Updated on April 22, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

CFP vs CWM Differences

The CFP exam is organized by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board), the USA, focuses on a curriculum that prepares candidates for estate planning, risk management, retirement planning, and financial management roles. Whereas, CWM exam is conducted by the American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM), USA, and prepares students for roles like Wealth Manager, Asset Manager, Market Analyst, and Financial Controller.

We will discuss the following in this article –

  1. CFP vs CWM Infographics
  2. What is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?
  3. What is a Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM)?
  4. CFP vs CWM Exam Requirements
  5. Why pursue CFP?
  6. Why pursue CWM?

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CFP vs CWM Infographics

Reading time: 90 seconds

Let’s understand the difference between these two streams with the help of this CFP vs CWM Infographics.

CFP vs CWM Infographics

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CFP vs CWM – Comparative Table

Certification Organized ByThe Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board), USA, organizes the exam.The American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM), USA, conducts the exam.
PatternIt is a single-level course for which candidates must write two 3-hour exams in one day.The course is divided into two levels: –

• Level 1 – Foundation level
• Level 2 – Advanced level
Duration of courseA candidate can complete the course in three years.A candidate has to pass both levels within three years.
SyllabusThe core curriculum includes

• General Principles of Financial Planning
• Professional Conduct & Regulation
• Risk Management & Insurance Planning
• Education Planning
• Tax Planning
• Retirement Savings & Income Planning
• Investment Planning
• Estate Planning

Some of the course topics are

• Global Financial System
• Investment Vehicles of Wealth Management
• Managing Investment Risk
• Wealth Management in Banking
• Intergenerational Wealth Transfer
• Equity Analysis
• Alternative Products in Wealth Management
• Behavioural Finance in Wealth Management
• Real Estate Valuation and Analysis
• Portfolio Management Strategies
Exam FeesRegistration fees may vary as follows: –

• $825 (6 weeks before the registration deadline)
• $925 (Standard registration)
• $1,025 (2 weeks before the registration deadline)

The course cost can be break-up as follows: –

• Registration fees: $400 (valid for a year)
• Level 1 exam fees: $200
• Level 2 exam fees: $600
• Re-exam fees: $200
• Certification fees: $100
JobsAs of the end of 2019, there were more than 86k CFP® professionals. And, 1 out of every five financial advisors is a CFP in the US. Some of the common profiles include-

• Estate Planner
• Risk Manager
• Retirement Planner
• Financial Manager
There are more than 50,000 members across 100 countries. Some of the common profiles include-

• Wealth Manager
• Asset Manager
• Market Analyst
• Financial Controller
DifficultyThe difficulty level is moderate. During 2019, the overall pass rate was 62%, while that for the first-timers was even higher at 66%.The passing criterion is 50% in the exams. However, the success rate of the candidates is not available in the public domain.
Exam DateThe forthcoming exam dates are as follows: –

• Mar 08-15, 2022 (Registration opens from Nov 11, 2021)
• Jul 12-19, 2022 (Registration opens from Mar 17, 2022)
• Nov 01-08, 2022 (Registration opens from Jul 14, 2022)
A candidate can schedule an exam for only the 10th and 20th of every month.

What is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?

The CFP course gives the candidate a mark or a professional certification as a financial planner conferred by the Certified Planner Board of Standards or the CFP Board based in the USA. This course is available at 25 other organizations affiliated with this board. The organizations outside the USA are marked as the international owners of CFP.

To gain the authority to use this designation, the candidate needs to compensate a continuous certification fee and meet the course’s education criteria, appear for the exam, experience in financial planning, and follow its ethical standards by following its code of ethics. The USA and the UK have different specifications to acquire this certificate.

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What is a Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM)?

The CWM certification is conferred by the USA-based AAFM (The American Academy of Financial Management). In addition, this certified council also grants other certificates. The course’s core focus is on the theory of the capital and the financial market, the principles of financial service organizations, investment and portfolio management, and other financial market knowledge addition to the profession.

The completion of CWM is an assurance that the candidate can appropriately perform the following financial management jobs.

  1. Measuring the value of all listed companies
  2. Perform analyses of financial estate
  3. Understand the time horizon of portfolio management
  4. Balance the returns and risks appropriately.
  5. Look and identify market opportunities.
  6. Handle and manage market products
  7. Handles asset allocations
  8. Manage clients and their requirements

CFP and CWM exam requirements


To pass the CFP examination, the candidate needs to meet the following criteria of the course: –

  • The candidate needs to clear an examination spread over two days for about 10 hours, under which the candidate has to solve a zillion of questions with multiple choices. Therefore, this exam definitely cannot be taken delicately.
  • The examination is held in different locations three times a year: March, July, and November.
  • The examination fee needs to be paid to appear for this exam. It is also important to know what will assist if the candidate cannot study or understand the subjects.


To pass the CWM examination, the candidate must accomplish the following expectations of the course: –

  • The candidate needs to clear the Level I and Level II examination. The enrolment for this examination is done on the AAFM website.
  • An approximate fee is applicable to register for this examination.
  • To be eligible for this examination, the candidate needs to have   3-years of experience in the same field.
  • Eligibility criteria include a degree in economics, taxation, and wealth management.

Why pursue CFP?

Suppose the candidate is an expert at client management, especially financial planning for their clients by managing their money, investments, etc. In that case, they must pursue CFP to enhance their talent and knowledge. Also, they may work on individual clients and handle their long-term and short-term goals. With the help of the CFP knowledge, a candidate can guide clients on estate planning, legal restrictions, financial laws, investment planning, tax planning, insurance benefits, etc.

The CFP enables the ability to understand the client’s business to offer a complete financial solution. The moral responsibilities of a CFP are preparing to interview the client about his finances, income, and outgoing of his money, preparing a financial plan accordingly, executing the program, and monitoring the plan’s outcome.

The candidate may also work as a self-employed or financial advisor in an organization. These organizations can be insurance companies, banks, mutual fund companies, or an AMC.

Why pursue CWM?

Suppose the candidate works as a portfolio and asset manager, wealth manager, corporate account manager, broker, market analyst, etc. In that case, the CWM degree will boost their career and add value to their resume.

Upon completion of the CWM course, a candidate can ensure they can be capable of assessing the value of all listed companies, perform as a financial estate analyst, understand the time horizon of portfolio management, balance the risks and returns of the assets, identify the opportunities of the market, understand market products, handle the allocation of assets and manage clients.

Alternatively, they may continue to work in the same company or switch jobs. They can also commence their own business after the completion of CWM. The CWM gives unlimited potential to the candidate’s skills and knowledge.

Reader Interactions


  1. sudipta mukherji says

    Wonderful article.In-depth analysis & practical guidance. Thank you.

  2. Pratik Phunguskar says

    Hey Dheeraj,

    This article is really awesome, was very helpful for me.

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      thanks Pratik for your kind words! :-)

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