Professional Designations

What is an Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS)?

By  Brian Thorp

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An Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) is a designation for financial professionals who specialize in asset management and investments. Administered by the College for Financial Planning, a unit of the Kaplan Company, the AAMS provides financial professionals with the extensive knowledge they need to assess and recommend a variety of investment opportunities.

Let’s take a closer look at what this designation is, what it takes to earn it, and how you may benefit from working with an AAMS. 

What is an Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS)?

Those who hold an AAMS often support clients with retirement, college, and taxes so they can meet their long-term financial goals. They have completed an education program with ten modules that focus on a variety of topics such as the asset management process, risk, return, and investment performance, and investment strategies. 

In addition to the education program, AAMS holders have passed a final exam. The exam is specifically designed to test their ability to apply theory to real-life situations that potential clients may have. Generally speaking, the AAMS designation is often pursued by entry-level or newer financial professionals. In some cases, they use it to support their more experienced colleagues. 

Many financial professionals who commit to the AAMS program earn credits that they can use toward the Certified Financial Planner or CFP designation, which is widely known and respected in the industry. The AAMS can help them understand their professional goals and determine whether a more intense program like the CFP is a good option. 

Should You Hire an AAMS?

An AAMS has the advanced investment expertise and depth of financial knowledge that may help you if you:

  • Would Like Comprehensive Financial Advice: While AAMS holders do uncover investment opportunities for their clients, you can also trust them to make recommendations that will help you achieve your long-term goals. Whether you’d like to build a nest egg for retirement, fund some of or all of your children’s college, or save on taxes, they can help. 
  • Are New to Investing: If you’re new to investing or would like to improve your knowledge on it so that you can make smart financial decisions, an AAMS may be useful. They can educate you on the ins and outs of asset management and investments. You may also count on them to suggest the right investment strategy for your unique situation. 
  • Want to Know You’re on Track: An AAMS can give you the peace of mind of knowing you’re on track to meet your financial goals. If you’re retiring within the next few years or have plans to send your children to college soon, they can evaluate your current progress and determine if you need to make any fast changes to your strategy. 

When AAMS holders undergo their training, they receive significant exposure to case studies which are based on real-life scenarios. This allows them to provide you with sound advice and build a long lasting relationship with you and other clients. 

What Does it Take to Earn and Maintain the AAMS?

Those who hope to earn an AAMS designation must fulfill certain requirements set forth by the  College for Financial Planning. Here’s a brief overview of what that they are:

Education

The first step to an AAMS designation is the education component which includes ten modules. AAMS candidates may access them via a convenient online portal and take advantage of streaming video lectures, audio files, and interactive quizzes. These modules include: 

  • The Asset Management Process
  • Risk, Return & Investment Performance
  • Asset Allocation & Selection
  • Investment Strategies
  • Taxation of Investments
  • Investment for Retirement
  • Deferred Compensation and Other Benefit Plans
  • Insurance Products for Investment Claims
  • Estate Planning for Investment Clients
  • Fiduciary, Ethical, and Regulatory Issues for Advisers

While the modules are offered in a self-study format, AAMS candidates typically spend anywhere between 80 and 100 hours on them. 

Exam

Once they complete the education component, AAMS candidates must take a final exam which consists of 80 questions. Most questions are related to investment strategies, investment risk and return, investment policy, and investment performance. 

They must earn 70% or higher to pass. The College for Financial Planning requires that AAMS candidates attempt the test within six months of when they enroll in the education component and pass it within one year. 

Continuing Education

AAMS holders must pay an annual renewal fee and complete 16 continuing education credits every two years to maintain their designation. It’s important that these topics cover one or more of the topics discussed in the AAMS modules. 

Ethics

AAMS holders are required to adhere to a professional standard of conduct. Essentially, it states that they will maintain integrity, objectivity, competency, confidentiality and professionalism when they meet with clients and provide their services. 

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to encourage any lifestyle changes without careful consideration and consultation with a qualified professional. This article is for reference purposes only, is generic in nature, is not intended as individual advice and is not financial or legal advice.

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