Membership categories

You may be a volunteer or a paid worker, new to money advice, have years of experience, or support free money advice through your work in a related role; whatever your circumstance, the variety of membership categories means there will be something suitable for the type of work you do, your experience and your qualifications.

IMA memberships are individual, but there are discounts available for organisations with many members.

Membership Categories

Associate membership

Associate membership is open to individuals

  • who work in the money advice sector (applicants will normally have at least 12 months’ experience – those with less may wish to consider applying for trainee membership, see below)
  • whose function of employment (paid or unpaid) includes the delivery or promotion of free, confidential, independent and holistic money advice
  • who do not yet hold our Certificate in Money Advice Practice qualification
  • whose work conforms to and fully supports the definition of money advice as defined in our Statement of Good Practice
  • who work to or promote the standards and practices set out for members in the IMA’s Statement of Good Practice
  • who have the relevant FCA permissions (or who are exempt) and hold the appropriate professional indemnity insurance.

Associate members will normally be carrying out FCA-regulated activities, such as:

Debt Counselling
(1) giving advice to a borrower about the liquidation of a debt due under a credit agreement;
(2) giving advice to a hirer about the liquidation of a debt due under a consumer hire agreement.

or

Debt Adjusting – this activity comprises the following, in relation to debts due under a credit agreement or consumer hire agreement:
(1) negotiating with the lender or owner, on behalf of the borrower or hirer, terms for the discharge of a debt;
(2) taking over, in return for payments by the borrower or hirer, that person’s obligation to discharge a debt; or
(3) any similar activity concerned with the liquidation of a debt.

If you are not undertaking these activities, but are giving more general advice, primarily signposting or doing financial capability work, Affiliate membership is likely to be more suitable.

Accredited membership

Accredited membership is open to current IMA members who satisfy the requirements of Associate membership, but also:

  • have been awarded the IMA’s Certificate in Money Advice Practice,
  • have satisfied the requirements for the IMA’s continuing professional development scheme, and
  • continue to comply with the IMA’s Code of Conduct for Members and Affiliates.

Current Associate members are automatically awarded Accredited membership once they have successfully completed the Certificate in Money Advice Practice and, as such, non-members cannot apply for Accredited membership. This Accredited status can be rescinded where a member fails to comply with the requirements, as detailed above. Follow the links for more information about the IMA’s Certificate in Money Advice Practice and Continuing Professional Development scheme.

In order to be a member of this category you will need to have the relevant FCA permissions (or be exempt) and hold the appropriate professional indemnity insurance.

Trainee membership

Trainee membership is open to individuals who do not yet meet the requirements for Associate membership, but who can demonstrate that they have a genuine interest in, and are working towards, fulfilling the Associate membership criteria and working (paid or unpaid) in the free, not-for-profit advice sector. Applicants for trainee membership will normally have been working in money advice for less than 12 months.

Trainee members benefit from a 20% reduction from the cost of full Associate membership.

Affiliate membership

Affiliate membership is open to individuals who are not providing money advice, but are working in related roles.

In the course of their employment (paid or otherwise), Affiliates must in some way promote free, confidential and impartial money advice.

Examples of job roles normally eligible for Affiliate membership include:

  • Benefits adviser
  • Financial capability officer
  • Financial inclusion support officer
  • Grants officer
  • Guidance officer
  • Housing adviser
  • Revenue and benefits assistant

Please note that this list is not exhaustive and that we assess each application for membership on its own merits.

Affiliate members must not be working for fee-charging advice agencies.

Non-Practising membership

This is a category for members previously in the Accredited or Associate categories who are now unemployed or taking an extended break from work.  Non-Practising members benefit from a reduced annual membership fee. See here for details of IMA membership fees.

The purpose of this category is to enable members to maintain their membership of the IMA, stay up to date with our work and developments in the sector, and to support such members back into work if desired, through access to IMA resources and qualifications.

The category also allows Non-Practising members to continue to support us as an organisation, including through holding voluntary positions, for example as Trustees or Council Representatives.

To qualify, you must not be in paid employment or self employment, and you must not be eligible for any other category of membership. The category is only open to current Accredited and Associate members, not to new applicants.

Retired membership

This is a category for retired people who were Accredited, Associate or Non-Practising members on the date of their retirement from work. Retired members benefit from a reduced annual membership fee. See here for details of IMA membership fees.

The purpose of this category is to enable retired members to maintain their membership of the IMA, stay up to date with our work and developments in the sector, and continue to support us as an organisation, including through holding voluntary positions, for example as Trustees or Council Representatives.

To qualify, you must not be in paid employment or self employment, and you must not be eligible for any other category of membership. The category is only open to current or previous Accredited, Associate or Non-Practising members, not to new applicants.

Honorary Fellows

The Honorary Fellows category of membership is for those members who are recognised as having made a special contribution to the money advice sector and the Institute. Nominations are approved by the Board and the announcement of new Fellows is made annually at the AGM, which takes place at our annual conference.

Membership eligibility criteria

 

Associate MembershipAccredited MembershipAffiliate MembershipTrainee MembershipNon-Practising / Retired Membership
Provide money adviceYYN*Y/NN
Hold the appropriate FCA permissionsYYN**Y/NN
Hold insurance that covers your workYYNYN
Comply with the IMA Statement of Good PracticeYYYNN
Comply with the IMA Professional Code of ConductYYYNN
Comply with the IMA Membership RulesYYYYY
Hold the Certificate in Money Advice PracticeNYN***N***N
Comply with the IMA CPD schemeNYN***N***N

*Trainees are not expected to deliver advice until they have satisfied their organisation that they are proficient to do so.
**Appropriate FCA permissions are only required once the trainee is delivering advice.
***Affiliates, Retired and Non-Practising members can hold the CertMAP qualification and comply with the CPD scheme, but this is not a requirement for these categories.

 

IMA membership benefits by membership category

Associate MembershipAccredited MembershipAffiliate MembershipTrainee MembershipNon-Practising / Retired Membership
Reduced fees for IMA trainingYYYYY
Free Quarterly Account journalYYYYY
Free access to Wiseradviser trainingYYY*YN
Certificate in Money Advice PracticeYYYNY
IMA accreditation and CPD schemeNYY**NY**
Use of MIMA (Cert) initialsNYNNN
Use of AIMA (Cert) initialsNNY***NN
Access to free second-tier specialist debt adviceYYNNN
Apply to be a DRO intermediaryYYNNN
Reduced fees for IMA conferenceYYYYY
Money Advice Group and branch meetingsYYYYY
Weekly Bulletin emailYYYYY
Members-only area of the IMA websiteYYYYY
AGM attendanceYYYYY
AGM voting rightsYYNNY
Hold IMA Board positionsYYNNY
Hold IMA Council positionsYYNNY

* Affiliate members are eligible for a six-month initial registration with Wiseradviser if they meet the following criteria:
– the member’s employer gives free debt advice and services
– the member’s employer is authorised by the FCA to give debt advice
** Only if the member has completed the Certificate in Money Advice Practice
*** Only if the member has completed the Certificate in Money Advice Practice and is compliant with the continuing professional development scheme

 

Need more information?

If you need more information about any of our membership categories, please contact us at membership@i-m-a.org.uk or on 0113 242 0048.