Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The CIPM isn’t just for junior level performance measurers

While a number of senior performance measurement professionals have taken and passed the CIPM® (Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement) exams (e.g., Carl Bacon, Sandra Hahn-Colbert, Douglas Lempereur, Annie Lo, Neil Riddles, Debi Rossi, Tim Ryan, Jed Schneider, John Simpson), there are countless more who haven't.

Most of the senior folks who took the exams didn't need to prove anything. I suspect many chose to in order to (a) show support for the program, (b) show support for the performance measurement industry, and (c) as an example to others.

I encourage others in our profession, who have nothing to prove,
to join us and take the exam

  • As an example to your staff, associates, and colleagues
  • To help foster and promote the program, which is an excellent one that anyone who considers themselves a performance measurement professional should support
  • For our segment of the industry.
Are the exams difficult? Absolutely. You will need to review the material and study. But your success will be an achievement you’ll be proud of, and carrying the "CIPM" after your name will be a sign to others of your dedication and commitment for our profession, as well as your expertise.

Don't delay any longer; register for the October exam today!


  1. Dave, given that there's a greater-than-zero risk of not passing the first time, some senior people may fear embarrassment. I'd advise discretion, but that's not completely possible at companies that reimburse the program fees. What would you say to them? Thanks, Philip

  2. Philip, I an understand the fear of embarrassment; I was concerned, too, about possibly not passing. Not everyone passes the first time; if they did, the exam would have no value. We know a lot more about the exam today, and thus can provide advice and insights on what to expect. The fear can be a motivator, can it not (to study extra hard)?

    I am sorry, but fear of failing and the resulting embarrassment does not, in my view, justify not trying.

  3. A senior person that fears embarrassment could, if necessary, take the exams without telling anyone, including their employer, and then seek to be reimbursed once they pass. I have seen several people keep a low profile with respect to enrolling and taking the exams, and I can understand why they would take this approach.

    That being said, though, I agree with Dave, fear of not passing the exam (and any potential embarrassment) does not justify not trying. No return without taking risk, right?

    Aside from there being a language barrier, I truly believe that a seasoned performance analyst that applies himself/herself can pass these tests. Granted, some don't take tests well, some may not be exposed to certain topics... more study time and practice will offset that.

    Also, I believe that even if one doesn't pass, they are likely better off than they were prior to enrolling because they were likely exposed to subject matter that they hadn't seen before.

    As instructor for our CIPM classes, I have had the privilege of witnessing many candidates that failed on one or more attempts, but they kept at it and eventually passed. I have tremendous respect for those individuals, and I think perhaps they may know the value of earning the designation more than others, precisely because they worked so hard to achieve it.

    1. John, for those who are not working directly in performance, MCE is a costly matter to earn 45 credit hours in 3 years. Do you think only reading books and articles related to finance will suffice? For those who want to expand their knowledge in investment and write CIPM after their name, this MCE is a costly matter.

    2. Shai –

      It is very possible for CIPM certificants to satisfy the MCE 45 hours with inexpensive activities. Self-study is perhaps the best way to do this. Some examples:

      - Certificants are automatically subscribers to both the CFA Institute magazine (which is, I believe, bimonthly) and the Financial Analysts Journal (which is quarterly). Both publications include articles that are relevant and could qualify for MCE hours.
      - Certificants also receive a 30% discount to the Journal of Performance Measurement, which is the most relevant topical publication for performance analysts. The standard price is 325 USD per year in the USA and 350 USD per year outside the USA, so certificants can get these publications for only 227.50 USD in the USA and 245 USD outside the USA.
      - CFA Institute publishes a periodic Investment Risk and Performance newsletter and a periodic GIPS newsletter. The former in particular includes articles that are relevant and could qualify for MCE hours; the latter may also occasionally include worthy material.
      - Certificants have access to new curriculum readings; perhaps this is the best way of staying current with the required Body of Knowledge (BOK).
      - The recent GIPS conference included two sessions that were broadcast on the Internet for free (and I believe these are or were available on the website for a period of time). I tweeted about these when they were announced, so you may want to follow my Twitter, if you don’t already (@jdscipm).
      - The Spaulding Group hosts monthly webcasts that are inexpensive and excellent training opportunities. Our webcasts are also archived and can be purchased at
      - David Spaulding’s Performance Perspectives newsletter also includes highly relevant information for performance analysts. That can be found at:

      Relevant training within your firm may also qualify, if your firm does this.

      I know that many times certificants think first of getting several hours in “one shot” by attending the annual PMAR Conference ( or the annual GIPS conference. I encourage you to in turn encourage your firm to send someone to these events at least every couple or few years, if not annually. Larger firms may want to rotate people. These events are a good investment for your firm and also provide excellent training and networking opportunities. But for the performance analyst trying to satisfy MCE requirements within their personal budget, I encourage you to consider some of the options I list above. Some planning is recommended, but if you think of it as 15 hours per year, it’s not a staggering task at all.

      Good luck!

    3. Thanks John. I am a bit curious about continuing education for CFA program vs, CIPM. CFAt is very widely popular and still there is no MCE. Is not that strange?

    4. Shai - not really. From what I hear, the question about making continuing education mandatory for CFA charter holders occasionally is put to a vote of the members, and is rejected. That being said, I've seen reports that indicate that a fairly high number of CFA charter holders do continuing education and do keep diaries.

      By contrast, it was decided at the start of the CIPM program that continuing education should be mandatory, and it was never put to a vote of the members (I was in the first group to receive the designation, so can vouch for this fact). Perhaps the CFA Institute decided that they wouldn't repeat what they did with the CFA Program... who knows? If you do happen to be a CFA charter holder as well as a CIPM certificant, I think it's safe to say that a lot, if not most activity that qualifies as continuing education for one program would also qualify as continuing education for the other.

    5. Thanks for throwing lights on my question.

  4. Gregory L. Johnson, CFA, FRMAugust 29, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    The cut-off for registering for the October exam was 7/31.

  5. Gregory, thanks! We posted this in June, so our readers had time then; now they'll have to wait until the spring.


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