Standards, Ethics and CIPFA Certification

Standards, Ethics, and Certification Committee – The Standards, Ethics and Certification Committee administers the CIPFA exam, sets and coordinates continuing education standards, acts as a hearing board for alleged ethical violations, promotes a strong standard of ethics among NAIPFA members and reviews and updates the NAIPFA Code of Ethics as required.

Where can I find the Bylaws and Code of Conduct and Ethics? – Click on the “Bylaws” or “Code of Conduct & Ethics” tabs.

What is a CIPFA? – Certified Independent Public Finance Advisor, or CIPFA, is a professional designation only available to registered municipal advisors actively and independently providing finance advice to public entities.  The Board of Directors may establish procedures by which professional employees of Firm Members may achieve and be entitled to use the designation of Certified Independent Public Finance Advisor (“CIPFA”).  To be entitled to use the CIPFA designation, an individual must meet the eligibility standards for certification as established by the Association.

How do I become a CIPFA? – If you meet the basic requirements established by the NAIPFA Board, including passage of a certification exam, to become a CIPFA.  A summary of the basic requirements can be found on the “Certification Requirements” tab.  The examination is given annually in conjunction with the annual conference, however alternative testing sites can be provided.  Contact the SECC Chair or the Executive Director if you need to test at an alternate site.  The examination covers threshold information important for an independent public finance advisor to master in order to serve your clients.  The topics covered and the relative weighting of the subject matter of the test are listed below:



The Municipal Bond Industry – Regulators & Professional Groups


State and Local Governments


Governmental Accounting


General Principals of Public Finance


Municipal Bond Ratings


Credit Criteria & Bond Structures


Bond Math, Investments, Financial Market Instruments


Federal Tax Law


Bond Issuance and Industry Practice


Disclosure and Secondary Disclosure


The test consists of true-false, multiple choice, and essay questions. A score of 70% out of approximately 120 points is necessary to pass.

What other requirements are there to be a CIPFA? – CIPFA’s must abide by NAIPFA’s Bylaws and qualification standards established by the Board from time to time, including continuing education requirements, in order to retain the CIPFA designation.  Click on the “Bylaws” and “Continuing Education” tabs for more information.

Are there study materials available to help me improve my professional skills and/or prepare for the CIPFA exam? – A bibliography of materials that can help you learn the profession can be found by clicking the “Reading List” tab.  The bibliography is divided into two sections.  The Primary Recommendations provide material that is targeted at those preparing for the CIPFA exam or wanting to review aspects of the profession.  The Additional Reference Materials is an expanded list for those looking for information on additional or more complex aspects of public finance.  References to websites are provided where a wealth of information and reference tools can be found.

In addition to the bibliography, a recitation of testing topics and a sample of test questions can be found by clicking the “Test Topics/Sample Questions” tab.

How do I apply to take the test? – To apply to take the CIPFA test, request an application by clicking the “Apply to be a CIPFA” tab.

I found an error in the reading list or study materials. – Study and testing materials are reviewed annually, however, if you believe that you found an error, a broken link, a missing reference piece, please contact us so we can address it.