The online magazine of the Swiss Bankers Association
April 10, 2018


Over 10,000 client advisors SAQ-certified

Over 10,000 client advisors SAQ-certified

Since 2017, the SBA has recommended that its members certify their client advisors. This certification makes it possible to effectively and sustainably promote quality, professionalism and excellence in client advisory services, and provides customers with official documentation thereof.

Competent client advisors are the key element of a successful bank. However, with the continuous rise in customer demands and compliance requirements, how do client advisors demonstrate whether they are capable of providing high-quality financial services in the current environment? Proof of expertise can be helpful to this end.

Recommended by the SBA

The industry solution is called “Bank Customer Advisor” person certification. Since December 2017, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) has recommended that its members certify their client advisors in accordance with the standards for “Bank Customer Advisor” person certification of the Swiss Association for Quality (SAQ). The SAQ is a neutral and independent body for person certification, and issues the certification, which is also known beyond Switzerland’s borders, in accordance with international standards (ISO 17024).

Over the past few months, the SAQ, in collaboration with the sector, has introduced six person certifications for various types of client advisory Services:

  • Certified Wealth Management Advisor CWMA
  • Certified Client Advisor Affluent Clients
  • Certified Corporate Banker CCoB
  • Certified Client Advisor SMEs
  • Individual clients (Certified Client Advisor Individual Clients) 
  • Certified Client Advisor Private Clients

Over 10,000 client advisors have already been certified.

Person certification provides client advisors with a certificate that is valid across Switzerland as well as internationally. It demonstrates that they have a standardised qualifications profile, meaning they have in-depth theoretical knowledge as well as practical skills.

The path to certification

In order to become certified, participants must successfully complete a written banking exam as well as an oral exam in the form of a simulated client meeting. This requires proper individual preparation – with or without preparatory courses. Further to this, client advisors must also renew their certification every three years through a recertification process, which ensures that the expertise of client advisors is always up to date. The SAQ has mandated a number of testing organisations to carry out the exams.

International recognition of the CWMA

With the support of the SBA, the Swiss banks aim to have the SAQ “Certified Wealth Management Advisor" person certification recognised in various European countries. A first submission to this end has been made to the Spanish regulator. The advantage of recognition of the CWMA certification by foreign regulators is that client advisors must then only meet the local certification requirements in those countries in order to be able to perform their wealth management activities.

Client advisor certification is therefore not just proof of quality vis-à-vis the bank client, but also promotes international mobility.