Defining Wealth Management


We’ve identified the knowledge and service capabilities required for today’s financial advisory practitioners and wealth management teams.


Over the past 10 years, the Investments & Wealth Institute, in partnership with third-party psychometric partners, has commissioned several studies to assess trends in the delivery of wealth management services with a special focus on the knowledge and skills necessary for wealth management firms to succeed.

We have seen wealth management teams expand to better serve the sophisticated and varied needs of the clients they serve. We also know that the knowledge and skills advisors need to empower their clients and grow their practices at the highest levels of the industry can be developed and honed through advanced professional education. The team approach, coupled with advanced certification, leads to a dynamic and thorough offering of services and advice to clients.

Job Analysis Studies

The Institute has conducted three separate job analysis studies for investment advisors, private wealth advisors and retirement management advisors over the past three years. These studies have provided insight into industry trends and have helped broaden public understanding of investment consulting and wealth management.

Defining a Professional Practice


  • Investment Advisor Job Analysis Study (Investments & Wealth Institute 2018)
  • Private Wealth Advisor Job Analysis Study (Investments & Wealth Institute 2020)
  • Retirement Management Advisor Job Analysis Study (2022)

As a result of these three job analyses, Investments & Wealth Institute has effectively defined the knowledge and professional capabilities required of wealth management professionals, teams, and firms.

Defining Wealth Management

Wealth management is a descriptive term that defines delivery of a broad set of financial advisory services to individual clients and families. These services typically are delivered through a holistic, multidisciplinary, team-based approach. These wealth management teams offer advisory services delivered by competent, ethical professionals.

Wealth Management Teams

Given the findings from three distinct job analyses, wealth management professionals today must exhibit capabilities surrounding three distinct roles, jobs, or disciplines that comprise a wealth management team, practice, firm, or enterprise.

The Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) certification is the foundation for almost all wealth management — institutional client, private client, or wealth level. Wealth management professionals must integrate a complex body of investment knowledge, ethically contributing to holistic, prudent investment decisions by providing objective advice and guidance to individual and institutional investors.


CIMA Certification Core Topics

The Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) certification demonstrates mastery of sophisticated competencies that are required to successfully compete to serve the needs of mass-affluent, high-net-worth, and ultra-high-net-worth clients. Wealth management professionals must apply financial planning foundational competencies within a technical, multidisciplinary process.

CPWA Certification Core Topics

Retirement planning

RMA Certification

The Retirement Management Advisor® (RMA®) certification demonstrates proficiency in retirement planning and managing the decumulation life stage, which is the biggest issue for today’s mass-affluent clients. Wealth management professionals must build custom retirement plans to mitigate clients’ risks and to master the retirement planning advisory process and lead individual clients through a process-based, holistic approach that helps clients plan for retirement and the process of decumulation.

RMA Certification



Expand your skills and competencies – and those of your team – to continue to succeed in the evolving investments and wealth management industry.