CWM® (Chartered Wealth Manager®) and CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst®) are both well-established professional designations in the finance industry. While they have some similarities, there are some key differences which make them stand distinctly apart. Here, in the course of this article, we will try to analyze these two certification programs and offer our perspective on their relative merits and demerits to help readers understand what they have to offer and make the best choice possible.
What is CWM®?
CWM® is a professional certification focused on managing wealth for high net-worth individuals and families. It covers topics such as financial planning, investment management, tax planning, and estate planning. The CWM® program is offered by the American Academy of Financial Management India (AAFM® India) and offers several pathways depending on individual level of professional experience and academics.
What is CFA®?
CFA® is a professional designation that primarily focuses on investment analysis and portfolio management. It covers topics such as economics, financial analysis, portfolio management, and ethics. The CFA® program is offered by the CFA Institute and requires candidates to have a minimum of four years of professional experience in investment decision-making.
Why Pursue CWM®?
CWM® is the single most recognized and accepted wealth management designation across the globe.
CWM® can help open the doors to a number of opportunities both at home as well as abroad along with providing a solid entrepreneurial base.
Adds value to your resume and trains you to develop advanced wealth management skills and excellent networking opportunities.
Why Pursue CFA®?
CFA® can help finance professionals stay relevant in the industry.
A rigorous training program and high difficulty levels mean that your employers know you can handle complex tasks effectively.
It is one of the best certification programs for investment planning professionals that can help acquire key skills to survive and thrive in the industry.
CWM VS CFA Comparison Table
|Section||CWM® (Chartered Wealth Manager®)||CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst®)|
|Certificate Offered by||American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM®), USA||Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA Institute), USA|
|Exam Levels||It consists of two levels:|
1- Foundational Level
2- Advanced Level
|The course has three levels|
Level – I
Level – II
Level – III
|Course Duration||Both levels must be completed within 6 months to a maximum time limit of 36 months||Candidates can complete the course in a span of 36-48 months|
|Exam Requirements||Compulsory Pathway:|
Candidate needs to have completed 12th standard but must be a graduate to earn the certification. Registration validity is for one year.
It requires a candidate to have completed graduation with a minimum work experience of 3 years to be eligible for experience pathway. This pathway allows a candidate to directly pursue second level of the CWM® Program. Registration validity is for one year in the experience pathway as well.
|Candidate must have completed graduation or be in the final year of bachelor’s degree program at the time of registration|
Demonstrate four years of professional work experience
Combined work and college experience coming to a total of at least 4 years
|Curriculum||Knowledge Areas Covered:|
Indian and Global Financial Systems
Fundamentals of Wealth Management
Banking in Wealth Management
Risk Evaluation & Management
Business & Succession Planning
|Knowledge Areas Covered:|
Ethics & Professional Standards
Financial Reporting and Analysis
|Global Presence||CWM® certification is accepted in 151+ countries across the globe with an international community of 50,000+ CWM® Charter Holders and 300,000+ professionals certified by AAFM® globally.||CFA® program is recognized by 28 countries/territories around the world. The Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) credential is held by over 150,000 professionals globally. They are recognized for all the 3 exam levels through designated examination centers globally|
|Global Certification||CWM® is directly awarded by AAFM® USA and there is no need for any further territorial examinations if you have completed CWM®.||The Chartered Financial Analyst® is offered by the CFA Institute globally. Candidates are not required to undertake any additional exams.|
|Career Roles||Work profiles for CWM® Certified Professionals:|
Independent Financial Advisor
|Work profiles for CFA® Certified Professionals:|
CWM VS CFA: Making the Final Decision
One of the key points to consider is the focus of the certifications when making the choice. CWM® (Chartered Wealth Manager®) certification is a comprehensive certification that focuses on wealth management and financial planning, while CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst®) certification focuses on investment analysis and portfolio management. If you are looking to make a career in wealth management and financial planning, then CWM® could be the better choice for you.
Another important consideration is the time and effort you need to invest in order to earn a certification. CFA® requires passing three levels of exams, which can take several years to complete. On the other hand, CWM® has only two exams, which can be completed in a relatively shorter amount of time. This makes CWM® a more convenient option for those who are looking to skip a lengthy certification process in favor of a quality one.
Lastly, it is important to consider the credibility and recognition of the certifications. While both CWM® and CFA® are highly respected certifications in the financial industry, CFA® is more widely recognized internationally. However, CWM® is gaining more recognition and has been recognized by several financial organizations in recent years.
In the battle of CWM Vs CFA, while both can offer a number of unique benefits, CWM® may provide the winning edge for individuals who are interested in wealth management and financial planning, do not have the time to invest in a lengthy certification process and are looking for global growth opportunities. However, it is important to research and evaluate your personal goals and needs before making a final decision.