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 elect to complete one, two or all three levels of the program.
The Certified Equity Professional Institute (CEPI) became part of the Santa Clara University's Silicon Valley Executive Center in 1989. Santa Clara University alumni who were professionally involved in the equity compensation field proposed an education program for those involved in equity compensation. They saw that there was a need to create the professional body of knowledge for the equity compensation field. Since the institute's founding, thousands of individuals have benefited from the self-study certification program. Almost two thousand people have achieved the Certified Equity Professional (CEP) designation and that number continues to grow annually. The CEP designation is now a widely recognized professional achievement for those involved in equity
The CEP Institute started offering the CEP Annual Symposium in 2004 at Santa Clara University. The Symposium was designed to fulfill the need for educational and networking events within the equity compensation industry. It was also built to foster a closeness within the CEP community. The Symposium has grown from 84 attendees to over 400 over the past 14 years. The event was so well received that equity professionals on the East Coast requested a similar event closer to home. In 2016, The CEP Institute launched the East Coast Equity Compensation Symposium. The East Coast event opened with 170 attendees. The West Coast event has since outgrown the facilities at Santa Clara University.
The Certified Equity Professional Institute (CEPI) is an integral part of Santa Clara University's (SCU) Silicon Valley Executive Center (SVEC). The SVEC 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.