What is the CPWA Certification?

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


The holistic, multidisciplinary CPWA program requires advisors to meet rigorous standards:


EXPERIENCE - At least five years of relevant financial services experience and a clean regulatory record.


ETHICS - Comply with the Institute Code of Professional Responsibility or lose the certification.


EDUCATION - Complete executive education at a top 25 global business school.


EXAM - Pass a stringent five–hour examination.


CONTINUING COMPETENCY - Stay updated on industry trends, laws, and products with 40 hours of continuing education every two years, including two hours of ethics education Investments & Wealth Research, Absolute Engagement 2017


SERVING CLIENTS WITH ACCOUNTABILITY AND EXPERTISE - The CPWA certification requires advisors to develop advanced knowledge and skills to address the wide range of complex issues faced by wealthy individuals and families, including portfolio strategies, wealth transfer, family dynamics, risk management, asset protection, closely-held business ownership, charitable giving, estate planning, retirement planning, and more.


To keep the CPWA program content relevant to the needs of today’s high-net-worth investor, the Investments & Wealth Institute commissions an independent survey of the financial advisory profession and updates the program curriculum as needed every few years, ensuring that the latest trends and strategies are taught in the program.


Live conferences and continuing education requirements ensure that your CPWA advisor is always up to date.




Human Dynamics: • Ethics • Applied behavioral finance • Family dynamics Wealth Management Strategies • Tax strategies and planning • Portfolio management • Risk management and asset management Client Specialization and Client Focus: • Closely held business owners • Executives • Retirement Legacy Planning: • Charitable giving • Estate planning and wealth transfer





CPWA advisors have passed a rigorous exam covering a variety of wealth management topics (see knowledge domains). Advisors learn how to identify and analyze the challenges that high-net worth investors like you face and develop specific strategies to minimize taxes, invest and protect assets, and transfer wealth, all according to your goals and objectives.


WORLD CLASS EDUCATION - Roughly six out of 10 candidates who start the CPWA program during a two-year period successfully pass all requirements to earn the certification. The executive-level education required is taught exclusively through Institute-sponsored classes and at top business schools. Duane Bāzis completed his education requirement through the Yale School of Management.


INSTITUTE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY -The Code was adopted to promote and maintain a high standard of professional conduct in the investment consulting and wealth management disciplines. Investments & Wealth Institute members, candidates in the Institute certification programs, and CPWA® professionals are required to adhere to the following principles:


  1. Act in the best interest of the client.


  1. Disclose services to be offered and provided, related charges, and compensation.


  1. Disclose the existence of actual, potential, and/or perceived conflicts of interest and relevant financial relationships, direct and/or indirect. Take appropriate action to resolve or manage any such conflicts.


  1. Provide clients information needed to make informed decisions.


  1. Respond to client inquiries and instructions appropriately, promptly, completely, and truthfully.


  1. Maintain confidentiality of client information, however acquired, consistent with legal and regulatory requirements and firm policies.


  1. Provide competent service by truthful representation of competency, maintenance and/or development of professional capabilities, and, when appropriate, the recommendation of other professionals.


  1. Comply with legal and regulatory requirements related to one’s practice of his or her profession.


  1. Maintain a high level of ethical conduct.




By selecting a CPWA advisor, you’re working with someone who has committed themselves to attaining advanced wealth management knowledge and can guide you through the most complex issues, ethically and with only your best interests in mind.


In a recent study, 80% of high-net-worth clients stated that what matters most to them in an advisor is high ethical standards and that their advisor is trustworthy.

Investments & Wealth Client Research, Absolute Engagement, 2017


CPWA professionals are bound to the Institute Code of Professional Responsibility which defines their role and responsibilities to the client. As applicants, candidates must disclose any potential or real violations of the Code plus pass comprehensive background checks before they are admitted to the CPWA Certification program.


As the standards board for the CPWA Certification program, the Investments & Wealth Institute is committed to upholding the required ethical standards by instituting a disciplinary process to ensure compliance. Failure to comply can lead to loss of the certification, among other disciplinary measures. By adhering to high ethical and education standards, CPWA professionals are accountable to the clients they serve.





The Investments & Wealth Institute is a professional association, advanced education provider, and standards body for financial advisors, investment consultants, and wealth managers who embrace excellence and ethics. Through our events, continuing education courses, and acclaimed certifications—Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®), Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®), and Retirement Management Advisor®(RMA®)—we deliver rigorous, highly practical education.


For more information on the CPWA certification as well as the Investments & Wealth Institute, visit  www.investmentsandwealth.org/CPWA