Anybody take classes / sit for any exams from the “College of Financial Planning?” I was looking at the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor designation (AWMA). This program also counts toward the CFP requirements. AWMA is only one exam, program says you need to study for about 150 hours. Anyone have any thoughts or experience? thanks!

There is only one thing that is necessary, the CNF - chartered no fapper - once you have this status everything else is noise.

On a more serious note, I’ve delth with some people who have the AWMA. They state it did improve some of their skills with respect to WM but most of the clients they deal with it means nothing to them.

Cheers mate,

Greenman’s Jedi Wisdom - the main benefit of the CFP is its notoriety. There are a lot of people who like to know that their mutual fund salesman/insurance shill financial advisor is a CFP.

If you want to work as a retail FA, I wouldn’t suggest anything other than the CFP or CPA. Nobody knows what the other letters mean, including CFA.

“CFA…Doesn’t that mean Certified Financial Advisor? I wouldn’t go around touting that, because CPA is definitely better. You see, all good tax guys are finance guys by default. Not all finance guys can be tax guys, though.” --former partner of a tax firm in Odessa, TX

I dont understand why people want to continue to get sub-CFA level designations if they have/are working towards the charter. Its like it you went to a top-tier university and then decided to go back and get a degree at University of Phoenix.

Why not just enjoy the fact that you attained probably the highest regaded designation in the industry and move on with life?

This is esentially the same thing as the AAMS (Also given by the College for Financial Planning), which I got way back when I was a retail broker. Also, I did the CFP education program through the College for Financial Planning. Since you are a level III candidate, I would advise you to run far away from the College for Financial Planning. The College for Financial Planning is geared toward retail brokers who want to get BS letters behind their name to fool muppets into thinking they are “professionals”. In the AWMA program they’ll send you 10 chincy paperback books and then you take and open book test and then SURPRISE youre and AWMA. Complete bull shit. I will say that getting the CFP is good for people that want to advise retail clients, however honestly I’d say your best off getting your CFA charter and then reading up on personal financial planning topics. The CFP is to the CFA what a paralegal is to a lawyer.

… and I thought it was another statistical technique like EWMA

^ This

thanks for the humor, and advice.

you guys are right… focus on CFA.

While I understand what Mr. Leverage and Palacios are saying, I disagree with them.

The initials behind your name (be they CFA, CFP, CPA, MBA, JD, or whatever) are only as good as your audience.

I am a CPA and a CFA Charterholder. If a person hears Dave Ramsey on the radio say, “Find a good CFP to advise you,” then he’ll pick the local mutual fund salesman/insurance shill retail financial advisor instead of me. Whatever my “real” qualifications are has nothing to do with it. Perception is everything.

If a person is hell-bent on finding a CFP to manage their money, then CFP>CPA+CFA, because Dave Ramsey said so.

I worked in the High Net Worth Financial Advice world for about 5 years, and informed people do know what the CFA is. If they read the morningstar reports or the quarterly reports by the mutual fund managers of the funds they own, they will see that most of those people, the “real investment managers”, not the salesman or the advisor they are working with, are CFA charterholders. If they read any sell side research, they will see that the analyst that wrote the piece is likely to have CFA behind his name. You never see a CFP that is writing investment research unless it is some bull shit article about how to pay off your credit card.

I do agree that the CFP is a respectable designation for financial advisors to have but it is leagues beneath the CFA. But definitely stay away from the questionable designation like the AWMA, AAMS, CRPC, etc.

WSJ article comparing the CFA vs. CFP:

CCS, greenman and Palacio both have good points, but most is important is the why?

I took the CFP in between the level 1 & 2 because I was a financial advisor, my job required it, and figured if i’m smart enough to get this far why would i waste my time with other lesser and lesser known exams (they would pay for those too but…). At the retail level most clients did recognize the cfp.

With the CFA, less but enough higher net worth clients recognize it; i still keep my CFP but as my plan b in case i ever return to the sales/fin. advisor role.

i think this is straying off topic. Sure if you do retail advisory a CFP might be recognized more than a CFA, actually I am sure of it. However, everyone can agree that the AWMA designation (as the original poster mentioned) does not have a place in either retail financial advisor land nor investment research/CFA-type realms. Its sub-tier.

The recognition thing is interesting and indicates what a lot of people do in the industry. As an example, I could care less if some guy witha 401k rollover recognizes what the CFA is, and everyone I deal with knows exactly what it is. Seems to be more a PWM issue where you look at it as a marketing device and not sure you are getting the payoff compared to a CFP. If you are looking for what might be a good business generator I dont know that I would go thru the CFA rigor when you can just get a bunch of other letters behind your name to confuse people and make it seem like you are smart (maybe thats what the AMWA is good for?)

@Palacios - I’m not disagreeing with you about the level of rigor or the demands of the program or the quality of the people who choose CFA or CFP. I’ve said very plainly that I think the CFP is generally a designation for “lesser” advisors who need some alphabet soup to enhance their credibility. But the fact remains–95% of retail clients will not know what CFA means, while most of them have probably heard of the CFP.

You rightly say that if they read the research reports, they’ll know it was written by a CFA and not a CFP. But if they read research reports, they are a DIY–Do It Yourself, and they don’t want either a CFA or a CFP.

Your professional credentials are only as good as your audience–whether that by a client, an employer, a jury, etc.

@Mr. Leverage - Palacios said (and I agree 100% with him) that AWMA is nothing more than a way for the College For Financial Planning (CFFP) to make money. It’s about as useful as boobs on a bull.

Never heard of AWMA. Is this an affiliate program for the University of Phoenix?

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It’s a shtty program by the College for Financial Planning (CFFP).

In order to take the CFP exam (which has nothing to do with the CFFP), you have to have college education in investments, retirement planning, insurance, estate planning, etc. Similar to UoP, you can take all the classes you need from the CFFP to be eligible for CFP.

To garner more money, CFFP decided to create tests for each subject area in its curriculum. Once you pass the Investments section, you are eligible for the Accredited Asset Management Specialist (provided that you pay the fee every year). Once you pass the Retirement section, you are eligible for the Certified Retirement Planning Specialist (again, for a fee).

The AWMA is another one of CFFP’s worthless and bogus designations.

Just FYI - after I passed the Series 7, but before I went back to accounting/grad school, I studed for and passed the CRPC. I studied all day on Friday and took the test on Saturday morning and passed.

It actually is! The Apollo group, the company that owsn UoP, also owns the College for Financial Planning!

In my case, I asked about AWMA because I’m trying to sharpen my knowledge of taxation/trusts/insurance, specific to estate planning. CFA is great but since it’s global, it lacks specifics about US law, etc, and how HNW people actually structure their estates and trusts. I’m after the knowledge more than the letters, etc.

I was thinking AWMA might give me some structure, given that I was going to buy some books and read and research on my own, anyway. It does kindof seem like as long as the check clears the designation is a given… the continuing ed requirements are a put off as well, just seems like I would be writing them a check every two years…

Estate planning is a pretty in-depth item. I used to think a CFP could do a fair job, afterall the focus is holistic planning including estates. Then I started working with some estate planning attorneys and realized more and more how complex and deep that area is and that no matter how an investment person dabbles in the area you will never be near that level.

Can you learn enough to plan for the average joe, sure. Can you be at the level to effectively plan and administer for complex estate and multigenerational issues, probably not, and I would say it is an ongoing and full time focus for many cases. So depends on what you are after if studying might help or if you are better off leaving it to those who specialize in it.

for the average american a one-man show can probably be ok, but if you plan to work with anyone other than the average dude then I think specialists are the way to go hands down and you should pick your specialty.

^ +1 to Mr. Leverage.

Since I’m working at a CPA firm that does a lot of estate and asset distribution planning, I’m starting to understand how complex it really is.

That being said, since the current administration made the estate tax exemption $5m and indexed it to inflation, that took care of 95% of all of America’s estate tax problems. (Thank you, President Obama.)