The Investment Management Consultants Association announced Wednesday that the Certified Investment Management Analyst certification program has met the requirements to become the first financial services credential nationally to be accredited by the American National Standards Institute.

The American National Standards Institute, or ANSI, is a private non-profit organization that oversees and manages thousands of standards, guidelines, and conformance measures that directly impact businesses and consumers in nearly every industry. It also provides third-party accreditation of organizations that certify that products, processes, personnel, services, systems, and certificate programs meet certain international standards.

The CIMA certification has been granted accreditation under ANSI’s personnel certification program.

ANSI is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization, the International Electrotechnical Commission via the U.S. National Committee, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), and other international and regional forums.

Over the past four years, IMCA, which is based in Denver, said it invested “significant resources” to tailor its certification processes, governance, examinations, and requirements to meet the standards of the international standard for personnel certification.

All of IMCA’s changes were designed to enhance and highlight its standards and allow financial professionals a way to demonstrate an elevated level of competence to clients, employers, and other stakeholders.

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“In the future, credentialing organizations that are not transparent, objective, impartial and fair—and accountable through accreditation by a third-party—will fall short,” Sean R. Walters, the IMCA’s executive director and CEO, said in a press release. “The CIMA certification program will maintain the high standards we’ve developed over its 23-year history by continuing to focus on the ‘Four E’s’ of experience, education, examination, and ethics. As a result, CIMA certification has become the new standard for investment advice in financial services.”

To be accredited IMCA had to show the program is open and transparent; fair, objective, and impartial; there are appeals procedures for complaints; illustrate the program is supported by an organization with sound management systems; prove it is autonomous and without undue influence by special interests; and certification is based on a process that consistently distinguishes those who meet a level of competency and skills as an investment management professional from those who do not.

During the past several years as IMCA got ready to apply for accreditation, it set transparent standards for registering education providers, modified the governance structure to address potential conflicts of interest, and separated the education program from the actual certification function.

To be certified, candidates must successfully complete the education portion of the program, currently offered in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and must pass a comprehensive certification examination.

All CIMA certificants are responsible for completing and reporting 40 hours (including two ethics hours) of continuing education every two years.