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A financial advisor

Managing an investment portfolio requires a solid grasp of theories, strategies and practices to design, assemble and oversee a package of financial assets for the specific objectives of individual or institutional clients. Chartered portfolio managers (CPM) meet these portfolio requirements and carry out other investment decisions for their clients. CPM certificates are held by financial advisors and other financial professionals. Here’s what you need to know about this certification. 

CPM holders manage investment portfolios and make buy and sell decisions on behalf of their clients. They are experts in valuing securities and other assets, assessing and managing risk, preparing asset allocation strategies and reporting on performance.

The CPM is overseen by the Global Academy of Finance and Management. The organization, based in Colorado Springs, also offers a number of professional financial designations in addition to the CPM, including the chartered wealth manager.

CPM Certification Requirements

Qualifying for a CPM certificate requires either experience or academic training. Financial professionals can satisfy the requirements in several ways.

They can prequalify with a graduate or undergraduate degree in finance, tax, accounting or financial services. Certified public accountants, attorneys and other licensed professionals also meet the pre-qualification requirements.

Another route to satisfy the CPM standards is to take at least five approved courses on related subjects from an accredited business school. Alternatively, applicants can complete a set of courses focused on portfolio management from a number of approved providers.

The recommended curriculum for CPM students covers material ranging from applying modern portfolio theory to managing customer expectations. Students learn to read financial reports, calculate rates of return, rebalance portfolios and perform other portfolio management duties.

Finally, applicants with at least three or more years of experience working as financial professionals may be able to qualify without having any additional academic credentials or training. The work experience has to be relevant to the field of portfolio management.

The investment necessary to satisfy the CPM requirements varies considerably. If the applicant already has a relevant degree, then paying the registration fee may be the only cost. Those who must complete additional training may need to devote significantly more financial and time resources.

Once the prerequisites are met, the GAFM charges $378 to register as a CPM. The certification is good for two years. Biennial renewal costs $228.

To maintain an active certificate, CPMs have to complete 15 hours of continuing education each year. They also have to agree to abide by a code of ethics.

CPM Certificate Holder Jobs

Asian financial advisorCPM certificates are a mid-level certification that is typically sought by professionals who already have significant training and experience in financial services. These include wealth managers, financial advisors, bank trust department managers and other financial experts. CPM candidates may also include brokers, analysts and managers of hedge funds and mutual funds. This certificate indicates that the holder has particular interest in portfolio management.

However, it’s not necessary to have a CPM to manage an investment portfolio. The CPM is an optional certificate and does not provide a portfolio manager with any specific privileges or powers.

While the educational requirements to obtain a CPM are significant, a CPM holder may not have received much specific training in managing investment portfolios. A law or business school graduate can qualify to get a CPM, for instance, but neither of these degrees requires investment management courses.

Comparable Certifications

In addition to the chartered portfolio manager certification there are a number of other designations that portfolio managers may get.

Certified portfolio manager (CPM) is a designation offered by the Academy of Portfolio Managers and Columbia University. It requires a four-year degree, three years of work experience, a letter of recommendation and completion of a five-day $6,750 in-person training course.

Chartered financial analyst (CFA) is a certification by the CFA Institute. It requires a bachelor’s degree or four years of work experience, as well as passing a set of three challenging exams. The sponsor suggests 300 hours of study before each exam. The standard fee for taking the whole set of exams is $3,450.

Financial risk manager (FRM) is a designation from the Global Association of Risk Managers. It requires two years of relevant work experience and passing an exam. The FRM test fees total $1,100.

Bottom Line

Muslim financial advisor

A financial professional certified as a chartered portfolio manager has completed college-level training or at least three years of work experience and has an interest in constructing and overseeing investment portfolios. Certificate holders, who may work as financial advisors or trust officers, also have to agree to follow a code of ethics and stay current with best practices through continuing education.

Tips on Investing

  • Consider working with a financial advisor to help develop, implement and oversee your portfolio of investments. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors who will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • One of the key factors to consider in creating a financial plan and then executing that plan is the buying power of a dollar over time in the United States. A free inflation calculator can give you a good read on your money’s buying power.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/FlamingoImages, ©iStock.com/Drazen Zigic, ©iStock.com/dragana991

Mark Henricks Mark Henricks has reported on personal finance, investing, retirement, entrepreneurship and other topics for more than 30 years. His freelance byline has appeared on CNBC.com and in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and other leading publications. Mark has written books including, “Not Just A Living: The Complete Guide to Creating a Business That Gives You A Life.” His favorite reporting is the kind that helps ordinary people increase their personal wealth and life satisfaction. A graduate of the University of Texas journalism program, he lives in Austin, Texas. In his spare time he enjoys reading, volunteering, performing in an acoustic music duo, whitewater kayaking, wilderness backpacking and competing in triathlons.
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