The Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA) has revised its Code of Professional Responsibility, providing more detail on the standards members are expected to adhere to, IMCA, a nonprofit professional association and credentialing organization, announced Wednesday.
The new code has been 18 months in the making and will go into effect May 1. It gives members more guidance on how to meet each of its nine standards, says Sean Walters, executive director and CEO of IMCA.
The overriding principal remains to “act in the best interest of the client,” according to the code, which goes on to define what that means. A typical change that was made during the revision was the breakout of the rule to disclose conflicts of interest. The explanation now says advisors and wealth managers are obligated to try to resolve or manage any conflicts, as well as disclose them to clients.
The code also includes requirements such as providing clients with the information needed to make informed decisions, and responding appropriately to client inquiries. Confidentiality of all client information also must be maintained, according to the code.
Walters says the code meshes well with standards required by other organizations, such as the CFP Board of Standards and the CFA Institute. An IMCA professional review board considers any complaints brought against an IMCA member or certificate holder. Members can be suspended or prohibited from using a certificate designation if found in violation of the code.
IMCA offers the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) certification for financial advisors and the Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA) certification for wealth management professionals working with high-net-worth clients.
Revision of the Code of Responsibility was started before the national debate over the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary rule for retirement plan advisors became heated, Walters says. Since the Department of Labor did not have a timeline for completing its proposal, IMCA decided to move forward with its revisions, he says.
“IMCA and its members have long supported the cardinal principle of putting the interest of the client first,” he says.