A wealth management specialist (WMS) is a professional who advises high-net-worth individuals on how to manage their financial assets.
Due to a growing emphasis on sound financial planning, the role of a WMS has become both increasingly important and an increasingly lucrative career choice for many.
This Wealth Management Specialist Salary article delves into the factors that may influence how much you can earn, the kind of jobs you can expect, and the requirements needed to obtain the WMS designation.
Wealth Management Specialist Salary Overview
A WMS provides comprehensive financial services to affluent clients. They may offer investment advice, estate planning and tax services, banking assistance, and philanthropy guidance.
The average salary for a WMS is $45,152 per year, although this can vary based on an individual’s location, experience, industry, and qualifications. A WMS’s salary will also depend on the company and industry in which they work. They may work at a wealth management firm, brokerage company, or a business dealing with portfolio services.
Additionally, this career path offers great potential for salary growth, with recent data showing a WMS can often reach up to $105,000 with enough experience. Bear in mind that an entry-level WMS with less than one year of experience can only expect to earn around $24,000 per year.
To be able to seize the salary opportunities that come with this credential, a well-structured study plan is vital. Candidates are highly encouraged to make use of quality study materials when preparing, as these will provide you with a deep understanding necessary for the exam.
Recommended Study Materials
Interested in starting your WMS studies? We recommend Kaplan’s in-depth study materials.
For a more detailed overview of the WMS qualification, check out our Wealth Management Specialist article.
Factors Influencing Salary
A range of factors can influence the salary of a WMS — from their experience, education, and location to the type of job they have and the company they work for.
Here are some of the most common factors that can shape the highest salary and lowest salary available to a WMS:
- Experience: A WMS with more years in the field can earn a higher salary because their expertise can allow them to attract a larger and more affluent client base
- Location: Geographic location has a large impact on an individual’s salary. Working in cities with big financial districts, for example, will generally bring higher compensation than working in smaller towns
- Company or Industry: The type of organization you work for plays a huge role in salary levels. For example, large investment banks and private wealth management firms will generally pay far higher salaries than small local banks or non-profit organizations
- Specialization: Due to the differing levels of demand for each area of wealth management, such as tax planning or estate planning, certain specializations have the potential to offer a far higher earning potential
Understanding the various factors that influence a WMS’s salary can help you plan your career path and set realistic goals based on your income potential.
Wealth Management Specialist Jobs
This multifaceted role involves a blend of financial planning, investment advisory services, and client relationship management. From private banks and investment firms to consultancies and self-employment opportunities, these professionals have many career paths available to them.
Below are some common ones held by WMS professionals:
- Wealth Managers: A wealth manager is a financial advisor who offers a wide range of services to help both existing and new clients grow and preserve their wealth over time
- Private Banking Advisors: In this role, a WMS serves high-net-worth clients within a private banking institution, offering tailored financial solutions that include anything from investment advice to estate planning
- Investment Advisors: The primary focus of this job involves managing investment portfolios, including advising on asset allocation, risk assessment, inventory management, and selecting appropriate investment vehicles
- Tax Planners: As an expert in tax law and strategy, a WMS in this role helps clients minimize their tax liability through various financial instruments and planning techniques
- Retirement Planners: These WMS professionals specialize in preparing clients for retirement, advising them on pension plans, savings, and other income-generating investments for their retirement years
- Estate Planners: Specializing in planning for the transfer of assets at death, this role involves an intricate knowledge of wills, trusts, and estate laws
The WMS qualification is a solid foundation for a career in finance as it unlocks a wide range of rewarding roles in this sector — from advising high-net-worth clients to working as a specialized estate planner.
How to Get Your WMS Designation
There are no prerequisites for candidates interested in taking a WMS training course and exam. Below, we’ve explored the requirements that you’ll need to satisfy in order to obtain your WMS designation.
Candidates must enroll and complete a WMS program before they can take the final exam. The College for Financial Planning (CFFP) provides a WMS program that enables candidates to study at their own pace, as long as you finish the curriculum within 120 days of gaining the program’s access code.
To maintain the WMS designation, you’ll need to engage in continuing education (CE) and professional development. This typically involves completing 16 hours of CE credits every two years.
All candidates must pass the final closed-book exam administered online by the CFFP in order to obtain this qualification. This exam will test your knowledge of a variety of financial planning topics, such as investment strategies, estate planning, tax liability minimization, and risk management.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the exam:
- Understand the exam syllabus. This two-hour exam includes 100 multiple-choice questions. Knowing what areas it’ll cover will help you create a focused study plan. To pass the exam, you must achieve a score of at least 70%
- Use official study materials. Always use study guides, practice questions, and other materials provided — or recommended — by the issuing organization. These materials are tailored to the specific requirements of the exam
- Take mock exams. Regularly taking full-length mock exams will not only help you gauge your readiness, but also familiarize you with the exam’s format, question types, and time constraints
Passing the WMS exam is a key step in obtaining the WMS designation, which signifies your expertise in managing the financial needs of high-net-worth individuals and families.
Ready to get started? StateRequirement recommends Kaplan’s study materials and resources.
Wealth Management Specialist Salary FAQ
What is a wealth management specialist?
A wealth management specialist (WMS) helps wealthy clients plan and manage their financial goals. A WMS can offer services like investment advice, tax planning, estate planning, retirement planning, and philanthropic guidance. They also have the knowledge and skills to handle complex and diverse financial situations. Check out our Wealth Management Specialist article for more information.
Is a career in wealth management worth it?
A career in wealth management can prove worthwhile for some people, but it’s not for everyone. It all depends on your personal goals, preferences, and abilities. A career in wealth management is worthwhile if you’re passionate about finance and enjoy working with people. Employers in the highest-paying industries often offer competitive salaries to attract skilled wealth management specialists.
What does a wealth management banking specialist do?
A wealth management banking specialist offers advice to high-net-worth clients on financial strategies, including investment planning, estate management, and tax optimization. Employed by banks or financial institutions, they analyze clients’ financial portfolios to offer customized solutions aimed at wealth preservation and growth. Their role often involves cross-selling banking products, such as loans and accounts, to meet clients’ holistic financial needs.
Do you need an MBA for wealth management?
While a master of business administration (MBA) isn’t a mandatory requirement for a career in wealth management, it’s a great way to open yourself up to more jobs. Getting an MBA can help you gain advanced knowledge and skills in finance, accounting, economics, marketing, and management — all of which are essential for wealth management. However, an MBA isn’t the only option for individuals seeking wealth management education.
How long does it take to become a wealth manager?
Becoming a wealth manager typically requires a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field, which takes about four years to earn. If candidates decide to pursue additional certifications, such as the CFP or CFA, this can add on a few extra years. For more information on how much you could make in this career, check out our Wealth Management Specialist Salary article.