand with a new program offered by Yale School of Management – opening up the opportunity for many seasoned practitioners to enhance their skills while maintaining their busy practices,” said Jim Dobbs, CIMA®, CFP®, CPWA®, program director, Yale School of Management. “The online learning option provides a significant value-add for executive education students, and we are excited to be the first to offer this option to financial professionals interested in earning their CPWA certification.”
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business continues to offer the program. It has delivered the education requirement for CPWA certification since 2008 and offers an in-depth, in-person executive education experience for candidates.
Acquisition of the Retirement Management Advisor Designation
The Institute has also made a strategic acquisition of the Retirement Management Advisorsm (RMAsm) designation to enhance its existing education offerings and add curriculum for retirement income planning and retirement management. Previously administered by the Retirement Income Industry Association since 2006, the RMA designation offers a unique approach to retirement income planning that focuses on a client-centered fiduciary model, the Procedural Prudence MapSM. The program gives an advisor practical tools, techniques and methodologies that guide his/her decision-making. The result is a set of knowledge and skills that can satisfy their clients’ retirement income needs and wants while complying with the industry’s increasing regulations.
“The RMA acquisition adds to our current educational offerings and leverages training that focuses on building custom retirement income plans to mitigate risks and master the retirement planning advisory process,” commented Thayer. “With the knowledge gained through the RMA designation, advisors can learn advanced strategies and options to better assist clients who are preparing for or living in retirement.”
The Institute defines the bodies of knowledge for all educational offerings, including the CIMA (investments) and CPWA (wealth) designations based on its Investments & Wealth Competency Matrix, a framework from which all Institute educational options are developed.
“Many of the retirement planning educational options available to advisors today were developed with a tilt toward specific product solutions,” explained Walters. “The RMA curriculum touches the knowledge domains within our Investments & Wealth Matrix, so including this program into our offerings is a natural fit.”
In order to earn the RMA credential through the Investments & Wealth Institute, candidates must demonstrate three years’ acceptable experience in financial services, complete an online course component (Level 1), complete an in-person executive education offered in collaboration with premier business school instructors (Level 2) and pass a 100-question examination. To maintain the credential, RMA designees must meet ongoing CE requirements and abide by the Investments & Wealth Institute’s Code of Responsibility. Over the next two years, the Institute plans to enhance the RMA curriculum and faculty and to migrate the certification process toward best practices, so it can meet accreditation standards for personnel certification programs, as it has done with its CIMA Certification program.
Investment in Technology to Provide Higher Level of Service to Members
To better serve members, improve their user experience and meet the needs of its strategic plan, the Institute is making a significant investment in technology with the scheduled launch of a new website, www.investmentsandwealth.org, the installation of a new Online Learning Center and a re-focused site for investors, www.InvestmentHelp.org.
“Our new website, www.investmentsandwealth.org, is scheduled to launch in mid-November as part of our commitment to serve members with a new interface to access our programs and services,” explained Walters. “The site will reflect the Institute’s new branding and members will experience better navigation, faster access to their personal dashboard and expanded member benefits online.”
The Institute has also invested in a new Online Learning Center to enhance members’ learning experience and help participants move more efficiently and effectively through their course work.
“As we continued to expand our online learning programs, we needed a more robust platform that could accommodate a greater depth of content and create a more meaningful learning experience,” said Devin Ekberg, managing director of education. “This investment in our technology infrastructure is all about improving the experience for the end-users: our members.”
“To help educate investors, we are expanding our www.InvestmentHelp.org site,” noted Walters. “Today’s investors have unique needs when it comes to working with a financial professional, maintaining and growing their portfolios and in meeting their goals and objectives. InvestmentHelp.org will provide access to relevant content, thought leadership from experts in the field, tips on working with advisors, a searchable database for CIMA and CPWA professionals and other resources for individuals interested in learning more about the different aspects of their investments and their wealth, and how the Institute’s members can serve their needs.”