CFA IMC – Investment Management Certificate Exam Guide

Updated on March 27, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM


Is there something called a perfect career? Unfortunately, success seems so perfect that we often miss out on the little imperfections that hinder our growth. One such flaw is our lack of knowledge to make the right career decision. 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 blatant errors are never made, and thus we help you with a detailed approach towards making the right career choice. How?

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

Why is IMC one for Investment Professionals?

The fund management industry recognizes the IMC course as an entry-level qualification. Accordingly, employers of investment management companies seek this certificate as a prerequisite to hiring any professional for a post.

  • The IMC or Investment Management Certificate is considered the first step to 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 the UK in the future with investment management as the work portfolio, IMC is the best recognized and established qualification in the UK.
  • The IMC will 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. 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 the benchmark entry-level qualification by the investment management industry. As a result, professionals highly seek this qualification because it is considered a prerequisite for any post by employers. In addition, most leading investment firms have used the IMC to demonstrate competence for regulatory purposes.

This course is the stepping stone, and it lays the foundation of careers in the investment profession. In addition, 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 for the exam because the IMC syllabus is updated continuously. It might change depending on the selection of the exam date.

Eligibility: There are no eligibility criteria specified for the IMC program. However, it is advised that a candidate should at least hold a bachelor’s degree to enjoy 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.

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

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

What do you earn? A certificate in an investment program 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 to choose IMC or Investment Management Certificate need to be weighed carefully to reach a specific conclusion. IMC, as stated, is a fundamental course required to open the door of opportunities for a professional in the investment management industry. Also, most leading investment firms look out for IMC-qualified candidates. This course is synonymous with the idea that the candidate is competent enough to participate in this industry. Employers also desire professionals with the IMC course for regulatory matters. Therefore, this course in the candidate’s resume boosts job prospects, especially in the globally acclaimed professional designations before or immediately after graduation. The course equips the students with high practice standards in investment analysis, portfolio management, and other related disciplines. IMC is a stepping stone for those who want to achieve finance designations in the future, such as CFA, for a better career progression. It is an ideal foundation covering 30% of the CFA Level I curriculum.

IMC Exam Format

IMC Exam Format 2020

Unit 1 Exam

The first exam tests the candidates on the elementary understanding of the UK’s financial services industry, international financial markets, understanding CFA’s use of principles, ethical practices, legal concepts relevant to financial advice, and understanding of the UK’s tax system, etc. The test comprises 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 the ability to apply statistical & financial techniques, understand microeconomics environment & accounting principles, 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’ questions require candidates to enter a value into the answer field. In addition, there are specific formatting requirements (no symbols or letters unless specified in the question); these formatting requirements are always given.

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.

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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 sit for the exam.
  • Candidates are not allowed more than four attempts in a quarter to appear for either one or both of the IMC exam units. A successful candidate is not allowed any further attempts to increase his score.
  • A period of 3 days 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 calculator usage during the exam, the institute has fixed rules about it. The test center staff provides a Casio fx-83GT PLUS for the exam and 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 support candidates using the calculator during the examination.

IMC Exam Weight-age

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
Content AreaQuestion Allocation
Financial Markets and Institutions12% – 24%
Ethics and Investment Professionalism6% – 18%
Regulation & Legal Concepts29% – 41%
Client Advice18% – 29%
Taxation in the UK12% – 24%

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
Content AreaQuestion Allocation
Quantitative Methods10% – 19%
Economics (Micro & Macro)5% – 14%
Accounting10% – 19%
Asset Classes
​(Equities, Fixed income, Derivatives, Alternative Investments)
24% – 29%
Investment Theory, Management & Measurement24% – 29%

Source: CFA Society of the UK

Investment Management Certificate Exam Fee

The examinations fee for candidates is the following:

  • Unit 1: Investment Environment £280.00
  • Unit 2: Investment Practice £300.00

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

IMC Exam Results & Passing Rate

The passing marks vary between 65% and 80% 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. However, 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 printout of the provisional result is given out. The provisional results are available online three working days after the examination date. The institute confirms the official results in writing and is posted to the primary postal address within 21 working days from the examination date. The exact score is neither released nor provided, and the details of which questions were answered correctly or incorrectly aren’t given. It is to be noted that the results (provisional or official) are never given over the telephone. The candidate’s responsibility is to ensure the contact details provided are current and correct. CFA UK does not take responsibility for misplaced official confirmation letters or certificates.

Provisional Results notification (via Pearson)On the day of the exam at the test centre
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

  • CFA UK publishes the course resources, which provide broad syllabus coverage. Keep this handy as it gives solved examples and calculations, self-assessment questions, and a mock examination to test one’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 they will not provide you the same during the examination.

Investment Management Certificate Exam Deferral Policy

A candidate can reschedule the test appointment online without an extra charge 72 hours before the exam appointment. On missing the test for any reason without rescheduling, the candidate must 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.

Reader Interactions


  1. neeraj says

    Awesome article…but how can this be given from India?.

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Hi Neeraj,



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