Professional Designations take Expanded Role in New SEC Form ADV Brochure Supplement

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IMCA offers detailed descriptions of its certification programs to help advisors comply with new regulations.

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IMCA’s credentialing programs are designed to meet certification industry standards, and advisors can include them in the Brochure with pride and confidence.

Under new SEC regulations that go into effect on October 12, 2010, with compliance required by March 31, 2011, investment advisors registered with the SEC must provide supplemental brochures describing their educational and business backgrounds. This is the first time individual investment advisors will be obliged to supply this information. Although advisors are not required to list their professional designations in the Brochure, those who do must also include information about the minimum qualifications necessary to earn and maintain their credentials. Additionally, advisors who lose their designations for reasons other than non-payment of dues must disclose the circumstances of the event.

The Brochure Supplement is one of many amendments to Part 2 of Form ADV passed by the SEC to ensure clients receive pertinent information about advisors’ experience. To assist advisors with compliance, Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA®) is sharing concise, jargon-free explanations of its certifications with investment firms and IMCA members. IMCA, the premier membership association for investment consultants and wealth management professionals, administers the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®), Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®), and Certified Investment Management Consultant (CIMC®) certifications.

The amendments to Form ADV are part of a trend toward increased regulation of financial services designations as industry authorities continue to place credentialing organizations under greater scrutiny. IMCA is committed to upholding the legitimacy of its marks.

“IMCA embraces increased scrutiny of the value of financial services credentials. There are a lot of certificate programs out there that aren’t supported by high standards,” said Sean R. Walters, CAE, Executive Director and CEO of IMCA. “IMCA’s credentialing programs are designed to meet certification industry standards, and advisors can include them in the Brochure with pride and confidence.”

As a not-for-profit education and certifying agency, IMCA administers its credentialing programs using certification requirements commonly known as the “Four E’s”: experience, education, examination, and ethics. Licensees must meet recertification requirements every two years, including 40 hours of continuing education credit on accepted topics. IMCA also maintains a Professional Review Board to review, investigate, and rule on violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility to which all CIMA, CPWA, and CIMC licensees must adhere. Failure to abide by the rules set forth in these documents can result in the loss of the designation, and under the new SEC rules, advisors will now be required to disclose this to their clients.

Advisors who choose to list their professional designations in the Brochure Supplement not only will provide clients additional disclosure but also will help protect the value of their credentials. As the public becomes more aware of the professional standards associated with each certification or designation, consumers will be able to make more educated decisions to find the advisor that best suits their needs. Full descriptions available for use in Brochure Supplements can be found below or at http://www.imca.org . In addition, a complimentary IMCA white paper with more details about the new regulations is available at http://www.imca.org/cms_images/file_1592.pdf .

Descriptions about CIMA, CPWA, and CIMC certifications for Brochure Supplements:

Certified Investment Management Analyst℠ (CIMA®)
The CIMA certification signifies that an individual has met initial and on-going experience, ethical, education, and examination requirements for investment management consulting, including advanced investment management theory and application. Prerequisites for the CIMA certification are three years of financial services experience and an acceptable regulatory history. To obtain the CIMA certification, candidates must pass an online Qualification Examination, successfully complete a one-week classroom education program provided by a Registered Education Provider at an AACSB accredited university business school, and pass an online Certification Examination. CIMA designees are required to adhere to IMCA’s Code of Professional Responsibility, Standards of Practice, and Rules and Guidelines for Use of the Marks. CIMA designees must report 40 hours of continuing education credits, including two ethics hours, every two years to maintain the certification. The designation is administered through Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA®).

Certified Private Wealth Advisor℠ (CPWA®)
The CPWA designation signifies that an individual has met initial and on-going experience, ethical, education, and examination requirements for the professional designation, which is centered on management topics and strategies for high-net-worth clients. Prerequisites for the CPWA designation are: a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or one of the following designations or licenses: CIMA®, CIMC®, CFA®, CFP®, ChFC® or CPA license; acceptable regulatory history as evidenced by FINRA Form U-4 or other regulatory requirements; five years of professional client-centered experience in financial services or a related industry; and two letters of reference from an IMCA member, professional supervisor, or currently licensed professional in financial services or a related industry. CPWA designees must complete a six-month pre-class educational component and a five-day classroom education program through The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. CPWA designees are required to adhere to IMCA’s Code of Professional Responsibility and Rules and Guidelines for Use of the Marks. CPWA designees must report 40 hours of continuing education credits, including two ethics hours, every two years to maintain the certification. The designation is administered through Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA®).

Certified Investment Management Consultant℠ (CIMC®)
As of December 2003, new CIMC certifications are no longer granted. When the designation was issued, its content focused on investment consulting. Current CIMC designees can maintain the designation through Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA®). CIMC designees are required to adhere to IMCA’s Code of Professional Responsibility, Standards of Practice, and Rules and Guidelines for Use of the Marks. CIMC designees must report 40 hours of continuing education credits, including two ethics hours, every two years to maintain the designation.

Based in Denver, IMCA was established in 1985 to deliver the premier investment consulting and wealth management credentials and world-class educational offerings -- membership, conferences, research, and publications. The cornerstone of IMCA is the Certified Investment Management Analyst℠ or CIMA® certification, the only advanced certification designed specifically for investment consultants. IMCA also delivers the advanced credential for wealth management professionals working with high-net-worth clients, the Certified Private Wealth Advisor℠ or CPWA® designation.

IMCA® is a registered trademark and Investment Management Consultants Association℠ and Certified Investment Management Analyst℠ are service marks of Investment Management Consultants Association Inc. and denote the highest quality of standards and education for financial professionals. CIMA®, CIMC®, CPWA® are registered certification marks of Investment Management Consultants Association Inc. Certified Private Wealth Advisor℠ is a pending certification mark of Investment Management Consultants Association Inc. Investment Management Consultants Association Inc. does not discriminate in educational opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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