What is an 'Accredited Asset Management Specialist - AAMS'

Accredited asset management specialist (AAMS) is a professional designation awarded by the College for Financial Planning (CFP) to 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.

BREAKING DOWN 'Accredited Asset Management Specialist - AAMS'

The AAMS program began in 1994 and is now taught exclusively online using the CFP's platform. The CFP is a provider of financial education for working adults in the financial services industry and 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.

AAMS Recognition and Continuing Education

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 CFP, some organizations recognize the AAMS designation as representing 28 hours of continuing education credit.

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 for building lasting relationships with clients.

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.

AAMS Course Content and Examination

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

Students follow the course online and typically complete the program in 9 to 11 weeks. To earn the qualification, students must then pass a final exam at one of CFP's approved testing centers.

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