Does it really mean a lot if someone has a string of letters after their name, such as PhD, CFA, CIPM, CPA, CAIA, FRM,…?
Well, I strongly believe that the answer is “yes”!
First, each set of letters represents an achievement. They indicate that the individual had to do something in order to be awarded the letters.
Second, they bring attention to the organization(s) that bestow the letters and the industry for which the letters are linked.
Take, for example, the CIPM: Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement. They let us know that the individual has achieved a certain breadth of knowledge in the field of investment performance measurement. But in addition, they indicate that the field is one that is worthy of recognition itself. Performance measurement is a profession in which many very talented individuals have decided to invest their time and energy; why shouldn’t they and the industry they serve get this recognition?
I’m a bit surprised by the number of investment performance measurement professionals who haven’t yet pursued the CIPM certification. Granted some might say “well, I’ve been in the industry for 20 years so I don’t need the certificate,” which is definitely a truism. My friend Carl Bacon could have easily said this as Carl has achieved quite a degree of notoriety over the years, most of which is well deserved … (sorry; just kidding! all is well deserved). But Carl decided to pursue the certificate in the very first “class.” And why? I believe to honor the profession and the program. Others such as Neil Riddles and Douglas Lempereur did this, too, even though each of them is a CFA charter holder. The latter two, I believe, add credibility to the notion that simply because you have the CFA (as if obtaining it is “simple”) doesn’t mean you have achieved the breadth of knowledge about investment performance which the CIPM program tests you for.
If you’re fairly new to the world of investment performance, you should pursue the CIPM certification in order to gain the knowledge and hopefully designation which will indicate to others what you’ve accomplished. And if you’ve “been at this game” for some time and believe your years speak for themselves, then I encourage you to still pursue the CIPM, if not for you then for the industry.
I occasionally hear folks say “well, the CIPM program hasn’t yet caught on so why bother.” Well, of course it won’t “catch on” until folks like them DO bother. So make the investment: in yourself and in the industry!