Advest, the Hartford-based broker/dealer, has decided to encourage its financial advisors to add another designation to their credentials: that of Accredited Asset Management Specialist, or AAMS.
The AAMS certification, offered by the College for Financial Planning, has been around for about eight years, according to Randy Carbone, senior VP and director of asset management services at Advest,. The CFP designation itself has been around for 30.
While there are no current plans to make AAMS certification mandatory at Advest, Carbone says that the company’s goal is for 100% of its financial advisors to have some professional designation, which, according to Carbone, could be AAMS, CFP, CFA, or CIMA. Forty-five advisors at Advest have completed the 12-module AAMS program so far, and all 45 passed the certification exam. “Nobody else has done that,” says Carbone, crediting the company’s way of mentoring advisors through the program and the intensive review session just before the exam.
The program, offered in conjunction with the “Advest Institute at Harvard,” is presented first as a self-study program. The first group of 45 Advest advisors were mentored by members of the wealth management advisory group at Advest, who helped students review chapters in each of the 12 modules and go over the practice exams provided by the CFP. Then the 45 were sent to Harvard for a two-day recap of all 12 modules and Q&A sessions. Carbone says Advest preferred to go this route that “took a little longer” so that advisors would have “a complete understanding of what they were studying and not just passing an exam.”
The program’s 12 topics include the asset management process; risk, return, and investment performance; asset allocation; taxation of investment products; estate planning; and regulatory and ethical issues. For advisors to complete the program successfully, they must pass the exam and also sign a code of ethics.