The Investment Management Consultants Association implemented changes to its Certified Investment Management Analyst certification program yesterday, the organization said.

Candidates who enroll in the program after July 1 will have to pass a new certification exam.

More financial planners and financial advisory firms are interested in the CIMA designation, especially as they expand and look to hire professionals with advanced knowledge about investment products, said Beau Ballinger, corporate communications manager for IMCA.

To qualify for CIMA certification, candidates must now make portfolio recommendations based on modern portfolio theory and post-modern portfolio theory; develop and recommend an investment policy for an individual or institutional client; analyze performance measurements and recommend the selection of managers; analyze and recommend specific investments and analyze ethical and legal implications of the financial plan, according to the IMCA Web site.

Previously, CIMA designees earned their stripes by passing a qualification exam and successfully completing courses offered either at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, or the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, which included a second exam at the end of the courses.

The IMCA developed the new exam based on findings from a job analysis conducted in 2007. “The job analysis showed us that CIMA professionals work in a variety of different roles in financial services,” said Dede Pahl, the executive director of IMCA. “We have seen increased interest from various sectors of the financial services industry.” Financial planners have taken an increased interest in acquiring the CIMA certification, Ballinger said. In 2007, 15 percent of IMCA’s 7,200 designees were financial advisors from local independent shops or national and regional independent firms, up from 11 percent in April 2003, Ballinger said.

The IMCA developed its new exam requirement while seeking third-party accreditation for its certification process, Ballinger said. The new exam effectively replaces the second test offered at the end of the university course, but only for the purpose of earning CIMA certification. Candidates might end up having to take that second university exam anyway, depending on the school, he said.

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