Email FacebookTwitterMenu burgerClose thin

What Is a Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM)?


Whether you’re a financial novice or a seasoned investor, getting some help from an expert might be good for you. If you need some help with financial planning, investing, or managing wealth a Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM) may be a good bet. Here’s what a CWM is and how its stands out from other financial experts.

What Is a Chartered Wealth Manager?

A Chartered Wealth Manager is certified in knowledge and competence in general finance. You might find a CWM who can talk about:

  • Banking
  • Economics
  • Estate planning
  • Financial planning
  • Investments
  • Retirement
  • Risk
  • Taxes

Chartered Wealth Manager is a designation confered by the Global Academy of Finance and Management (GAFM) and the International Board of Standards (IBS). The designation helps industry professionals to showcase expertise in related fields. This accreditation is only for wealth managers who have an appropriate master’s degree, law degree, are a CPA or Ph.D., or trained at an accredited American Bar Association law school.

Chartered Wealth Managers tend to serve those with a high net worth, managing large accounts of wealth. You don’t have to be a millionaire or billionaire to hire a CWM. Some firms have six-figure account minimums. However, having more money may mean you need more help managing it.


chartered wealth managerIn a room full of finance professionals, it can be hard to find one that’s best for you. Some experts have an alphabet soup of letters following their names. As a result, it can be hard to understand the difference between them all.

While a Chartered Wealth Manager has the ability to give advice in a variety of different areas, most concentrate on assets, wealth, and portfolios. A Certified Financial Planner, or CFP, can talk about individual financial planning and offer plans specific to their lifestyles and money. Both are subsets of financial advisors as a whole. Here’s a breakdown of their specialties.

Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM)Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
Financial market expertiseGeneral financial planning and knowledge
Investment and portfolio managementRetirement and estate planning
Financial service organizationsEstate and gift tax; Federal, state income tax
Wealth preservation and managementAsset protection and insurance consulting

While it’s not uncommon for some finance professionals to have multiple designations, it’s good to know the difference between them when you’re looking for the right person. If you need both a CFP and CWM, make sure the professionals you’re considering have those designations.

Becoming a CWM

There are a few steps necessary for Chartered Wealth Manager certification. Before you can enroll in training, you’ll need a Master’s degree in finance, law, economics, math, or wealth management. Meanwhile, you’ll need more than five years of experience in the field.

You can also be a professor, lawyer, CPA or Ph.D. In any case, you might qualify for certain exemptions.

You’ll need to complete the necessary degree programs and exams and agree to the GAFM ethical terms. After getting certified, you’ll need to complete 15 hours of continuing education requirements every year. Certifications are valid for two years, while renewals are good for one year.

It costs $395 to get your certification, plus $228 for your renewal.

How to Find a Chartered Wealth Manager

If you’re on the hunt for a CWM, there are a few ways to find one.

If you’re curious if someone who’s claiming to be a CWM is really who they say they are, the GAFM offers a certification lookup. You can check by someone’s name and if their certification is in good standing or has expired. Remember: certification renewals are good for one year, which means CWMs should be renewing annually.

Keep in mind that some people might hold multiple designations and some can get confusing. Look for either a CWM or “Certified Wealth Manager” when searching online for professionals.

Also remember that some people may claim to have certifications when they really don’t. As you’re looking for experts to help you, make sure you find ones that are legitimate by checking their certification status. In short, if you can’t find them or their designation has expired, you might want to move onto other, more reliable candidates.

Bottom Line

chartered wealth managerThe pool of financial professionals is a bit crowded, but only because those professionals specialize in many different fields. Therefore, you may want to try finding one that best fits your needs at the moment. If you’re on the hunt for someone with substantial knowledge and expertise in markets as well as wealth preservation and management, it may be time to consider a Chartered Wealth Manager. But keep your options open, since you might need to find other specialists at another time. As a result, you might need a CWM now, but a CPA later.

Financial Planning Tips

  • Since financial professionals have a wide and vast range to cover, there are many different experts playing the field. If you need help managing your millions, it might be time to find a CWM. But if you haven’t hit the millions quite yet, you can still use a financial professional for help. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • If you’re curious what all those letters at the end of someone’s name are, it’s time to understand what those designations mean. There are loads of different financial certifications, like CFP, CPA, FRM, and others. Not all financial professionals have the same level or kind of experience. That means if you work with the wrong type of professional, they might not be able to maximize your wealth, investments, and money in the right ways. Make sure you know the difference before working with a specific financial professional.

Photo credit: ©, ©, ©