Executive Education

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.


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: Sign Licensing Agreement and adhere to the Investments & Wealth Institute® Code of Professional Responsibility, Standards of Practice, and Rules and Guidance for use of the marks.

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.

Investments & Wealth Institute® members: $6,995
New members: $7,390
$6,995 for certification program and $395 for annual membership
Non-members: $7,995
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

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John C. Heaton

Joseph L. Gidwitz Professor of Finance

John C. Heaton studies asset pricing, portfolio allocation, and time-series econometrics. He was first 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.

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Merle Erickson

Professor of Accounting

Merle Erickson is a professor of accounting at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1996. Professor Erickson teaches graduate level courses on taxes and business strategy.

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Lubos Pastor

Charles P. McQuaid Professor of Finance

Lubos Pastor is Charles P. McQuaid Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy and Research. In addition, he serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, and Review of Financial Studies.

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.

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®, RMA®, CFA®, CFP®, ChFC®, or CPA® license.
  • Undergo and pass a background check
  • Five years of experience in financial services or delivering services to high-net-worth clients.


Part I: Human Dynamics
  • Section 1: Ethics
  • Section 2: Applied Behavioral Finance
  • Section 3: Family Dynamics
Part II: Wealth Management Strategies
  • Section 4: Tax Strategies and Planning
  • Section 5: Portfolio Management
  • Section 6: Risk Management and Asset Protection
Part III: Client Specialization
  • Section 7: Client Focus—Executives
  • Section 8: Client Focus—Closely Held Business Owners
  • Section 9: Client Focus—Retirement
Part IV: Legacy Planning
  • Section 10: Charitable Group
  • Section 11: Estate Planning and Wealth Transfer

Upcoming Courses

Date Fee  
October 4-8, 2020 $7,495 (member) Apply Now »

Fee does not include accommodations.

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