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Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA Exam)


The term Certified Investment Management Analyst refers to an award issued to individuals that demonstrate expertise in providing investment advice. The Certified Investment Management Analyst, or CIMA, designation is awarded to individuals meeting the standards outlined in American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) ISO 17024 as administered by the Investment Management Consultants Association. CIMA certification is earned by individuals that demonstrate the competency necessary to be an advanced investment consultant.


The Certified Investment Management Analyst Exam, or CIMA Exam, refers to a program consisting of two examinations. Following the successful completion of a Qualification Examination, candidates need to pass a Certification Examination. Once certified, individuals need to renew their certification every two years by completing 40 hours of continuing education, of which two hours need to be dedicated to ethics. Certificate holders must also agree to adhere to IMCA’s Code of Professional Responsibility, Standards of Practice, and Rules and Guidelines.

The Qualifications Exam is an online examination offered at test locations throughout the United States. The exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions and examinees have two hours to complete the test. Candidates must also attend an educational program offered by registered providers to successfully pass this first examination.

The Certification Examination is a 100 question, multiple-choice test that covers five topics, derived from a job analysis survey as described below:

  • Business, Economic, Governance, and Statistical Fundamentals: includes ethics, regulatory considerations, statistics, finance applications, economics, capital markets, and valuations.
  • Portfolio Performance and Risk Measurement: includes topics such as measuring risk and performance as well as their attributes.
  • Traditional and Alternative Investments: includes topics such as global investments, equities, fixed income securities, foreign exchange, options, futures, derivatives in addition to tools and strategies.
  • Portfolio Theory and Behavioral Finance: includes topics such as portfolio models as well as theory, and business finance.
  • Investment Consulting Process: includes topics such as investment policy, portfolio risk management, search, selection and monitoring of managers, as well as the review and revision process.

The Certification Exam is conducted during four test windows each year (February, May, August and November). Passing grades are determined by a panel of subject matter experts. If a student fails an examination, they must wait a minimum of 30 days between exam attempts. Pass rates for the Qualification Exam are roughly 60% (first time and retakes), while the pass rates for the Certification Exam average closer to 53% (50% first time, 55% retakes).

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