Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) Certification

An advanced credential created specifically for wealth managers who work with high-net-worth individuals, focusing on the life cycle of wealth: accumulation, preservation, and distribution. Candidates who earn the certification understand how to develop specific strategies to minimize taxes, monetize and protect assets, maximize growth, and transfer wealth.

High-net-worth individuals have unique needs that can’t be properly addressed by an advisor with a basic financial planning background. The Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) certification program is an advanced credential created specifically for wealth managers working with high-net-worth clients.

Developed by the Investments & Wealth Institute®, the CPWA® program focuses on the life cycle of wealth—accumulation, preservation, and distribution. CPWA® certified professionals are able to identify and analyze the unique 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.

The program begins with an approximately six-month long pre-study program and concludes with this 5-day long session. Program faculty include both University of Chicago Booth School of Business professors and experienced practitioners—wealth managers, retirement planning specialists, investment managers, tax experts and estate-planning and asset-protection attorneys.

Designed for wealth managers who advise high-net-worth clients, this program is open to those who have submitted an application detailing five years of relevant experience, and have completed the pre-study educational component.

Steps to Certification

The CPWA® certification program requires that candidates meet all eligibility requirements.
Step 1: Submit CPWA® Certification Program Application to the Investments & Wealth Institute®
Step 2: Complete pre-study educational component
Step 3: Attend entire five-day in-class program
Step 4: Pass CPWA Certification Exam
Step 5: Provide compliance disclosure, complete license agreement and pay initial certification fee.

If you have not yet begun the CPWA certification process or would like more information about the Investments & Wealth Institute®’s advanced certification qualifications, please contact the Investments & Wealth Institute™ directly at investmentsandwealth.org or (303) 770-3377.


2024 program fee: $7,295

Fees are subject to change. Accommodations are included. Please visit investmentsandwealth.org for the most up-to-date information.


Chicago Booth, Gleacher Center, Chicago, IL

Before beginning the CPWA certification process, candidates must demonstrate the following program prerequisites:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or one of the following designations or licenses: CIMA®, CIMC®, CFA®, CFP®, ChFC®, RMA®, or CPA® license.
  • Undergo and pass a background check.
  • Five years of experience in financial services or delivering services to high-net-worth clients.

John Heaton

Joseph L. Gidwitz Professor of Finance
John C. Heaton studies asset pricing, portfolio allocation, and time-series econometrics. He first became drawn to this area because he was "intrigued by the idea of understanding economic phenomena both to guide policy and to help people make better decisions." His research in these areas has earned him numerous fellowships, including an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship from 1993 to 1995, and a National Science Foundation Fellowship from 1993 to 1998.

Prior to joining the Chicago Booth faculty in 2000, Heaton was the Nathan S. and Mary P. Sharp Distinguished Professor of Finance at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. He also has held positions at MIT's Sloan School of Management and at the Hoover Institution. Heaton is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. The practical problems investors and institutions face are a key component of his teaching.

Originally from Canada, Heaton earned a bachelor's degree in commerce at the University of Windsor in 1982, a master's degree in economics from the University of Western Ontario in 1984, and a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago in 1989. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 2000. Outside of academia, Heaton enjoys music, skiing, and sailing.

Merle Erickson

Professor of Accounting
Merle Erickson studies the effect of taxes on the pricing and structuring of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; and the use of accounting information in valuation and contracting. He also studies, among other things, various aspects of accounting fraud. He teaches “Taxes and Business Strategy” at Booth and has taught the course for the last twenty five years.

In addition to numerous articles published in a variety of top academic journals, Erickson is a coauthor of the widely used Taxes and Business Strategy textbook (currently in its 6th edition) and is the author/editor of the casebook, Cases in Tax Strategy. From 2005-2011, he served as a co-editor of the Journal of Accounting Research.

Over the course of his career, Erickson has consulted on complex GAAP and tax accounting issues (e.g., debt versus equity, various ASC 740 related issues, intercompany accounting and consolidation, employee stock option accounting, accounting for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures (e.g., spin-offs, leveraged partnerships, reverse Morris Trust transactions), restated financial statements, etc.) in a variety of contexts (e.g., bankruptcy, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, inversions, structured finance, investment planning, cross border and intercompany financing, partnership and LLC arrangements, tax sharing agreements, shareholder disputes, and various types of tax advantaged transactions). His clients have included, among others, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, Fortune 500 companies in various industries, international financial institutions, law firms, accounting firms, and individual taxpayers. He has also assisted corporations with SEC, IRS and whistleblower investigations. Erickson brings these real world experiences to his “Taxes Business Strategy” and executive education courses at Booth.

Prior to entering academia, he assisted the U.S. Government in its prosecution of the Lincoln Saving & Loan case. He subsequently published an academic article and teaching case relating to the audit failure associated with the Lincoln Saving & Loan case. That teaching case has been used by the Big 4 to train junior auditors. 

He has been given several awards from the American Taxation Association for his research and teaching. He has received the Outstanding Manuscript Award (twice) as well as an award for teaching innovation. In addition to teaching graduate students at Chicago Booth, Erickson has taught courses to Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, General Electric Capital Corporation, Baker McKenzie, Andersen Consulting, Accenture, CareerBuilder, and the IMCA (Investment Management Consultants Association) among others. He also was been named one of BusinessWeek's Outstanding Faculty at the University of Chicago.

Erickson earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Rockhurst College in 1987, an MBA in 1989 from Arizona State University, and a PhD in accounting from the University of Arizona in 1996. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1996.

In addition to his scholarly activities, Erickson is an avid fisherman. His angling pursuits have taken him from the pristine wilderness lakes of northern Canada to some of the remotest stretches of the Great Barrier Reef. He received the Angler Award from the Billfish Foundation in 2003 for releasing the most striped marlin worldwide that year.

Lubos Pastor

Charles P. McQuaid Distinguished Service Professor of Finance and Robert King Steel Faculty Fellow

Lubos Pastor is Charles P. McQuaid Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He also serves as vice president of the European Finance Association, member of the CRSP Index Advisory Council, member of the board of the Fama-Miller Center for Research in Finance, research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy and Research. Outside academia, he serves as an independent director and trustee of Vanguard. He has served as director of the American Finance Association, director of the European Finance Association, president of the Western Finance Association, member of the Bank Board of the National Bank of Slovakia, director of the Center for Research in Security Prices, and associate editor of the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, and the Review of Financial Studies.

Professor Pastor’s research focuses mostly on financial markets and investment management. His articles have appeared in the American Economic Review, Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Monetary Economics, Journal of Political Economy, Review of Financial Studies, and other outlets. His research has been awarded four Fama/DFA Prizes, two Smith Breeden Prizes, AQR Insight Award, Barclays Global Investors Prize, BlackRock Research Award, Goldman Sachs Asset Management Prize, Moskowitz Prize, NASDAQ Award, QMA Award, and Q Group Award.

Professor Pastor has been teaching at Chicago Booth since 1999 when he obtained a Ph.D. in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has received the McKinsey Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as two Faculty Excellence Awards at Chicago Booth.

Kim Kamin

Principal, Gresham Partners, LLC

Kim Kamin is a Principal at Gresham Partners, LLC where she serves as Chief Wealth Strategist and a Client Advisor. She leads Gresham’s development and implementation of estate, wealth transfer, philanthropic and fiduciary planning activities, and advises clients. Previously she was a partner in the Private Clients, Trusts and Estates Group at Schiff Hardin LLP where for many years her legal practice involved all aspects of trust and estate planning, administration and dispute resolution; advising families and closely held businesses on a wide array of wealth preservation, asset protection and succession planning issues; representing fiduciaries, custodians, and beneficiaries in estate administration and contested trust and estate matters; and serving as counsel for the formation and operation of not-for-profit entities. Ms. Kamin is an adjunct professor at the Northwestern University School of Law where she has been awarded the William M. Trumbull Lectureship, and has taught Advanced Trusts and Estates, the Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates, and Estate Planning.

Ms. Kamin is on the Editorial Advisory Board of Trusts and Estates Magazine. She has published on a wide variety of topics and is also a frequent lecturer in a variety of venues (including Family Office Exchange, ALI-CLE, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Chicago Estate Planning Council, Chicago Bar Association, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Annual Notre Dame Tax & Estate Planning Institute, Tulane Tax Institute, and CLE International’s Visual Arts and the Law Conference). She is also an "Xpert" for Trust & Estates' IdeaXchange, http://wealthmanagement.com/author/kim-kamin. She has co-edited the recently released book, Estate Planning for Modern Families for the Leimberg Library Tools & Techniques series.

Ms. Kamin serves on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Estate Planning Council, the Chicago Community Trust Professional Advisory Council, the Art Institute of Chicago Gift Planning Advisory Committee, the Northwestern Memorial Foundation Council for Philanthropy, the Goodman Theatre Spotlight Advisory Council, and the Chicago Foundation for Women Professional Advisory Council. She also serves on the Chicago Stanford Association’s Board of Leaders. She is a member of The Economic Club of Chicago, where she has served on several committees. Ms. Kamin is a Fellow with the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel where she chairs the New Fellows Steering Committee and the Wealth Strategist and Fiduciary Counsel Subcommittee.

Professional awards and recognitions include Illinois Attorney Under 40 To Watch by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company (2008), The Best Lawyers in America® in the practice areas of both Trusts and Estates, and Litigation - Trusts & Estates (2011-present), selected as an Illinois Rising Star in Illinois Super Lawyers (2009, 2011), selected to Illinois Super Lawyers (2011- 2014), Leading Lawyer in Trust, Will & Estate Planning Law with the Illinois Leading Lawyer Network (2010-2014), and "AV Rated" by Martindale-Hubbell. Ms. Kamin is a member of the Chicago Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Ms. Kamin received her B.A., with distinction and departmental honors, from Stanford University and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

Michael E. Kitces

Head of Planning Strategy, Buckingham Wealth Partners
Michael E. Kitces, MSFS, MTAX, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, RHU, REBC, CASL, is the Head of Planning Strategy at Buckingham Wealth Partners.

Mike Kurz

Director of Programs, The Investments & Wealth Institute
Mike Kurz, CIMA®, CFP®, CAIA, CPWA®, is the Director of Programs at The Investments & Wealth Institute.

Jeff Levine

Lead Financial Planning Nerd, Kitces.com; Chief Planning Officer, Buckingham Wealth Partners
Jeff Levine, CPA®/PFS, CFP®, AIF, CWS, MSA, is the Lead Financial Planning Nerd at Kitces.com and Chief Planning Officer at Buckingham Wealth Partners.

John Nersesian

CFP®, CIMA®, CIS, CPWA®, Head of Advisor Education, PIMCO

John Nersesian is head of advisor education at PIMCO, providing advanced wealth management and investment consulting education to financial professionals. Prior to joining PIMCO in 2019, he was senior managing director of wealth management services for Nuveen Investments. Previously, he was a first vice president at Merrill Lynch Private Client Group, where he also led advanced training for financial consultants. He served as a board member of the Investments and Wealth Institute (IWI, formerly IMCA) from 2006–2017 and as chairman for the 2014–2015 term, and he is a faculty member for the IWI Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA) and Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) education programs held at Yale University and The University of Chicago. He has 35 years of investment and financial services experience and holds an undergraduate degree in business and economics from Lehigh University.

Steven G. Siegel

President, The Siegel Group
Steven G. Siegel, JD, LLM is the President of The Siegel Group.
Part I: Human Dynamics
  • Ethics
  • Behavioral Finance
  • Family Dynamics

Part II: Wealth Management – Technical Design

  • Tax Planning
  • Portfolio Management
  • Risk Management and Asset Protection

Part III: Legacy Issues

  • Charitable Giving and Endowments
  • Estate Issues and Wealth Transfer

Part IV: Specialty Client Services

  • Planning for Executives
  • Planning for Closely Held Business Owners
  • Retirement Management

I am a 25-year veteran of the financial services business with most of that time on the wealth management side and almost all of it at Northern Trust here in Chicago. Currently I am a managing director for one of our Wealth Advisory teams. One of the things that you realize in this business is that it is constantly changing—investment opportunities, tax and estate planning strategies, regulations, etc. If you are not committed to continuous learning, you are in effect falling behind. There has been a proliferation of certifications and accreditations in this business. What attracted me to the Certified Private Wealth Advisor program is that it is targeted to the advisor who works with the ultra-high-net-worth client. The other attractive aspect of the CPWA program is the partnership between IMCA [now the Investments & Wealth Institute] and The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Both organizations bring a high level of intellectual capital to the table. I began applying the knowledge gained in this program immediately—while I was still going through the program.

-Charles Mueller, CPWA®, CTFA, Senior Vice President, Managing Director, Northern Trust

The CPWA program is the perfect complement to the CIMA program—the former adding practical wealth management strategies atop the latter’s theoretical and math-laden framework. While the CIMA program breaks down investments and processes iteratively into smaller parts for analysis, the CPWA program assures that the advisor can extract exponential value beyond the mere sum of the parts of a client's wealth. The CPWA program succinctly and effectively provides the toolset necessary to compete in the ultra-high-net-worth space. Our practice already caters primarily to this market segment, but I found the coursework prior and the week in residence to be both a wonderful refresher of core competencies as well as a lab brimming over with the latest wealth management techniques and perspectives. All of this was conveyed through relevant real life examples of practitioners, peers, and authors. The program made such an impression on me that I insisted that four of my colleagues participate in the winter class so that as a group we would become more effective in our roles.

-Rick Schultz, CIMA®, CPWA®, CEP, AIF, Senior Vice President – Investments, UBS Financial Services

The five-day intensive class at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business was the most awesome week I’ve ever spent. The professors, advisors, and other consultants who spoke to us were of a caliber that I never experienced going to school. It was wonderful – exhausting – but wonderful. And the classmates I met are another resource network I can tap into.

-Helen Modly, CPWA®, ChFC, CFP® Executive Vice President, Focus Wealth Management, Ltd.

We recently sent six people from our staff through the CPWA certification program. We found the content to be excellent and relevant for advisors and individuals supporting the ultra-high-net-worth marketplace. Instructors, along with facilities at the University of Chicago, were first class. I would strongly recommend the CPWA program to individuals working with high-net-worth taxable clients.

-James Durocher, CPWA®, Director, Eaton Vance Distributors, Inc.

2024 Program Dates:
June 17-21, 2024
September 16-20, 2024


This program runs multiple times a year.