Certified FIRMA members must submit their annual Continuing Education Attestation by November 30th annually. Click here to download the current attestation form.
Click here to download the Continuing Education Worksheet in Word format.
The Fiduciary and Investment Risk Management Association ("FIRMA") Board of Directors recognizes our clear responsibility as audit, compliance, and risk management professionals to maintain the highest level of proficiency and skill possible. The changing fiduciary, investment and risk management environment demands not only continuing education (CE), but also the recognition by peers and financial services management that Certified Members of FIRMA aspire to a higher level of professional excellence. Our CE program is designed to ensure that our Certified Members meet this standard.
Our education program has been established and approved by the FIRMA Board of Directors. The Board oversees the implementation and administration of the program with the assistance of the established Education Committee. The chairperson for the Education Committee will be a member of the Board and will keep the Board informed relative to the Committee's activities. The Education Committee will determine the eligibility of education programs for CE credits.
CE Program Requirements:
Certified Members must complete 90 credit hours of qualifying continuing education within each rolling three (3) year period. The CE year is a calendar year and CE requirements begin on January 1st of the year following certification or the year after joining FIRMA, whichever is later. New members must sign the CE form attesting to the FIRMA code of conduct for the first two years following certification. In the third and successive years, all members will report 90 hours of CE on a rolling three-year period.
Certified Members must obtain a minimum of 30 CE credits (out of the total 90 CE credit requirement) specifically devoted to fiduciary or investment audit, compliance, risk management, administration, or operations ("FIRMA-specific"). The remaining 60 general-credit hours may be obtained through courses covering other banking or finance topics, software training, financial sales, or other topics pertaining to the member's job duties.
CE Annual Attestation and Recordkeeping:
Annually, Certified Members must submit the FIRMA Attestation of CE Credits by November 30th to the FIRMA Office. The Attestation Form is the mechanism for Certified Members to attest to the fulfillment of CE credits earned and compliance with the FIRMA Code of Ethics.
Certified Members are responsible for maintaining their individual continuing education records. Use of the FIRMA CE Worksheet (available on the FIRMA website, www.thefirma.org) is encouraged, as it must be submitted by individuals selected for the annual validation process. Recordkeeping requirements include: attendance dates; program title; sponsor; CE hours (specifying if FIRMA specific); and evidence of attendance. Evidence of attendance can include a certificate of attendance, published agenda, or validation of attendance by a supervisor. These records must be available for review if requested by the FIRMA Education Committee.
CE Annual Audit Process
Annually, the Education Committee will select a sample of FIRMA Attestation Forms for the validation process. The Committee will contact the selected Certified Member to obtain a detailed list of CE hours earned and supporting documentation. Additional documentation or information related to the validation of CE programs will be requested if needed. Once the validation is complete, the Education Committee will communicate the results to the Certified Member.
CE Credit Calculation:
CE credits are the actual hours spent in connection with an education program. One CE credit represents a minimum of 50 minutes and a maximum of 60 minutes of active involvement in the program. Time spent in breaks or at meals will not be recognized for CE credit unless an educational related activity has been incorporated during the meal. If a program sponsor determines and awards specific education credits for their program, the Education Committee will accept the exact number of CE credits granted by the program sponsor.
Failure to Obtain CE Credits:
Any Certified Member that fails to acquire and attest to 90 CE credits in a rolling three (3) year period will be placed on a Sustaining Membership status, and will be required to pay an increased Sustaining Membership fee. A Sustaining member may again obtain Certified Membership status by meeting the CE requirements of 90 CE credits in a rolling three (3) year period.
If a request for CE credits is declined by the Education Committee, the Certified Member may appeal this decision to the FIRMA Board of Directors. This written appeal must be accompanied by the Certified Member's summary of benefits derived from the program in question and reasons for the reconsideration of program credit. An appeal for reinstatement of a program for CE credit must be received by the Board within 45 days of the original notification that a program was not approved for CE credit.
Any Certified Member failing to achieve the 90 credit requirements for continuing education may appeal their status with the FIRMA Board of Directors. The Member must present in writing the extenuating circumstances for failure to obtain the required CE credits.
All written appeals will be reviewed by the FIRMA Board of Directors at its next regularly scheduled meeting. The Board will convey its decision to the Member within 30 days following the meeting.
Industry Schools, Seminars, Conferences, Video/Teleconferences
All schools, seminars, educational conferences, and video/teleconferences sponsored by recognized industry organizations will be considered for CE credit. Examples of recognized industry sponsors are American Bankers Association (ABA), American Institute of Banking (AIB), America Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR), Bank Administration Institute (BAI), Cannon Financial Institute (CFI), Certified Financial Planners (CFP), Certified Life Charter Underwriter (CLU), Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), Fiduciary and Investment Risk Management Association (FIRMA), Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), Investment Counsel Association of America, Inc (ICAA), National Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE), National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), National Regulatory Services (NRS) and Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).
National Certification and Licensure Programs
CE credits may be obtained for the actual hours spent taking the certification examination for recognized national certification programs and brokerage series licenses. Formal classroom instruction offered to assist students with national certification programs and brokerage series licenses may be claimed for continuing education. When attending such classes, CE credits will be earned for each hour of classroom instruction, pursuant to the CE credit calculations.
College or University Classroom Courses:
Credit will be given for college or university courses completed with a passing grade which are related to the financial services industry, audit, risk management, compliance, and management. Certified Members must submit evidence of their passing grade from the college or university. Unless otherwise specified, the Education Committee will allow 42 CE credits per course per semester or 30 CE credits per course per quarter. The grade transcript must specify whether the course period was a semester or quarter.
Correspondence Courses and College/University Independent Study:
Courses taken by correspondence or as independent study from recognized industry educational organizations will be considered for approval. These courses must be related to the financial services industry, auditing, risk management, compliance, or management. Certified Members may obtain up to a maximum of 45 CE credits for non-classroom study. Members must submit evidence of their passing grade from the sponsoring institution or organization.
In-House Training Programs:
CE credits may be obtained for industry related education programs taught internally within the Certified Member's organization. Proof of attendance must be provided. Approval of credits obtained may be predicated upon the qualifications of the instructor as well as course content.
Teaching, Lecturing and Research:
CE credits may be obtained for making a speech or teaching an educational program. The credits will be earned for the actual duration of the speech or lecture (minimum CE credit will be 1 hour). CE credit for preparation time and research may be earned for the lesser of three times the actual speech duration or 10 CE credits. Research and preparation CE credits may only be earned in association with the first time a speech/lecture is given during any one calendar year. Speeches and lectures which are repeated during a calendar year period will receive maximum credit of two times the speech/lecture duration.
Certified Members may obtain a maximum of 10 CE credits annually through self-study. Topics of reading and study must be related to the financial services industry, auditing, risk management, or compliance. Hours of self-study may be considered FIRMA specific and must be verified in writing by the Certified Member's supervisor.
Certified Members may obtain a maximum of 10 CE's credits for the authorship of articles or position papers. CE credits will be earned based upon the actual hours spent towards preparation of the written product. The following criteria must be met to receive CE credits for authorship:
CE credits may be earned for attendance at chapter meetings for the financial services industry groups for a maximum of 10 CE credits per calendar year.
Regulatory Update Quizzes:
Quarterly FIRMA Newsletters include a 10 question multiple-choice quiz based upon the Regulatory Update Section of the Newsletter. Certified Members completing the quiz and scoring at least 80% may earn 5 hours of FIRMA-specific CE credit per quiz. All quizzes must be submitted to the FIRMA Office prior to the published deadline and payment must be received prior to or with the quiz. No scoring or granting of CE credits will transpire if payment has not been received.