IMCA Applied Behavioral Finance Certificate Program

No matter what’s happening with interest rates or whether the market is up or down, behavioral finance affects us all—client and advisor alike. Understanding that we’re subject to the forces of behavioral finance and how to work with those forces to clients’ advantage can greatly enhance the advisor-client relationship.

IMCA’s online Applied Behavioral Finance Certificate Program is designed to help advisors address common financial decisions that trip up investors. Featuring notable experts from leading business schools, the program presents in-depth, thoughtful, and interesting research from the field today. Then, we’ll take it a step further and give you strategies and tactics to help you translate what you’ve learned to your own experience working with clients, including tips from notable practitioner and New York Times Bucks Blog columnist Carl Richards.

Program Access and Registration Information

The Applied Behavioral Finance Certificate Program is hosted on the eLearning platform Desire2Learn. You will not be able to access the Applied Behavioral Finance certificate program until your registration is activated in the Desire2Learn platform. This upload will take place within two (2) business days of your registration. At that time, you will receive an e-mail from that will include the login information necessary for you to access the program materials. To ensure that you receive this e-mail, please add this e-mail address to your list of safe senders.

Registration Cost  
IMCA Members US$695 Register
Join & Learn US$895 Register
Non-Member US$1190 Register
Click here to download a hardcopy registration form.    

Once enrolled in Applied Behavioral Finance Certificate Program, you will have access to the program materials for eleven (11) months. For group rates contact Suzie Byrnes (west coast/mid-west companies) and/or Lara Davies (east coast companies).

Faculty Highlights

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University. His interests span a wide range of behaviors, and his sometimes unusual experiments are consistently interesting, amusing, and informative, demonstrating profound ideas that fly in the face of common wisdom. He is a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the author of New York Times bestsellers Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality. His latest book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves, takes a thought-provoking look at our preconceptions about dishonesty and urges us to take an honest look at ourselves.

Andrew W. Lo is the Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management and director of MIT's Laboratory for Financial Engineering. His research is focused on the fundamental aspects of investments and financial markets, including measuring illiquidity risk in hedge-fund returns, the growth of systemic risk in the hedge-fund industry, and evolutionary and neurobiological models of individual risk preferences and financial markets.


Tobias Moskowitz is the Dean Takahashi ’80 B.A., ’83 M.P.P.M. Professor of Finance at Yale School of Management. Previously, he was Fama Family Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he has taught courses in finance, investments, and asset pricing since 1998. His work focuses on asset pricing, portfolio choice, risk sharing, market efficiency, real estate markets and finance, and empirical corporate finance since 1998. The American Finance Association recognized him with its 2007 Fischer Black Prize, which is awarded biennially to the top finance scholar in the world under the age of 40. He also received the Ewing Marion Kauffman Medal in 2012 for top research in entrepreneurship.

Meir Statman is the Glenn Klimek Professor of Finance at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University and a visiting professor at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. His research in behavioral finance targets how investors and managers make financial decisions and how these decisions are reflected in financial markets. He is author of the book What Investors Really Want, as well as research papers published in the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, the Financial Analysts Journal, the Journal of Portfolio Management, the Journal of Investment Consulting, and many other scholarly publications.

Cancellation Policy
No refunds are available once registration has been processed. Participation is not transferable between individuals.


Each module consists of:

  • Introduction
  • Core education, in the form of videos and exercises; deeper dive resources for reading, enhanced application
  • Practical applications, including sketches from Carl Richards, known for his ability to communicate complex financial concepts to clients through sketches as featured regularly in The New York Times and other publications
  • A comprehension quiz

Why Behavioral Finance?

  • Module 1: Meir Statman, Ph.D., University of Santa Clara
    • Core education covering: the difference between behavioral finance and standard finance; distinction between normal and rational investors and the need for a consequently different framework; behavioral portfolio theory; applications for behavioral finance beyond investments.
  • Module 2: Toby Moskowitz, Ph.D., University of Chicago, Booth
    • Core education covering: motivation; how investors behave; biases and misperceptions; the relationship of behavioral finance to market efficiency.
  • Module 3: Andrew Lo, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Core education covering: role of human behavior in economic markets, addressing efficient markets.

Principles of Behavioral Finance

  • Module 4: The Psychology of Money: Dan Ariely, Ph.D., Duke University
    • Core education covering: opportunity cost neglect, mental accounting, anchoring, money illusion, sunk cost effect.
  • Module 5: How Do Investors Behave? Toby Moskowitz, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: psychological evidence on behavior, specifically “funny thinking” (e.g. overconfidence, overreaction, underreaction) and “funny feeling” (e.g. loss aversion, framing, anchoring).
  • Module 6: Thinking Styles, Heuristics: Courtney Pullen, Conversant Solutions
    • Core education covering: mental shortcuts that lead to errors, biases; thinking styles and stereotypes, and how to understand and navigate them.
  • Module 7: Neuroscience and Culture, Courtney Pullen and Meir Statman, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: brain anatomy, defensive responses and how to overcome them personally and with clients; the role of culture in behavioral finance, accounting for cultural differences with clients.
  • Module 8: Bounded Rationality, Andrew Lo
    • Core education covering: maximizing vs. satisficing, neuroanatomy, delays in cognition in response to pain, planning behavior.

Behavioral Finance and Investing

  • Module 9: Now Versus Later: Dan Ariely, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: lack of self-control, hyperbolic discounting, ego depletion, availability bias, and herding.
  • Module 10: Loss Aversion: Dan Ariely, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: loss aversion, the endowment effect, disposition effect, regret and counterfactuals.
  • Module 11: Asset Pricing Models and Market Efficiency: Meir Statman, Ph.D.; and Toby Moskowitz, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: behavioral asset pricing model, market efficiency, diversification within a portfolio.
  • Module 12: Abstract Thought and Investments: Andrew Lo, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: emergence of abstract thought, its role in adaptive behavior, applications to finance.
  • Module 13: Thinking about Alternative Investments: Toby Moskowitz, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: how to think about alternative investments, evaluating them in context of portfolio, alpha vs. beta over time, hedge funds and their functions, hedge fund beta, the role of behavioral finance in all this.
  • Module 14: The Adaptive Markets Hypothesis: Andrew Lo, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: limitations of the efficient markets hypothesis relative to hedge funds, hedge funds as early market indicator, applying what we know to financial markets.

Communicating with Clients in Light of Behavioral Finance

  • Module 15: The Role of the Financial Advisor: Dan Ariely, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: payment for effort, trust, overconfidence, tools for financial advisors to use with clients.
  • Module 16: Risk Tolerance: Courtney Pullen and Meir Statman, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: risk tolerance, how to assess it at all accurately, explaining the difference between volatility and risk
  • Module 17: Money Scripts and the Role of the Advisor: Courtney Pullen and Meir Statman, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: money scripts (unconscious beliefs about money that we habitually apply without examining), mistakes advisors are prone to and how to relate to clients about them,
  • Module 18: Choice Architecture: Dan Ariely, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: decision paralysis, default bias, status quo bias.
  • Module 19: Transitions and the Cauldron of Change: Courtney Pullen
    • Core education covering: transition stress, transition styles, the “cauldron of change” (model of behaviorally processing change)
  • Module 20: Practical Advice About Communicating with Clients: Courtney Pullen and Toby Moskowitz, Ph.D.
    • Core education covering: tools for talking with clients about subjectivity vs. objectivity, flow state conversations, tools for better listening/client engagement, the effect on clients of your office space setup, recap of takeaways.

CE Completion

To complete the program and earn continuing education (CE) credit, you must score a 70 percent or better on each quiz within the program. There is a separate quiz for each of the 20 content modules.

CIMA®/CPWA®/CIMC® certificants. If you hold the CIMA, CPWA, or CIMC certifications, your completion will be reported automatically to your certification record and applicable CE credit will be logged. Once this occurs, you will receive an e-mail at your primary e-mail address on record with IMCA. You may check your CE record online at any time at

CFP® certificants. This program has been accepted by the CFP Board for 20 hours of continuing education credit. If you hold the CFP certification, IMCA will report your completion to the CFP Board on your behalf if we have your CFP ID. Please check your My IMCA account at to ensure that your CFP ID is in our database and is accurate. Your CFP ID is located in the My IMCA section of the IMCA website. Select “Update my Demographic Information” under “My Info.”

IMCA currently reports CE session attendance to the CFP Board two times a month (middle and end). IMCA will provide attendees who hold the CFP certification a certificate of completion within 30 days of completion of the program.

Other certifications/designations. Attendees who would like to report IMCA session attendance to a third-party organization should inquire with that organization about the appropriate method of reporting sessions for CE credit. IMCA will provide a certificate of completion for an IMCA event on request. 

Finished the program? Use this press release template to let your clients and peers know.

Technical Support

Click here to perform a system check to ensure that your computer browser is properly configured to access this program.