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accredited wealth management advisorAn Accredited Wealth Management Advisor is a wealth manager specializing in high-net worth clients. It’s a designation bestowed upon experienced advisors working with high-net-worth clients. Also, it’s or for advisors with broad financial knowledge who wish to specialize in high-net-worth clients. Here’s how it works.

Accredited Wealth Management Advisor Exam

This designation is offered through the College for Financial Planning. The program costs $1,300. There are eight modules in the year-long education program. Topics include equity-based compensation plans, tax reduction alternatives, wealth strategies, and asset protection alternatives.

The curriculum includes sections dedicated to working with small business owners, behavioral finance, and succession/exit planning. There is also an entire module dedicated to fiduciary and regulatory issues that advisors may face.

Students have one full year from their enrollment date in order to complete their studies. They must test at least once every six months until they successfully complete the program.

In order to receive the designation, candidates have to pass a proctored and timed end-of-course examination with a 70% score or higher. The exam will test the ability of an individual to apply theoretical concepts to real-life situations. After successfully completing the end-of-course examination, individuals need to apply for authorization to use the designation.

Ethics and Continuing Education

The Accredited Wealth Management Advisor application includes disclosing any criminal, civil, self-regulatory organization, or governmental agency inquiry, investigation, or proceeding relating to their professional or business conduct. Before an individual receives the designation, the College for Financial Planning must review all such matters.

Applicants also must follow the Standards of Professional Conduct. They are the minimum standards of acceptable professional conduct for persons using the AWMA.

In order to maintain the certificate, designees have to complete 16 hours of continuing education, reaffirm adherence to the Standards of Professional Conduct and comply with self-disclosure requirements every two years. There is also a $95 renewal fee every two years. The College monitors compliance with the designation requirements and standards. Violations may be subject to disciplinary procedures.

Benefits of the AWMA Designation

accredited wealth management advisorBoth high-net-worth individuals and their financial advisors can benefit from the advisor having the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor designation.

For Clients

  • You know you have a top-tier advisor, since the designation is an industry benchmark for wealth management credentials, and has been endorsed by the top financial firms.
  • Your advisor will be trained to recognize and better serve your needs

For Advisors

  • Graduates of the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor program report a 16% average earnings increase
  • AWMA designees also report increases to their client base and increased job satisfaction
  • You can receive up to 45 hours of continuing education credits for completing the AWMA program

AWMA vs Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS)

Like the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor, the Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) designation comes from the College for Financial Planning. AAMS certificate holders tend to work as financial advisors, registered representatives, client relationship managers, investment advisors, investment advisors, or financial consultants. Many people with the AWMA or AAMS certifications are financial advisors of some kind. However, there are still some key distinctions.


The AAMS program is ideal for new advisors. Also, it can help advisors who seeking stronger client relationships and more comprehensive advice. AAMS candidates learn to identify new investment opportunities and recognize tax, retirement, insurance, and estate issues. The AWMA program is better for established or experienced advisors, who specialize in or wish to specialize in high-net-worth individuals.

The AAMS program of study has 12 modules, instead of eight. It starts with a review of asset management and then covers a broad range of topics including taxation, investments, estate planning, insurance, and retirement. The AWMA courses offer a more specific focus that deals directly with the unique situations that high-net-worth individuals face. In addition, there are sections dedicated to behavioral finance and working with small business owners. The AAMS may cover some of the same topics as the AWMA, but not in as much depth or detail. However, it is still a good course of study for many types of financial advisors, just not those specifically geared toward high-net-worth individuals.


The Accredited Wealth Management Advisor and AAMS share the same exam rules, maintenance, and code of ethics. Candidates have to pass a proctored and timid end-of-course exam with a score off 70% or higher. Candidates must disclose any criminal, civil, self-regulatory organization, or governmental agency inquiry, investigation, or proceeding relating to their professional or business conduct. The College for Financial Planning reviews both self-disclosed information or incidents that warrant disclosure. Candidates must adhere to the Standards of Professional Conduct.

Designees must pay a $95 fee and complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years in order to maintain the certificate. They must also reaffirm adherence to the Standards of Professional Conduct and comply with self-disclosure requirements every two years.

The Bottom Line

accredited wealth management advisorIndividuals with the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor certificate can help clients preserve, grow, and transfer their wealth. They also gain knowledge that can help them optimize their clients’ investments and minimize investment volatility. AWMAs are often experienced advisors working with high-net-worth individuals. As a result, this certificate marks advisors as specialists in high-net-worth individuals. Also, it shows that these advisors can cater to their clients concerns.

Wealth Management Tips

  • Preserving and growing wealth can take time and skill. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to meetl ocal advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, start now.
  • If you are a high-net-worth individual who wants an advisor who understands the unique considerations you face, you may want to look into hiring an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor. However, if you’re especially wealthy, consider private wealth management for your needs.

Photo credit: ©, © Pimpisarn, ©

Sarah Fisher Sarah Fisher has been researching and writing about business and finance for years. She has worked for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and her work has appeared on Business Insider and Yahoo Finance. Sarah has a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and is from New York City. When she isn't writing finance articles, she dabbles in animation and graphic design.
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