Money Moves

Certification helps wealth managers get ahead

by Jacky Wong

Jack Tsang, president
American Academy of Financial Management (Hong Kong Chapter)
Photo: Nolly Leung

In the face of growing competition in the local wealth management sector, industry professionals are seeking the most effective channels to enhance their skills. The American Academy of Financial Management (AAFMTM) is there to help out. Founded in 1996, the AAFMTM has left an indelible footprint in more than 145 countries. It has more than 50,000 members around the world, which includes professionals such as senior financial managers, lawyers and certified public accountants.

The organisation's Chartered Wealth ManagerTM (CWMTM) designation is a sought-after global certification and a springboard for professionals wanting to further their careers or expand their skills. The AAFM Hong Kong Chapter was established last April to promote the CWMTM qualification in Hong Kong, and to manage the local network of AAFM members. Jack Tsang, president of the AAFM Hong Kong Chapter, notes that more than 8,000 professionals on the mainland have chartered as CWMTM last year, while Hong Kong numbers are also growing.

"The difference between the CWMTM programme and others is its career-based approach," Mr Tsang says. In particular, the programme caters for a wide range of careers, both in the finance sector and in enterprise. "Participants gain the expertise needed in their particular fields as wealth managers, without having to learn theories or product knowledge irrelevant to their own professions," he adds. Mr Tsang believes that the soft-skills component of the training curriculum, including NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and coaching skills, also adds to the designation's appeal.

So far, Hong Kong candidates who have enrolled in the programme have been mainly independent financial advisors and relationship managers. The programme has also attracted institutional clients such as the Bank of China and China Construction Bank on the mainland.

However, with the launch of the Hong Kong Chapter and an expanding local wealth management industry, Mr Tsang expects to see more Hong Kong corporations enrol their staff for training.

Professionals interested in becoming CWMTM should have a university degree and at least four years' work experience, two of which must have been in the finance industry.

Candidates are required to undergo 30-plus hours of official training prior to the board examination. Currently, technology and management education provider KORNERSTONE Institute is the sole provider of the CWMTM training programme in Hong Kong.

While there is a general view that the financial crisis in global investment markets will impact negatively on career prospects for wealth managers, Mr Tsang believes this is not necessarily so.

The fact that the Hong Kong wealth management industry has not fully matured means that there is room for expansion and a growing demand for chartered wealth managers, he notes.

Top choice

  • Career-based approach makes training relevant
  • Curriculum includes softer skills training like NLP and coaching for wealth managers
  • Stringent requirements ensure quality member profile

Taken from Career Times 10 October 2008, p. A8
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