CIMA mark proves worth

Six out of 10 holders of the designation pull down at least $215K annually

Apr 29, 2013 @ 12:01 am

By Liz Skinner

One of the advisory industry's most expensive professional designations appears to pay off with higher annual income, a new survey commissioned by the organization that grants the certification has found.

About 62% of professionals with the certified investment management analyst designation earn at least $215,000 annually, compared with 18% of other financial advisers who reach this salary level, according to an Aite Group LLC research report sponsored by the Investment Management Consultants Association.

More than one-third of those with the CIMA certification earn $380,000 or more annually, compared with just 6% of other advisers.

The survey included about 200 advisers holding the CIMA mark and 400 advisers without one.

Income disparities remained when removing from consideration advisers with fewer than 12 years' experience and when removing advisers who had attained both the CIMA and the certified financial planner certification, said Sophie Schmitt, senior analyst for Aite Group's wealth management team.


Aite Group performed a similar study last summer on the value of the CFP and concluded that 35% of advisers with that certification and 10 or more years' experience made $215,000 annually or more, compared with 23% of experienced advisers without the credential.

It costs between $7,000 and $11,000 to attain the CIMA designation, according to IMCA, which grants the certification, compared with about $6,000 for a CFP.

There are about 6,500 CIMA designees and 68,000 CFP professionals. About 2,150 advisers hold both certifications.

Marc Freedman, president of Freedman Financial Inc., is a CFP but doesn't hold the CIMA designation.

He said that he would expect those with the CIMA mark to earn more.

“CIMA is the gold standard in investment management,” he said.


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