The online magazine of the Swiss Bankers Association
December 14, 2016


Wealth management certificate of the highest quality

Wealth management certificate of the highest quality

The Certified Wealth Management Advisor (CWMA) certificate is an international seal of quality and stands for professionalism and excellence. The SBA recommends that its member banks certify their client advisors according to this standard.

The Swiss Association for Quality’s (SAQ) CWMA standard for person certification in wealth management according to the international ISO 17024 standard was initially developed by UBS in collaboration with the SAQ. The certification is federally accredited by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS), and therefore conforms to the requirements set out by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

Certification ensures quality and sets benchmark

The importance of such a seal of quality for the industry is recognised by the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA). In collaboration with industry representatives, the SBA conducted an in-depth analysis of the necessity of certification and the opportunities that certification provides. Competent client advisors constitute the core of all successful wealth management. The demands on successful client advisors are continuously increasing, both as a result of customer needs, and of the compliance requirements set out by the supervisory authority. In the wealth management segment, the CWMA provides the banks in Switzerland with a common standard as regards content, and according to which they can certify their client advisors for the complex duties they perform. With the common certification standard as a basis, quality, professionalism and excellence – central elements of this challenging area of business – can be systematically, effectively and sustainably promoted.

Competent client advisors constitute the core of all successful wealth management.

The certification of client advisors in wealth management and private banking is equally advantageous for the banks, employees and the Swiss financial centre. And not least of all, a common industry standard allows for transparency in terms of the level of training within the Swiss finance industry, which will also serve as a seal of quality in international private Banking. The SBA therefore recommends that its member institutions certify their client advisors according to the CWMA standard. 

Widespread application

Numerous banks and banking groups already certify their client advisors according to SAQ standards. These include UBS, Credit Suisse, Julius Baer as well as the group Banques Cantonales Latines (cantonal banks from the cantons of Ticino, Fribourg, Geneva, Jura, Valais, Neuchâtel and Vaud).

Additional person certifications available

In addition to the Certified Wealth Management Advisor (CWMA) standard, three further Bank Client Advisor person certifications can currently be obtained through the SAQ: certification for private client advisors, individual client advisors and for corporate and institutional client advisors. Two standards, SME Client Advisor and Affluent Client Advisor are still in the preparation phase. Banks can thus certify their employees according to their respective areas of activity by focussing on different, specific lines of business. The SBA will decide whether to issue recommendations relating to these additional certifications at a later time.

Banks control content, requirements and qualification process

The SAQ’s standards committee, which defines and further develops the requirements, procedure for qualification and process for obtaining certification, includes representatives from UBS, Credit Suisse, Julius Baer, Banque Cantonale Vaudoise for the cantonal banks, and the SBA. One seat each is reserved on the committee for additional bank groups (as soon as applicable).

The banks have a certain amount of room for manoeuvre. They are free to decide how to prepare their client advisors for certification. A number of banks conduct basic and further certification-related training in-house, Others delegate this to an external training provider. Furthermore, the materials studied can to a certain extent be adjusted to the roles of the client advisors.

If they meet the SAS’ requirements in terms of SAQ / ISO17024, banks, bank groups and other external institutions can also be mandated by the SAQ to serve as institutions where testing is conducted. 

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