What Is the AWMA Designation?

The College for Financial Planning, which awards the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA) designation, is one of the most highly respected and well-known providers of financial planning education in the United States. The program has been around for quite some time and has helped to produce some of the most qualified financial professionals in the country.

The goal of the AWMA designation is to identify experienced financial service professionals who have superior knowledge of providing comprehensive financial services.

It is recognized among many financial professionals as a way to establish credibility in the area of wealth management. This can be beneficial when looking for a new job or trying to build relationships with potential clients.

What Does an AWMA Do?

AWMAs provide wealth management services for individuals with large amounts of accumulated assets. Their focus is on helping clients make decisions about their investments, insurance coverage, estate planning, retirement needs, and other areas that affect their overall quality of life.

Although they are not specifically certified as investment advisors or planners, their work overlaps with these fields since many wealthy people use them for help in developing portfolios.

An AWMA can help clients design a financial plan based on their unique needs and goals. They are expected to have at least five years’ experience in the field, which includes two years of post-qualification experience.

A typical client for an AWMA is over the age of 50 who has accumulated more than 1 million dollars in investable assets. Many are entrepreneurs, executives, or retired professionals with high incomes.

AWMA Licensing

The Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA) designation is attained by enrolling in a program that costs $1,300 by the College for Financial Planning. This year-long program consists of eight modules which include tax reduction alternatives, wealth strategies, financial trends, insurance coverage, estate management, and family governance.

Within the course of the program, students are to undergo an exam every six months to test their knowledge. To gain the AWMA designation, the test taker must score 70% or higher in the final exam. The exam aims to test the applicant’s ability to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations.

AWMA Continuing Education

The Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA) Designation is recognized among many financial professionals as a way to establish credibility in the area of wealth management for those who have already attained their CFP certification.

To maintain its credential, those who hold an AWMA designation are to complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years. These classes include topics such as new ethical laws and standards of conduct, new tax plans and strategies, and emerging trends in the financial industry.

They should also reaffirm adherence to the AWMA code of ethics. A renewal fee worth $95 is due every two years.

Benefits of the AWMA Designation

The Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA) designation allows professionals to increase their credibility with clients and employers, as well as with other members of the financial community.

It is also seen as an advantage if you are transitioning between jobs or careers. For instance, it may be handy if you are changing from a position that does not involve financial planning into one that does.

Below are some points that highlight the benefits of holding an AWMA designation:

Benefits_of_the_AWMA_Designation

For Financial Advisors:

  • Professional recognition among wealth managers
  • Credibility with clients and employers
  • Opportunity to specialize in the area of wealth management
  • A greater understanding of comprehensive wealth management for individuals
  • Potential for higher pay scales across most industries

For Consumers:

  • You can trust that your financial advisor has met rigorous standards
  • You will have access to a wealth of knowledge and experience in the area of wealth management
  • You can be confident that your financial advisor is working in your best interest
  • You can be assured that your financial advisor is held to a high standard of ethics

How Is AWMA Different From AAMS?

AAMS stands for Accredited Asset Management Specialist which is awarded by the College for Financial Planning. It is recognized as a certification in the field of tax, retirement, insurance, and estate issues.

The AAMS designation is ideal for new financial advisors, while the AWMA designation is geared towards those who have already established their experience in the financial industry.

The AAMS designation requires the completion of twelve courses, while the AWMA designation requires the completion of eight courses.

In terms of exam rules, passing rate, adherence to code of ethics, and continuing education, the two designations are the same.

The Bottom Line

The Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA) designation is proof that an individual has attained a high level of knowledge and experience in the area of wealth management.

It is recognized among many financial professionals as a way to establish credibility in this field. It also allows for specialization in the area of wealth management, which can be advantageous for those looking to change careers or employers.

While there is no specific benchmark amount that defines "wealth", it varies depending on where you live. For example, it will be higher if you live in an expensive city like New York or San Francisco than if you live somewhere more affordable. The College for Financial Planning recommends wealthy people seek financial advice if they have a huge number of investable assets.
The best way to find out is to ask. You can also check the advisor's profile on the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor website.
Yes! You do not need to be wealthy to seek out and receive quality financial advice. Many financial advisors offer their services to people of all income levels. In fact, some advisors may specialize in working with clients who are just starting with their financial planning process.
The Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA) designation is attained by enrolling in a program that costs $1,300 by the College for Financial Planning.
Choosing which is better between the two designations would depend on what you are looking for in a designation. If you want to specialize in working with high-net-worth individuals, then the AWMA designation is better for you. If you are new to the financial advisor world, then the AWMS designation would be more fitting.

Disclaimer: The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

About the Author
True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.