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The Certified Equity Professional Institute (CEPI) was founded in 1989 by a group of equity compensation professionals.  Their mission was to establish, promote, and provide certification and continuing education for the equity compensation industry.

Since its founding, the CEPI's self study curriculum has served as the industry's educational standard.  Organizations and individuals use CEPI exams as a measurement of basic (Level 1), intermediate (Level 2), and advanced (Level 3) knowledge, skills, and abilities related to equity compensation.

The CEPI curriculum focuses on the core disciplines of equity compensation:  Accounting; Equity Plan Design, Analysis and Administration; Corporate and Securities Law; and Taxation.  The CEP designation is granted to individuals who have passed all three exams, and have demonstrated mastery of equity compensation related issues in all of the core disciplines. The program is also open to individuals seeking only basic or intermediate knowledge.  Candidates can select to complete one, two or all three levels of the program. 

“From the perspective of an outside executive compensation lawyer, I can attest to the difference that having a CEP managing a client's stock plans can make. CEPs are trained to anticipate legal, tax, and accounting issues before they become a problem - saving substantial time, legal fees and mental angst. Less business for me, but it's worth it!”
Laura G. Thatcher, Alston & Bird

The Certified Equity Professional Institute (CEPI) became part of the Santa Clara University (SCU) Executive Development Center in 1989.  The Executive Development  Center is part of SCU's Leavey School of Business.

An education program for those involved in equity compensation administration was proposed by Santa Clara University alumni who were professionally involved in the equity compensation field.  They saw that there was a need to create the professional body of knowledge for those involved in equity compensation.  Since 1989, thousands of individuals have benefited from the self-study certification program.  Nearly sixteen hundred people have achieved the Certified Equity Professional (CEP) designation and that number grows annually.  The CEP designation is now a widely recognized professional achievement for those involved in equity compensation administration.

The Certified Equity Professional Institute (CEPI) is an integral part of Santa Clara University's (SCU) Executive Development Center (EDC). The EDC is a component of SCU's Leavey School of Business, with a direct reporting relationship to the Dean.  It is this University affiliation that allows the multitude of professionals, many of whom work for competing organizations, to work together for the good of the equity compensation administration industry.  The not-for-profit University status is a unique and appropriate venue for drawing on professionals who generously donate their time, knowledge and expertise.  The University affiliation is also integral of the rigorous educational process that ensures mastery of an important body of knowledge.