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Top 11 Investment Banker Certifications

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Updated 19 min read

Certifications are important for an investment banker in the job market because they provide evidence of specialized knowledge, skills and competencies. They can demonstrate to potential employers that an individual is capable of performing specific tasks or dealing with certain situations. This can be beneficial for those looking to break into the field, as well as those already working in the industry who wish to advance their career. Certifications also help employers differentiate between applicants and can give a competitive edge when applying for jobs. Finally, certifications may also lead to higher salaries and better opportunities for advancement within the field.

This article reviews some of the best certifications available to Investment Bankers and outlines how they can help enhance an Investment Banker's career.

What are Investment Banker Certifications?

Investment banker certification is a voluntary credential that demonstrates an individual’s understanding of the investment banking industry. By obtaining certification, individuals can demonstrate their knowledge and experience in the field to potential employers and customers.

Investment bankers are responsible for helping companies or individuals raise capital, manage investments, and assess financial risks. The certification provides assurance that candidates have the necessary skills and expertise to work in this highly specialized field. Certification also helps ensure that investment bankers adhere to industry standards and regulations.

The certification program includes comprehensive training covering topics such as financial analysis, portfolio management, risk management, compliance, capital markets, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and more. It is designed to teach candidates how to identify opportunities while mitigating risk in their clients’ investments. Additionally, it provides guidance on ethical practices within the industry.

By having investment banker certification, professionals will be able to better position themselves for success within the industry as well as gain respect from their peers. It also shows potential employers that they are committed to staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices. Furthermore, it can give them an edge over other applicants when applying for positions or promotions within the field.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research the requirements for investment banker certification in your area. Depending on where you live, there may be specific certifications or qualifications that must be met before you can become an investment banker. Be sure to check with your local financial regulators and industry associations to get the most up-to-date information.

Related: What does an Investment Banker do?

Top 11 Investment Banker Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Investment Bankers today.

1. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a professional designation awarded by the CFA Institute to financial analysts who have met high standards of education, experience, and ethical conduct. It is one of the most respected credentials in the finance industry and is widely recognized as a mark of excellence.

The CFA Program consists of three levels of exams that must be completed over a period of time. It typically takes four years to complete all three levels, although some candidates may take longer or shorter depending on their individual circumstances. The program requires significant dedication and hard work, as each level requires hundreds of hours of study and preparation.

To become a CFA charterholder, you must first meet the eligibility requirements set by the CFA Institute. These include having at least four years of professional experience in investment decision-making activities or related fields, passing all three levels of the CFA Program exams, and becoming a member in good standing with the CFA Institute.

The cost for taking the CFA Program exams varies based on when you register for them and your location. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,000 USD per exam level plus additional fees for registration and membership dues with the CFA Institute.

2. Certified Investment Banking Associate (CIBA)

Certified Investment Banking Associate (CIBA) is a professional certification program offered by the Global Association of Investment Banking (GAIB). It is designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful investment bankers. The CIBA program focuses on topics such as financial analysis, capital markets, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, venture capital, and other related areas.

The CIBA program consists of four courses: Introduction to Investment Banking; Corporate Finance; Capital Markets; and Mergers & Acquisitions. Each course consists of lectures, case studies, simulations, and hands-on activities that provide participants with an in-depth understanding of the topics covered. Participants must complete all four courses within two years in order to receive their certification.

To obtain the CIBA certification, applicants must meet certain criteria including having a minimum of three years of experience in investment banking or related fields. Applicants must also pass a written exam covering topics from the four courses. The exam is administered twice per year at designated test centers around the world.

The cost for taking the CIBA program varies depending on where it is taken and how many courses are taken at once. Generally speaking, it costs between $2,000-$4,000 USD for all four courses.

3. Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)

Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) is a professional designation offered by the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIAA). It is the only globally recognized credential for professionals in alternative investments, such as hedge funds, private equity, real estate, commodities and structured products.

The CAIA program consists of two levels of exams: Level I and Level II. Level I covers topics such as alternative investment markets and strategies, risk management, portfolio management and performance measurement. Level II covers topics such as asset allocation, derivatives and quantitative analysis. The exams are administered twice a year in March and September.

In order to obtain the CAIA designation, candidates must pass both levels of exams within a five-year period and complete the required work experience. Candidates must also agree to abide by the CAIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

The cost of the program varies depending on whether you register for individual courses or for the entire program at once. Generally speaking, it costs approximately $3,000 to register for each level of exam plus additional fees for study materials and other services provided by CAIAA.

4. Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

Financial Risk Manager (FRM) is a professional certification offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). It is designed to demonstrate an individual’s expertise in financial risk management and their ability to identify, assess, measure, manage and report on risks. The FRM exam covers topics such as quantitative analysis, financial markets and products, valuation and risk models, credit risk, market risk, operational risk, investment management and more.

The FRM exam consists of two parts: Part I and Part II. The exam is offered twice a year in May and November. To be eligible for the FRM Exam Part I or Part II you must complete the GARP registration process.

The cost of the FRM Exam depends on whether you are taking it for the first time or if you have already taken one part of the exam before. For first-time test takers, the cost of both Parts I & II combined is $1125 USD; for those who have previously taken one part of the exam before, the cost of only taking Part II is $750 USD.

It typically takes between 12-18 months to prepare for the FRM Exam depending on your background knowledge and experience in finance. GARP recommends that candidates spend at least 300 hours studying for each part of the exam to ensure they are adequately prepared.

5. Certified International Investment Analyst (CIIA)

The Certified International Investment Analyst (CIIA) is an internationally recognized professional designation awarded by the Association of Certified International Investment Analysts (ACIIA). It is designed to equip financial professionals with the knowledge and skills to analyze, interpret, and manage investments in global markets. The CIIA program consists of four modules: Global Markets, Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management, Financial Risk Management, and Corporate Finance.

It typically takes about six months to complete the CIIA program. During this time, candidates must pass four exams that cover each module. Each exam carries a fee of $125.00 USD. Candidates must also pay a one-time registration fee of $350 USD when they register for the program.

To become a CIIA candidate, individuals must meet certain eligibility requirements. This includes having at least three years of experience in the investment management industry or related field; holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university; and passing an online application process that includes providing references and submitting transcripts from their undergraduate studies.

Once all requirements have been met, candidates can register for the CIIA program through ACIIA’s website or by contacting its office directly. Upon successful completion of all four exams, candidates will be awarded the CIIA designation and will receive a certificate as well as other benefits such as access to exclusive networking events and job postings in international investment analysis fields.

6. Certified Merger and Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA)

A Certified Merger and Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA) is a professional designation that is awarded to individuals who demonstrate expertise in the field of mergers and acquisitions. The certification is offered by the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors (AM&AA), which is an international organization dedicated to providing education, training, and resources for those involved in corporate finance transactions.

The CM&AA program consists of three components: a coursework component, an examination component, and a practical experience component. In order to become certified, applicants must complete all three components within a two-year period.

The coursework component requires applicants to take a series of online courses covering topics such as financial analysis, legal issues, negotiation tactics, and business valuation. The courses are available on the AM&AA website and cost approximately $2,500.

The examination component consists of two exams: one focusing on financial analysis and one focusing on legal issues. The exams are administered by the AM&AA and cost approximately $500 each.

The practical experience component requires applicants to have completed at least five successful mergers or acquisitions transactions over the past five years in order to be eligible for certification. This requirement can be fulfilled through either direct involvement in transactions or through working with another CM&AA as part of their team.

In total, it takes approximately two years to become certified as a CM&AA and costs around $3,500 in tuition fees plus any additional expenses associated with completing the required transactions.

7. Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP)

Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides education and certification programs for professionals in the risk management field. GARP offers two primary certifications: Financial Risk Manager (FRM) and Energy Risk Professional (ERP). The FRM is a globally recognized certification for financial risk management, while the ERP focuses on energy markets and their associated risks.

The FRM program consists of two exams, which are offered twice a year in May and November. It typically takes between six months to one year to complete the program, depending on how much time you have available to study. The cost of the program is $1,250 USD for both parts of the exam or $750 USD for each part if taken separately.

To get certified as a Financial Risk Manager through GARP, you must first register with GARP and pay the applicable fees. Then, you must pass both parts of the exam within three years from when you registered with GARP. After passing both exams, you will receive your official certificate from GARP.

8. Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM)

Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM) is a professional designation awarded by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI). It is a globally recognised qualification that demonstrates an individual’s expertise in wealth management and financial planning. The CWM designation is designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to provide comprehensive advice on all aspects of wealth management, including investments, taxation, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance and risk management.

The CWM program consists of three levels: Level 1 – Foundation; Level 2 – Professional; and Level 3 – Advanced. Each level requires successful completion of exams as well as practical experience in the form of case studies or other assignments. The entire program typically takes 18-24 months to complete.

To obtain the CWM designation, individuals must first be registered with CISI as a Member. This requires payment of an annual fee which varies depending on your country of residence. Individuals must then pass all three levels of exams and submit evidence of their practical experience in order to qualify for the CWM designation.

The cost of obtaining the CWM designation will vary depending on your country of residence and other factors such as whether you are studying part-time or full-time and whether you are self-funding or receiving employer sponsorship. Generally speaking, however, it can cost anywhere from £3,000 - £8,000 ($3,800 - $10,400 USD) to obtain the CWM designation.

9. Certified Private Equity Professional (CPEP)

Certified Private Equity Professional (CPEP) is a professional certification program designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the private equity industry. The certification program is offered by the International Association of Private Equity Professionals (IAPEP). It is designed to give individuals a comprehensive understanding of private equity, including its history, structure, strategies and operations.

The CPEP program consists of three levels: Level I, Level II and Level III. To qualify for each level, applicants must complete a series of courses and exams. The Level I course covers basic concepts such as corporate finance, valuation and financial modeling. The Level II course focuses on portfolio management, due diligence and legal issues related to private equity investments. Finally, the Level III course covers topics such as portfolio optimization, exit strategies and fund raising.

The entire CPEP program takes approximately one year to complete. Applicants can choose to take all three levels at once or take them one at a time over several years.

The cost of the CPEP program varies depending on which level(s) you choose to take. For example, the cost for all three levels is $2,495 USD while the cost for just Level I is $1,395 USD. In addition to these fees there are also additional costs associated with taking exams and receiving certifications.

Overall, becoming a Certified Private Equity Professional (CPEP) requires dedication and commitment but can be an invaluable asset when seeking employment in the private equity industry or when looking to advance your career within it.

10. Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC)

Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC) is a professional designation awarded by the Canadian Securities Institute (CSI). It is designed to recognize those individuals who have demonstrated a high level of expertise and knowledge in the areas of portfolio management, financial planning, and investment analysis.

To become a CIC, applicants must pass an exam administered by the CSI. The exam consists of two parts: a written portion and an oral portion. The written portion covers topics such as portfolio theory, asset allocation, taxation, securities analysis, and risk management. The oral portion tests the applicant's ability to apply their knowledge in real-world situations.

The process of becoming a CIC typically takes between six months to one year from start to finish. During this time, applicants must complete the required coursework, study for the exam, and then take and pass both portions of the exam.

The cost of becoming a CIC varies depending on which courses are taken and how long it takes to complete them. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $3,000 - $5,000 CAD for all associated fees including tuition costs for courses taken through CSI or other accredited institutions.

11. Accredited Investment Fiduciary®(AIF®).

Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) is a professional designation awarded by the Center for Fiduciary Studies, an affiliate of fi360. The AIF® designation is designed to recognize and reward professionals who have met a certain level of education, experience and ethical standards in the field of fiduciary responsibility.

The AIF® designation signifies that an individual has completed a rigorous course of study and has demonstrated knowledge in six core areas: investment policy development; asset selection; portfolio construction; monitoring and review; legal and tax considerations; and fiduciary responsibilities. The AIF® also requires individuals to adhere to a Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

In order to obtain the AIF® designation, an individual must meet certain educational requirements, pass a comprehensive exam, agree to abide by the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, and have at least three years of relevant experience in the financial services industry. The process typically takes between four to six months from start to finish.

The cost to obtain the AIF® designation varies depending on the type of program chosen. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $1,500-$2,500 USD.

Do You Really Need a Investment Banker Certificate?

When it comes to investing, having the right knowledge and understanding can be key to success. Investment bankers are professionals who help companies and individuals make sound investment decisions, manage their investments, and create financial plans that can help them achieve their goals. As such, an investment banker certificate can be a great way to demonstrate your expertise in this field and give you an edge over other applicants in the job market.

The first thing to consider is whether or not you actually need a certificate to do this work. The answer is no – there are no entry-level requirements for investment banking positions, so as long as you have the necessary skills and experience, you should be able to land one of these jobs without any extra qualifications. However, having a certificate could still provide some advantages when it comes to competing for higher-paying positions or gaining access to more lucrative opportunities.

Having an investment banker certificate could also demonstrate your commitment and dedication to the profession. Although most employers don’t require certification for entry-level positions, having one may show that you’re serious about becoming an expert in the field – something employers will likely take note of when considering your application. Plus, if you already hold other certifications related to finance or accounting (e.g., CPA or CFA), then adding an investment banker certificate could further bolster your credentials in that area.

In short, while having an investment banker certificate isn’t essential for entering into the field, it can still offer some benefits when it comes time for job interviews or promotions down the line. Therefore, if you’re serious about pursuing a career in investment banking and want to give yourself every advantage possible, obtaining a certification may be worth considering.

Related: Investment Banker Resume Examples

FAQs About Investment Banker Certifications

1. What certifications are available for investment bankers?

Answer: The most common certifications for investment bankers include the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Investment Banking Professional (CIBP).

2. How do I become certified as an investment banker?

Answer: To become certified as an investment banker, you must meet the educational and experience requirements set by the certification organization and pass a series of exams. Different organizations have different requirements, so be sure to check with the specific organization you are interested in pursuing certification from.

3. What is the cost of obtaining investment banking certification?

Answer: The cost of obtaining certification varies depending on the organization offering it and other factors such as study material costs, exam fees, and registration fees. Generally speaking, CFA certification can range from $500-$2,000 while CIBP certification can range from $200-$1,000.

4. How long does it take to get certified as an investment banker?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to obtain certification depends on the individual's ability to prepare for and pass the exams required by each organization offering it. Generally speaking, CFA certification typically takes 1-2 years while CIBP can generally be completed within 6-12 months depending on how quickly one is able to study for and pass each exam.

5. What job opportunities exist after becoming certified as an investment banker?

Answer: After becoming certified as an investment banker, individuals may pursue a variety of job opportunities including positions in financial analysis, portfolio management, asset management, corporate finance or capital markets.