Wealth-management training has become the hot ticket at the Investment Management Consultants Association.
IMCA is best known for its Certified Investment Management Analyst designation, which covers investments and portfolio management. But demand for its smaller Certified Private Wealth Advisor program has outstripped supply.
“The problem we have is too many applicants,” said John Nersesian, IMCA board chair and a managing director of wealth management services at Nuveen Investments. “We have to figure out a way to expand capacity.”
Eighty-five people registered for the latest CPWA program, beyond the 50 to 60 class-size limit IMCA tries to maintain, IMCA officials told Financial Advisor at the organization’s Advanced Wealth Management Conference in San Diego on Monday.
As a result, IMCA is considering adding a fourth CPWA class next year, Nersesian said.
The CPWA certification currently has three sessions yearly, offered in conjunction with The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
The CPWA was begun eight years ago to address financial planning issues for wealthy clients. The Advanced Wealth Management Conference provides CPWAs with ongoing training.
Within the wealth management niche, charitable-giving strategies are seeing more interest.
“More than 80 percent of today’s wealthy clients [with $5 million or more in assets] want or need advice around charitable giving,” Nersesian said. “Less than 20 percent are actually having the conversation with their financial advisors.”
With a five-year bull market behind them, “people are feeling richer today [and] have unrealized gains in their portfolios,” Nersesian added. At the same time, higher tax rates have made deductions more valuable.
IMCA is also considering expanding overseas, possibly to the U.K. and Hong Kong.
The organization is “having conversations” with some foreign universities about providing content, Nersesian said, “but there’s nothing to report formally yet.”
The group is also considering offering CIMA content online in addition to its traditional college-based program. IMCA, with about 9,400 members, has 7,500 CIMA certificants and nearly 1,000 CPWAs.
Membership is about one-third independent advisors, one-third wirehouse reps and the final third “everyone else,” including regional brokers, bank trust professionals and asset management people, according to Sean Walters, IMCA’s executive director.