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IMCA rebrands, expands offerings to attract new advisors

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In a bid to broaden its appeal to both advisors and clients, IMCA is rebranding as the Investments & Wealth Institute.

The previous name didn’t encompass everything the organization provided to advisors, according to CEO Sean Walters.

"If our name makes [new advisors] think 'That's not who I am or what I do,' then that's really inhibiting us from fulfilling our mission," Walters.

Founded in 1985 as the Investments Management Consultants Association, the Investments & Wealth Institute provides education for the advanced wealth manager in the form of the CIMA and CWPA certifications as well as other training programs.

Like the CFP Board's certification, the institute's CIMA has gained popularity among advisors, planners and investment consultants. More than 7,700 professionals hold the CIMA certification. The institute, with more than 11,800 members, including non-CIMA holders, wants that growth to continue.

"I think the CFP is an appropriate first step for financial planners. It's the right first step for most advisors who work with clients on a broad set of needs. We see the CIMA as a next step," Walters says. "They're five or 10 years in and so what are they doing to take their skillset to the next level?"

The rebranding and other initiatives ― the institute is adding a new education partner and a new certification ― has been under consideration for a couple of years.

The new name is likely to boost recognition and credibility with clients, which in turn benefits advisors, Walters says.

The institute is also adding to its educational offerings the Retirement Management Advisor Designation, or RMA. It was previously administered by the Retirement Income Industry Association. The institute will tweak the curriculum to match its other programs and advisors can begin enrolling next year. Walters described it as a natural fit for the organization.

"We wanted to take this one and bring it to the level of quality and rigor we have been known for," he says. "It'll be an advanced option for CFPs and even other individuals who have done retirement planning programs."

The institute will partner with the Yale School of Management to offer an online CPWA certification program next year. It has had a partnership with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business since 2008.

"It's a proof point for why the institute is being expanded and will lead the industry in advance education," Walters says.

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