Becoming an accredited asset management specialist (AAMS) is a popular option when it comes to careers in financial planning and asset management. Not only does it provide you with specialized knowledge into the asset management field, but also can help open doors to potentially higher earnings as well.
This article explores the various factors that can influence the AAMS salary range, what the average salary looks like, and the many career paths available for professionals with the AAMS qualification.
AAMS Salary Overview
An AAMS designation provides robust career options and the potential for a substantial income. For those committed to a career in asset management, becoming an AAMS offers a pathway to both professional and financial growth.
According to various salary surveys and industry reports, the average annual salary for professionals holding an AAMS designation is around $63,000, though experienced professionals with greater specialization can expect to earn up to nearly $98,000 per year.
The total compensation for these professionals often includes a base salary as well as additional incentives like profit-sharing and bonuses tied to investment performance.
In order to access these higher salaries, candidates must first secure the AAMS certification, which demands in-depth knowledge and expertise. Quality study materials are essential for this, and will be the difference between falling short or achieving your career goals.
Recommended Study Materials
Interested in starting your AAMS studies? We recommend having a look at Kaplan’s in-depth study materials.
For a more detailed overview of the AAMS qualification, check out our AAMS Certification article.
Factors Influencing Salary
Earning the AAMS certification can not only bolster your expertise in asset management, but also boost your earning potential. However, the salary of an AAMS professional can vary based on multiple factors.
Here are some of the key variables that can influence the salary of AAMS professionals:
- Experience: The more years an AAMS spends in the industry, the higher the salary they can command. Experience usually brings a higher level of expertise for which employers often will pay more
- Location: Working in big cities and financial districts usually results in higher compensation — often to help offset the higher cost of living in these areas
- Specialization: Some AAMS professionals specialize in particular types of asset management, such as real estate or mutual funds. Specialized roles often come with higher salaries
- Additional Qualifications: Holding other financial credentials — like the chartered financial analyst (CFA) or certified public accountant (CPA) designations — can complement the AAMS certification and increase your earning potential
Understanding the factors likely to influence your potential income as an AAMS professional will help you plan your career path, negotiate your salary, and set realistic financial goals.
AAMS Certification Jobs
The AAMS certification is a prestigious designation that prepares you to advise clients on a range of financial products, including benefit plans and insurance products, to create a comprehensive asset management strategy.
Here are some of the common jobs that often require — or prefer — candidates with an AAMS certification:
- Financial Advisor: An AAMS is well-equipped to offer personalized financial planning advice to individual or institutional clients, whether this relates to asset allocation or estate management strategies. They also can work as registered investment advisors or financial consultants that provide investment advice
- Portfolio Manager: These professionals manage investment portfolios, making buying and selling decisions, and often working closely with clients to meet their investment goals
- Wealth Manager: This job title covers a broad range of financial planning and asset management positions, though generally refers to the comprehensive financial services offered to high-net-worth individuals or businesses
- Registered Representative: These finance professionals sell securities and other financial products to clients for a commission
Earning the AAMS credential is a strong indicator of your expertise in asset management, making it a valuable asset for your career growth.
Ready to get started? StateRequirement recommends Kaplan’s study materials and resources.
How to Get Your AAMS Certification
Pursuing the AAMS certification is an investment in your professional development, demonstrating your specialized skills and knowledge in asset allocation, investment strategies, and advising clients. But how do you obtain this valuable designation?
Administered by the College for Financial Planning, the AAMS designation has no prerequisites. Candidates must simply complete a self-study program that involves 80 to 100 hours of coursework and then pass the AAMS exam.
During this program, candidates will learn about asset allocation, investment strategies, risk management, tax planning, and estate planning. It costs $1,300 and includes study materials as well as one exam attempt.
The next step involves registering for the AAMS certification exam. The registration process includes filling out an online form and paying the examination fee.
Exam Preparation and Procedure
The AAMS certification exam — an online, closed-book test — has 80 questions and a three-hour duration. Candidates need a score of 70% or higher to pass, and they may have up to two attempts. They’ll receive their results straight after completing the exam.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for and pass the AAMS exam:
- Understand the exam format and content. Before you start preparing, familiarize yourself with the exam’s format and topic areas, which can be found on the College for Financial Planning’s website. Knowing what to expect will help you to tailor your study plan more effectively.
- Create a study plan. Once you have a clear understanding of what the exam entails, create a structured study plan to guide your preparation. Include specific time slots for each topic and stick to the plan as closely as possible, making sure to also allocate time for revision and practice tests later on.
- Use the right study materials. The quality of your study material can make a significant difference in your exam performance. Use study guides, textbooks, and other resources recommended by the College for Financial Planning or trusted professionals in the field.
After you pass the AAMS exam, you’ll receive an official AAMS certification via mail. Note that you must complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years and pay a $95 renewal fee in order to maintain your AAMS designation.
Ready to get started? StateRequirement recommends having a look at Kaplan’s study materials and resources.
AAMS Salary FAQ
What is an AAMS title?
The AAMS acronym stands for accredited asset management specialist. It’s a professional designation awarded to financial advisors and asset management specialists who successfully pass a comprehensive exam. This certification focuses on enhancing finance professionals’ expertise in asset management, including investment strategies and client advisory services. For more information, see our AAMS Certification article.
Is an AAMS better than a CFP?
It depends on your career goals and specialization. An AAMS focuses on asset management and investment strategies while a certified financial planner (CFP) covers financial planning topics, such as retirement, taxes, and estate planning. Learn more about the distinction between these two certifications in our AAMS vs. CFP guide.
Is AAMS a good designation?
As a respected credential within the financial industry, the AAMS designation can prove beneficial to those focusing on asset management and investment advising. An AAMS certification can open doors to specialized roles and often signifies expertise, making it a good investment for those seeking both career and salary growth. Learn more about your income potential in our AAMS Salary article.
What is the hardest financial designation?
Many financial professionals consider the chartered financial analyst (CFA) certification as the most challenging. The CFA program involves three rigorous levels of exams, requires a deep understanding of a broad range of financial topics, and demands a substantial time investment for preparation. The pass rates are relatively low, adding to its reputation for difficulty.
How long does it take to become an AAMS?
The time required to become an AAMS can vary, depending on your work background and study pace. You can expect to spend three to six months preparing for the AAMS exam, which includes time for study and exam registration. Once you pass the exam, the College for Financial Planning (a Kaplan Company) will award you the AAMS designation.