CFA IMC – Investment Management Certificate Exam Guide

CFA IMC – Investment Management Certificate Exam Guide – Is there something called a perfect career? The successful seems so perfect that often we miss out on the little imperfections that hinder our growth to perfection. One such flaw is our lack of knowledge to take the right career path. Making an informed choice and bearing the consequences of your decision is one thing and taking a decision solely on the factors of half-baked knowledge is a big risk at the expense of your future. We want to ensure such heinous errors are never made and thus we help you with a detailed approach towards making the right career choice. How?

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Well, if you are dreaming about a career in investment firms it is worth reading this article. We have decoded the nuts and bolts of IMC (Investment Management Certificate) program.

  1. About the IMC Program
  2. IMC Program Completion Criteria
  3. Why Pursue IMC?
  4. IMC Exam Format
  5. Key Highlights of the Exam Format
  6. IMC Exam Weight-age
  7. IMC Exam Fee
  8. IMC Exam Results & Passing Rate
  9. IMC Exam Strategy
  10. Exam Deferral Policy

Why IMC is one for Investment Professionals?

The fund management industry recognizes the IMC course as the entry level qualification of choice and employers of investment management companies seek this certificate as a pre-requisite to hiring any professional for a post.

  • The IMC or Investment Management Certificate is considered to be the first step taken towards establishing a foothold in the investment management industry. Currently there are 15,000 IMC certificate holders and the numbers are growing with each passing year.
  • For those looking to settle down in UK in the future with an investment management as the work portfolio, IMC is the best recognized and established qualification in the UK.
  • The IMC is sure to open doors for many great career opportunities within the investment management industry and bring exciting times for the professional.

About the IMC Program

The Investment Management Certificate (IMC) certificate program is conducted by the CFA Society of the UK (CFA UK). The CFA UK is a society comprising members of the investment industry and the sole aim of the CFA UK is to foster and maintain high standards of professional ability and practice in investment analysis, portfolio management and related disciplines.

The IMC program is considered to be the benchmark entry-level qualification by the investment management industry and the qualification is highly sought after professionals due to its being considered as pre-requisite for any post by the employers. The IMC has been used by most leading investment firms to demonstrate competence for regulatory purposes.

This course is the stepping stone or it lays the foundation of careers in the investment profession. Many IMC holders continue their professional development by studying for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program.

Roles: A professional should be ready for an investment related role with this certificate program. The most common roles include Investment Management, Investment Support, Sales & Marketing and Investment Administration.

Exam: IMC program can be successfully cleared by passing out two examinations

  • Unit 1: The Investment Environment
  • Unit 2: Investment Practice

Exam Dates:  There is no fixed examination window for the IMC program. A candidate is free to give the exam on most working days by scheduling an appointment after registering for the program.

The Deal: Carefully plan out the date when appearing for the exam because the IMC syllabus is updated continuously and it might have changed depending on the selection of the date of the exam.

Eligibility: There is no eligibility criteria specified for the IMC program. However, it is advised that a candidate should at least a hold a bachelor’s degree to enjoy a standing in the industry to boost his career prospects.

IMC Program Completion Criteria

Apart from the successful clearing of the two units there are no further criteria to be met to complete the program successfully.

Recommended Study Hours 

IMC Unit 1: The Investment Environment- candidates are required to devote a minimum of 80 hours for studying for the unit.

  • IMC Unit 2: Investment Practice- candidates are required to devote a minimum of 120 hours or more hours for studying for the unit.

What do you earn? A certificate in an investment programme that will demonstrate a candidate’s level of competence in the investment industry.

Why Pursue IMC?

There are numerous courses available in the industry, the reasons specific to choose IMC or Investment Management Certificate needs to be weighed carefully to come to any conclusion regarding the specific choice. IMC as stated is the very basic course requirement to open the doors of opportunities for a professional in the investment management industry. Also most leading investment firms look out for candidates who are IMC qualified as this course is synonymous to the idea that the candidate is competent enough to be a part of this industry. For regulatory matters too, employers in the industry desire professionals with the IMC course.  This course in the candidate’s resume is sure to boost his job prospects especially in the globally acclaimed professional designations before or immediately after the graduation. The course equips the students with high standards of professional ability and practice in investment analysis, portfolio management, and other related disciplines. IMC is a stepping stone for those who want to achieve further finance designations in the future such as CFA for a better career progression. It is an ideal foundation as the course covers 30% of the CFA Level I curriculum.

IMC Exam Format

IMC Exam details




Source: CFA Society of the UK

Unit 1 Exam
The first exam tests the candidates on the elementary understanding of UK’s financial services industry, international financial markets, understanding of CFA’s use of principles, ethical practices, legal concepts relevant to financial advice, and understanding of UK’s tax system, etc. The test comprises of 85 multiple-choice item sets and the majority of them are fill-gap style questions.

 Unit 2 Exam
The Unit 2 syllabus prepares the students to demonstrate ability to apply statistical & financial techniques, understanding of micro-economics environment & accounting principles, ability to analyse the characteristics, inherent risks, and behaviour of equities, derivatives, and alternative investments, understanding principles of investment management, and more. The exam consists of 105 multiple-choice questions with fill in the gap as the major style pattern.

The multiple choice questions are provided with four answer options while the ‘Gap fill’ question types require candidates to enter a value into the answer field. There are specific formatting requirements (no symbols or letters unless specified in the question), these formatting requirements are always given in the question.

Item sets are the case study type questions.  Candidates are given a short scenario with several questions associated with it.  The material given in the case study does not change with the questions.

Key Highlights of the Exam Format

  • The candidate has one year to sit for the exam. On the expiry of the one year term the candidate has to register again to be able to sit for the exam.
  • Candidates are not allowed more than 4 attempts in a quarter to appear for either one or both the units of IMC or Investment Management Certificate exam. A successful candidate is not allowed any further attempts to increase his score.
  • A period of 3 day waiting after the exam is mandatory to re-register for the exam.
  • Candidates are permitted only one attempt at each unit of the IMC exam per calendar month.
  • Regarding the usage of the calculator during the exam the institute has fixed rules about it. The test center staff provides a Casio fx-83GT PLUS to use in the exam, along with an erasable whiteboard and pen for the workings. It is the responsibility of the candidates to acquaint themselves with the working of the standard calculator. Pearson Vue staff will not provide any support to candidates on the use of the calculator during the examination.

IMC Exam Weight-age

The Unit 1 syllabus covers six topics:

  • Topic 1 – Financial Markets and Institutions
  • Topic 2 – Ethics and Investment Professionalism
  • Topic 3 – The Regulation of Financial Markets and Institutions
  • Topic 4 – Legal Concepts
  • Topic 5 – Client Advice
  • Topic 6 – Taxation

IMC Exam Unit 1

The following 11 topics are covered under Unit 2:

  • Topic 1 – Quantitative Methods
  • Topic 2 – Micro-economics
  • Topic 3 – Macro-economics
  • Topic 4 – Accounting
  • Topic 5 – Equities
  • Topic 6 – Fixed Income
  • Topic 7 – Derivatives
  • Topic 8 – Alternative Investments
  • Topic 9 – Portfolio management
  • Topic 10 – Investment products
  • Topic 11 – Investment performance measurement

IMC Exam Unit 2Source: CFA Society of the UK

Investment Management Certificate Exam Fee

The examinations fee for candidates is the following:

  • Unit 1: Investment Environment   £235.00
  • Unit 2: Investment Practice         £250.00

The exam fee is paid through a secure online payment screen. The society does not invoice for the exam fees, and payment is not accepted over the telephone. VAT is not payable on exams.

IMC Exam Results & Passing Rate

The pass mark varies from between 65% and 75% of all scored questions. It is not necessary to pass each topic area to pass overall. The candidate can pass the exam without any so called test ‘hurdles’ in the IMC. The candidates need to achieve an overall pass score regardless of the marks distributed in the paper.

The results of the IMC exams are handed over to the candidate at the end of the examination at the test center. A print out of the provisional result is given out. The Provisional results are made available online three working days after the examination date. The official results are confirmed by the institute in writing and are posted to the primary postal address within 21 working days from the examination date. The exact score is neither released nor provided nor the details of which questions were answered correctly or incorrectly. It is to be noted that the results (provisional or official) is never given over the telephone. It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure the contact details provided are current and correct, CFA UK does not take the responsibility of misplaced official confirmation letter or certificate.

Provisional Results notification (via Pearson) On the day of the exam at the test center
Provisional Results & Areas of Weakness notification (Online) 3 working days after the examination
Official Results Confirmation and/or Certificate (Post) Within 21 days after the examination

IMC Exam Strategy

  • The course resources are published by CFA UK, in OTM, which provides a broad coverage of the syllabus. Keep this handy as it gives worked examples and calculations, self-assessment questions and a mock examination to test one self’s knowledge.
  • Decide in advance what and how much to study, based upon the unit curriculum and other supplementary study materials.
  • Please learn the formulas as you would not be provided with the same during the examination.

Investment Management Certificate Exam Deferral Policy

A candidate is allowed to reschedule the test appointment online without any extra charge 72 hours prior to the exam appointment time. On missing the test for any reason without any rescheduling, the candidate has to re-register for the exam at their own expense. Missing the exam due to illness or difficult personal circumstances on the day, has specified rules for which please refer to the society’s special consideration policy.


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