Discover Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS): Unlock Your Financial Expertise

Explore the path to becoming an Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS), understand the benefits of the designation, and learn how to achieve and maintain this professional credential.

The Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) is a professional designation awarded to financial professionals who complete dedicated coursework, pass an exam, and adhere to a strict code of ethics. The AAMS designation, achievable through the College for Financial Planning, enhances career advancement, professional reputation, and earning potential.

Key Takeaways

  • Industry Recognition: The Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) designation is an industry benchmark endorsed by renowned financial firms.
  • Comprehensive Exam: Earn the AAMS by completing a rigorous self-study course, passing a stringent exam, and pledging to uphold a code of ethics.
  • Continuous Learning: Maintain the designation by completing 16 hours of continuing education every two years and paying a renewal fee.

Understanding the AAMS Designation

Founded in 1994, the AAMS program is exclusively available online through the College for Financial Planning’s platform. This institution, owned by Kaplan, offers financial education tailored to working professionals in the industry.

Comprised of 10 in-depth modules, the AAMS curriculum covers a variety of crucial topics including investments, insurance, taxation, retirement, and estate planning. To retain the AAMS privileges, professionals must fulfill continuing education requirements, ensuring they stay updated with industry standards. Programs are developed with input from the nation’s top investment firms and include practical case studies.

What Does an AAMS Do?

The AAMS certification equips advisors with the competencies needed to help clients plan and achieve personal financial goals. Holders of the AAMS designation advise on college savings, tax strategies, retirement planning, and more, specializing in aspects beyond everyday banking.

AAMS professionals often hold roles such as financial advisors, registered investment advisors, client relationship managers, financial consultants, or investment advisors—encompassing a broad spectrum of financial specializations.

How to Attain AAMS Certification

To gain AAMS certification, enroll through the College of Financial Planning. Choose the program on their website, select your options, and opt for printed study materials if needed. From the moment you gain access to online resources, you have 120 days to undertake studies and pass the final exam.

The final AAMS examination includes 80 questions, requiring a minimum passing score of 70%. You have three hours to complete the exam, with up to two opportunities to pass. The coursework encompasses a variety of vital topics including:

  • The asset management process
  • Investment strategies
  • Policy and change
  • Risk, return, and investment performance
  • Asset Allocation
  • Taxation of investment products
  • Retirement investment opportunities
  • Considerations for small business owners
  • Executive compensation and benefit plans
  • Insurance products
  • Estate planning
  • Regulatory and ethical considerations.

Staying certified involves completing 16 hours of continued education annually and a biennial renewal fee of $95.

AAMS vs. CFP: Knowing the Difference

The AAMS designation focuses on personal finance, asset management, and initial investment guidance, ideal for new advisors or those transitioning into financial planning roles. Certified Financial Planners (CFP), on the other hand, are highly experienced in helping clients navigate their finances through varied life stages and complex financial needs. CFP certification demands extensive professional experience and is regarded as the apex credential in financial planning.

Special Considerations

While the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) doesn’t endorse credentials, it acknowledges the AAMS designation and highlights it within the industry. According to the College for Financial Planning, numerous organizations recognize AAMS as equating to 28 hours of continuing education credit. AAMS graduates gain credit for CFP course modules upon passing final exams.

FAQ: Quick Insights into AAMS

What Does AAMS Stand for?

An Accredited Asset Management Specialist is certified to guide clients in personal finance, asset management, and investing.

Which Is Better: AAMS or CFP?

The AAMS suits entry-level advisors or those with a focus on personal finances and investments. In comparison, the CFP meets lifelong financial planning needs for clients, addressing broader financial scenarios.

How Long Does It Take to Study for AAMS?

Once access to course materials is granted, candidates have 120 days to prepare and pass the exam, depending on study habits and previous experience.

The Bottom Line

An AAMS certification empowers financial professionals to adeptly manage client portfolios, emphasizing comprehensive asset management and investment strategies. This designation serves as a stepping stone towards further certification, including the coveted Certified Financial Planner. If you’re looking to enhance your career in financial planning, achieving your AAMS is a crucial first step.

Related Terms: Certified Financial Planner, FINRA, financial advisor, investment strategies, continuing education.


  1. College for Financial Planning. “Accredited Asset Management Specialist - AAMS”.

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