What is an Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS)?

The Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS®) is a professional designation awarded by the College for Financial Planning unto financial professionals who successfully complete a self-study program, pass an exam, and agree to comply with a code of ethics.

Successful applicants earn the right to use the AAMS® designation with their names for two years, which can improve job opportunities, professional reputation, and pay.

Key Takeaways

  • The Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS®) professional designation is recognized as an industry benchmark for asset management credentials and is endorsed by the top financial firms.
  • To earn the AAMS®, financial professionals must successfully complete a rigorous self-study program, pass an exam, and agree to comply with a code of ethics.
  • To maintain the designation, AAMS® holders must complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years and pay a $95 renewal fee.

Understanding Accredited Asset Management Specialists

The AAMS® program began in 1994 and is now taught exclusively online using the CFP's platform. The College for Financial Planning (owned by Kaplan) is a provider of financial education for working adults in the financial services industry.

The AAMS® program consists of 12 modules, starting with a review of the asset management process, and then covering a broad range of topics, such as investments, insurance, taxation, retirement, and estate planning issues.

To keep the privileges associated with the designation, AAMS® professionals must complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years and pay a fee. The AAMS® continuing education program is developed in conjunction with some of the nation's top investment firms. Applicants explore case studies based on real-life scenarios, which are designed to prepare them for effectiveness in the real world and help them to build lasting relationships with clients.

Self-Study and Exam

The self-study program covers several topics, such as the asset management process; investors, policy and change; risk, return and investment performance; asset allocation and selection; investment strategies; and taxation of investment products. It also covers investment opportunities for individual retirement; investment considerations for small business owners; executive compensation and benefit plans; insurance products for investment clients; estate planning; and regulatory and ethical issues.

Students follow the course online and typically complete the program in nine to 11 weeks. To earn the qualification, students must then pass a final exam at one of CFP's approved testing centers. The final exam for the AAMS® program contains 80 questions. Students have one full year from their enrollment date in order to complete their studies. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress in their studies, it is required that they test at least once every six months until successful completion of the program. A passing score on the AAMS® final examination is 70 percent or better.

Individuals with the AAMS designation may work as financial advisors, registered investment advisors, registered representatives, client relationship managers, financial consultants, or investment advisors.

Special Considerations

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) specifies that it does not approve or endorse any professional credential or designation, but it does list the AAMS® as one of the available designations in the financial services industry. According to the College for Financial Planning (CFP®), some organizations recognize the AAMS® designation as representing 28 hours of continuing education credit.

To inform the public about the current status of AAMS® designees, the CFP® maintains an online database containing the names of all members and the status of their designations. Upon graduation, AAMS® designees receive credit for the completion of FP511 in our CFP® certification education program.