American Academy of Financial Management
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|Type||Certifying and accreditation body|
|Website||AAFM IndiaAAFM China|
The American Academy of Financial Management was a US-based board of standards, certifying body, and accreditation council focused on the finance sector and management professionals. On October 16, 2010, the Wall Street Journal itemized the exam, training and educational requirements for certifications offered by AAFM where the Wall Street Journal directly referenced the FINRA certification requirements of AAFM stating that, " Eligible candidates must successfully complete at least one of the following: 1) Approved Global Online Training Package in financial planning and asset management 2) Approved degree (graduate or undergraduate) in finance, tax, accounting, financial services, law 3) or a: CPA, MBA, MS, PhD, or JD from an accredited school or organization, 4) 5 or more approved and related courses from an AACSB or ACBSP nationally accredited business school or sanctioned Executive Certification training course." .Wall Street Journal's Published Certification Requirements October 2010 Detailed FINRA Certification Requirements AAFM Nationally Accredited Certification Course Guidelines It has been featured in the Wall Street Journal as having double accreditation requirements for the credentials it confers and for excessive claims of links to other associations and industry experts.
The AAFM was founded in 1996 through a merger of the American Academy of Financial Management & Analysts (AAFMA) and the Founders Advisory Committee of the Original Tax and Estate Planning Law Review. In January 2015, the AAFM sold its intellectual property to the Global Academy and International Board of Standards, which now awards the AAFM's certifications in the US. In some other countries, such as India and China, AAFM still operates with various training available and government recognition.
The AAFM offered multiple professional membership, certifications, and designations. Members must either have come through one of the AAFM-recognized university programs or through a government-recognized executive educational program, although the board may waive these requirements in some cases. The AAFM board has never directly provided training, but has recognized hundreds of approved providers. 
The AAFM awarded a number of its own designations, including chartered asset manager (CAM), chartered market analyst (CMA), chartered portfolio manager (CPM), chartered trust and estate planner (CTEP), chartered wealth manager (CWM), and master financial professional (MFP).
Some of these designations are available to anyone with a double accredited degree or license in finance, investments, securities, economics, or accounting upon payment of a fee. CWM certification normally involves about 80 hours of online study, although holders of certain professional designations, such as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA), need only take a test and pay a fee; and anyone with sufficient professional experience can skip the test and get the designation by only paying fees. Those with a degree that has involved at least some business coursework may also take an AAFM certification course, pay a fee, and receive an MFP. However, these trademarks were sold to the GAFM in 2015. GAFM GAFM Press
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) eight designations are "offered and recognized by the issuing organization" (i.e., AAFM). FINRA does not state on these pages that they, or anyone else, recognises them. FINRA does state that it does not approve or endorse any professional credential or designation listed on its website. However, the FINRA does explicitly list the education, degree, exam and other requirements for each certification.
Criticism and Evidence
In October 2010, the Wall Street Journal published an article detailing the use of questionable credentials by financial advisors that discussed the AAFM extensively. The article noted that the AAFM included among its Global Board of Academic Advisors & Professors several individuals who had never given their permission to be listed as board members. The article criticized the practice of many standards boards, AAFM included, of awarding credentials without requiring applicants to undergo any sort of assessment or examination, quoting the AAFM's founder, George Mentz, as evidence of this practice.
A claim on the AAFM website that it had a special affiliation with both the CFA Institute and the CFP Board, which administer Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Financial Planner certificate programs, respectively, was rebutted by representatives of both organizations in the article. The CFP Board said that the AAFM had once helped provide continuing education for CFPs, but that it hasn't done so since 2006. Some of the individuals listed in a board of advisors told the WSJ they had no idea they were listed and hadn't agreed to it. However, the AAFM has published the written consent letters of both Dr. Harvey and Mr. Gold. Dr. Harvey Consent Email Mr. Gold's Consent Letter
The AAFM has countered that individuals listed on its board of advisors did consent to be listed, posting emails from two individuals on its website. Dr. Harvey Consent Email Mr. Gold's Consent Letter The organization also posted to its website part of the signature page of a document agreeing that the Association for Investment Management Research (the precursor to the CFA Institute) would not contest the AAFM's trademarks, Signed by the CFA Institute's General Counsel, Sharon Glover, who was Jeannie Andersons supervisor at the time" [sic].
- "Is Your Wealth Manager Certifiable?", The Wall Street Journal: D1, October 27, 2004.
- "Is Your Advisor Pumping Up His Credentials?", The Wall Street Journal, October 16, 2010.
- "American Academy of Financial Management FAQ". Archived from the original on December 2, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
- "Requirements". American Academy of Financial Management. Archived from the original on December 2, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
- CAM,RFS,MFP,CWM ,CTEP ,CMA ,CPM ,FAD
- "FINRA Designations Lookup". Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Recognized by Wall Street Journal Again, American Academy of Financial Management.
- Full CFA Signed by Glover Contract (JPEG), AAFM.