Check the background of investment professionals associated with this site of FINRA BrokerCheck

HomeBlogQ & A with a CPWA® (Certified Private Wealth Advisor®)

The Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) designation is an advanced education and certification program for financial planners and financial advisors who work with high net worth clients on the life cycle of wealth: accumulation, preservation and distribution.

When selecting a financial planner, you want to be certain they are qualified to help address your unique financial concerns. The CPWA® is a designation an advisor chooses to earn that shows their dedication to understanding the specific needs of high net worth individuals. They have the experience, education and a certification to validate their comprehension.

Candidates who earn the certification learn to identify and analyze challenges high net worth individuals face and understand how to develop specific strategies to minimize taxes, monetize and protect assets, maximize growth and transfer wealth. This type of holistic financial planning can help you feel more confident in your financial decisions.




Vice President, Financial Advisor






Q. What are the benefits of the CPWA
® certification?

A. The Certified Private Wealth Advisor® program was a rigorous amount of coursework followed by a one-week course at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The knowledge I was able to obtain through studying the core topics of the CPWA® course allows me to generate ideas and add as much value to each one of my client’s unique situations, in areas where many others may not have thought to look.

Q. Who makes a good candidate for CPWA® certification?

A. The CPWA® certification should be pursued by financial planners and financial advisors who already hold advanced designations, such as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), Certified Financial PlannerTM professional (CFP®) or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and are looking to expand their knowledge base to help guide their clients through more unique, complex situations.

Q. What are some of the core topics in the CPWA® program, and how can your education on these topics help clients?

A. There are a total of 11 core topics, all of which must be mastered before taking the exam for the CPWA® certification.
These include ethics, behavioral finance, family dynamics, tax planning, portfolio management, risk management and
asset protection, charitable giving, estate issues and wealth transfer, planning for executives, planning for closely held
business owners and retirement management. Each client’s situation is so different, and all the core topics are truly
relevant to the planning I provide for my clients. The course education provided a deep dive into various techniques to
apply when the need arises in a client’s life and how to come to the best solution that fits their unique needs.

Q. What is required from a continuing education standpoint for the CPWA® certification?

A. Continuing education is an important part of the CPWA® certification to stay current with the latest developments in
the initial areas of study. I would like to highlight the Continued Competency aspect of my CPWA® certification and
my professional designations. Not only do I fulfill forty hours of continuing education credit hours necessary for my
CPWA® certification, but I also maintain the CFP® certification of thirty credit hours every two years, a PA insurance
license of twenty-four credit hours every two years and the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation which
requires six hours of education annually.

Q. How do you feel about the program after having completed it?

A. The CPWA® certification is the perfect next step to pursue after obtaining the Certified Financial PlannerTM professional designation. It’s a more thorough application of advanced topics. While studying the coursework and attending the classes, I had quite a few “aha moments” where the knowledge I gained could be immediately applied to client situations.




Executive Vice President,
Branch Management and Client Experience






Q. How long did you need to prepare for the test?

A. The recommended study time is 10-15 hours per week for approximately 6 months. Successful candidates report studying a total of 100-250 hours to prepare for the exam. I studied at least 250 hours. During our sessions at the Chicago Booth Business School, we spent on average 9 hours a day with leading professionals in the industry along with the professors from the Chicago Booth Business School.

Q. What made you decide to focus on this designation at this point in your career?

A. I became a Certified Financial PlannerTM professional in 2009. I was looking for something that would enable me to increase my knowledge around more complicated financial planning cases, including high net worth individuals. While I do not manage client relationships directly myself, as the firm’s client experience manager, I help to ensure we are providing the most advanced and specialized recommendations to all our clients. This allows me to help each advisor evaluate their client’s circumstances to incorporate what I have learned.

Q. How do you feel about the program after having completed it?

A. I am not going to lie; the program was tough. Your personal life takes a backseat. But between the study materials
and the intensive class at the Chicago Booth Business School, the information I learned is invaluable. I look forward
to continuing to share these strategies with our advisors, their clients and prospects

1 Source:
2 Source:

Read more about the professional designations that our qualified professionals hold.

Q & A with a CFP® Professional (Certified Financial Planner™)