Investments & Wealth Institute hints at future designation changes

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Already known for offering technically advanced investment knowledge, the Investments & Wealth Institute next intends to augment its in-depth training on retirement planning.

The institute, previously known as IMCA, plans to refurbish and promote its Retirement Management Advisor Program, an advanced certification it added to its educational offerings late last year.

The institute views RMA as a “kind of post-CFP type credential,” explains Devin Ekberg, managing director of education. “CFP is obviously a very broad knowledge base and retirement is one of those domains of that knowledge, but it doesn’t go into the depth that the RMA program does.”

Changes likely won’t come until 2019, say institute leaders, who add that they are evaluating advisor needs for advanced retirement education.

They expect that there could be about 1,000 RMA certification holders in three years' time, but the number could go higher.

“It’s an arbitrary target; we really don’t know what type of demand we’ll see,” says Investments & Wealth Institute CEO Sean Walters.

The institute's other designations have become popular with advisors seeking to enhance their investment knowledge. About 7,600 advisors hold the CIMA designation and 1,600 hold the CPWA designation, which is tailored for planners who work with high-net-worth and ultrahigh-net-worth clients.

"None of our designations are what I would call generalists," Walters says.

The RMA program will offer advisors retirement planning that is more advanced than what is found in other more broad-based designations, according to Ekberg. For example, he points to flooring allocations and unique risk allocations within the retirement model to accommodate the behavioral aspects of a client in a retirement mindset.

“Those are pretty advanced topics,” Ekberg says.

In addition, the training will help advisors adapt to an industry that is moving toward a fiduciary framework.

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“The RMA actually has some very easy off-the-shelf solutions, kind of product decision making models, that if [advisors] follow that model ― they’re already [implementing] those best fiduciary practices,” Ekberg says.

The key, Ekberg says, is that being a fiduciary means more than just documenting your decisions. "You have to substantiate. It's the breadcrumbs that show how you arrived at a decision."

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Practice management Retirement planning Retirement education RIAs Alternative investments IWI