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cpwaA high net-worth individual is faced with many complex financial decisions. Luckily, there are financial professionals who can address those financial concerns. A Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA) is trained to tend to the needs of high net worth individuals. Read on to discover how a CPWA can help you with your financial situation.

Certified Private Wealth Advisor Explained

Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA) is a certification given to financial professionals who service high net worth clients. Therefore, this certification is designed for experienced financial professionals who want to address the financial needs of those with more than $5 million net worth.

CPWA learn the financial obstacles that wealthy individuals face. Also, they understand how to address these challenges by developing certain strategies. Consequently, these strategies may help the client minimize their tax burden, grow and protect their assets, and develop plans for succession.

CPWA Qualifications

To achieve a CPWA designation candidates must meet the prerequisite, education, and exam requirements. All candidates must obtain all the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college or have one of the following license or designation: CIMA, CIMC, CFA, CFP, ChFC or CPA license.
  • An acceptable record  according to the Investments & Wealth Institute’s Admissions Committee.
  • Five years of experience in the financial field.

CPWA candidates can obtain their coursework and examination requirements in one of four ways: through the Investments & Wealth Institute; in partnership with The University of Chicago Booth School of Business or the Yale School of Management; or through their investment firm.

If a candidate obtains their certification from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business or the Institute, they will complete a self-directed study. All candidates will use a combination of videos, readings, quizzes, and puzzles to gain knowledge of the topics tested on the CPWA exam. Then, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business facilitates a weeklong extensive training program that all candidates must attend.

For candidates who want to obtain their certification solely online, they can enroll in the Yale University’s Wealth Management & Theory Practice online program. Candidates can take the course at their own pace. This program includes live orientation webinars, videos, lectures, online readings, and exam prep materials to help candidates pass the CPWA exam.

Lastly, the Investments & Wealth Institute can partner will investment firms to offer a private class option. Candidates will need to verify if this is an option through their firm’s education department.

All courses and exams will cover 11 core topics known as the CPWA Candidate Body of Knowledge. These core topics touch on everything from ethics to portfolio management to estate and tax planning.

CPWA Continued Education

Once a financial professional completes all coursework and passes the CPWA exam, they then receive the CPWA designation. However, that’s not the end of training for CPWA candidates. All CPWAs must maintain their certification by renewing their designation every two years.

There are three requirements that CPWAs must meet to keep their certification. These requirements include completion and reporting 40 hours of continuing education credits (includes two hours of ethics), paying the renewal fee, and completing the compliance requirement.

CPWA Costs

The Investments & Wealth Institute CPWA certification fee is $6,890. That includes the application fee, background check, tuition, course materials, room and board for executive education, one exam attempt, and the initial two-year certification fee. The Chicago Booth School of Business charges $7,890 for everything listed above.

Yale University’s Wealth Management & Theory Practice online program costs $7,390, but excludes the in-person executive education portion. It costs $325 to retake a failed exam and $895 to renew a CPWA certification Investments & Wealth Institute members receive discounts on all of the aforementioned costs.

Do You Need A CPWA?

cpwaIf you’re a high net worth individual, you may have some financial concerns that you struggle to address on your own. that’s why it’s always helpful to partner with an expert who can provide guidance. CPWAs understand the concerns and issues that high net worth individuals encounter.

CPWAs can help clients develop strategies for minimizing taxes, growing and protecting assets, and transitioning their wealth to others. In addition to a CPWA’s experience and expertise, they can support you when you face making emotional or tough financial decisions. While other financial advisors may be able to help you achieve your financial goals, CPWAs are experts with helping wealthy individuals with their financial planning needs.

How to Find a CPWA

Before you begin searching for a CPWA, it’s important to know what you’re looking for in an advisor. Even though CPWAs understand the financial issues of wealthy, they may specialize in certain areas. For example, if you need help with estate planning, you may not want to work with a CPWA who specializes in tax strategy.

Therefore, it’s important to conduct extensive research prior to partnering with a CPWA. In addition to their CPWA designation, you’ll want to review their background and other qualifications or certifications that you could use to help you with your financial needs.

Start by visiting BrokerCheck by FINRA to make sure your potential investment advisors are properly registered. After you find several candidates, take the time to speak with each of them individually. Consequently, you’ll want to asks about their specialization, registrations or license, products and services, investment experience, and professional credentials. Also, it’s important to ask how they get paid. Understanding how you’ll pay for their services is another important factor when deciding if they are a right fit for your financial needs.

The Bottom Line

cpwaIf you’re a high net worth individual and are looking to partner with a financial planner, you want to know that the person you choose to work with is qualified to help you address your financial concerns. The earned title of CPWA helps you pick out advisors who understand your specific needs.

CPWAs have experience, education, and a certification to prove their comprehension of your unique financial affairs. As a result, working with a CPWA may improve your financial confidence with managing your wealth.

Financial Planning Tips

  • If your net worth indicates you may need a CPWA, consider consulting one. 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 be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Before go looking for a financial planner, determine what you want from an advisor. Do you need help developing a tax strategy to minimize your tax burden? Do you need direction when it comes to planning your estate? SmartAsset’s tax guide and estate planning guide may be able to help you with the small details.

Photo credit: © Productions, ©, © Studio

Ashley Kilroy Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.
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