Who should be allowed to certify top advisors? Sean Walters, chief executive officer of Investment Management Consultants Association, talks with associate editor Mason Braswell about how the organization's examination curriculum is changing to account for the evolving needs of high net worth clients and why certification programs in general will face increased scrutiny from regulators.

1. What's behind the recent changes in curriculum? Investors and regulators are scrutinizing credentials and demanding more expertise from advisors. The bar for competent and ethical advice will only get higher. We completed a job analysis for private wealth advisors last year and just updated our curriculum for the Certified Private Wealth Advisor and Certified Investment Management Analyst certifications. Now a higher percentage of both programs focus on risk management, and they have also enhanced their behavioral finance sections substantially. It's about understanding the emotions of high net worth families and the human dynamics that go along with multigenerational wealth transfer. One issue in our industry is that the term "wealth management" is used fast and loose. It applies to working with high net worth families with $5 million or more in assets and requires knowledge of taxes, portfolio management, legacy planning and understanding vastly different client types.

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