Advanced Planning in Wealth Management: How the WMCP Puts You Ahead

Advanced Planning in Wealth Management: How the WMCP Puts You Ahead

The American College of Financial Services
October 3, 2019

In the alphabet soup of professional certifications, it can be hard to navigate which financial designation is best suited for you and your practice. When looking for a financial planner, clients are looking for an advisor with knowledge and expertise, experience related to their situation, and a communication style that meshes well with their own. 

You may have started to see the acronym “WMCP® surfacing on colleagues LinkedIn titles or business cards and wondered if it made sense for your professional practice. So rather than tell you the reasons why you should pursue the designation to benefit your career and skill set, we interviewed a recent graduate of the WMCP® program and alumnus of The American College to discover the value the WMCP® added to his profession. 

Tom Langseth, CLU®, ChFC®, CRPC®, RICP®, WMCP® is the Senior Vice President of Channel Head Focus Channel at Allianz Life Financial Services. He leads the team responsible for the business development and relationship management between Allianz and Brokers Dealers, in which they offer registered and FIA products. Tom has been in the business for almost 30 years. In those years, he has gained experience in sales, sales management, and has earned four designations – three at The American College and one at the College for Financial Planning. 

As of 2019, that number turned to five when he earned the Wealth Management Certified Professional® (WMCP®) at The American College. 

 

The American College: How is the WMCP® different from other investment education programs you’ve seen?

Tom Langseth: It was appropriately quantitative. Learning concepts, such as pricing models like CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model), the Gordan growth model, various bond calculations, yield maternity, current yield – all important concepts that I had never been through in other designations programs at The American College. 

Far more quantitative than any other American College designation I've taken and appropriately so because you take that information directly that you need in the face of clients on expected return, the yield on their bonds, the impact of investments in a portfolio relative to risk. This was all just really great stuff. Second I would say, the comprehensive nature of the material; going from financial instruments and financial markets to approaches with clients with material on what are the best ways to draw information out of potential wealth management clients. How to go to advanced planning strategies – whether those are charitable strategies, private foundations, donor-advised funds, trust strategies. These are complicated planning strategies. WMCP® was both quantitative and qualitative. 

 

TAC: Who should take the WMCP®?

TL: Broad-based financial professionals that are looking to expand their knowledge and their skills with affluent clients that have complex planning needs. At Allianz Life, while we sell annuities and life insurance, ultimately the way that asset management and insurance comes to life is through wealth management and I felt I needed to have deeper knowledge within wealth management strategies and WMCP® gave me that.

 

TAC: What areas of the WMCP® did you find most valuable in helping you manage wealth for clients?

TL: When I was made aware of the WMCP® program –  it interested me because I recognized that it was going deep into areas of wealth management that frankly, I was unfamiliar. I did it not for the purpose of managing wealth for clients – for me, it was around gaining the knowledge in areas that I knew I was weak. 

 

TAC: How will you use the knowledge to benefit the people you serve?

TL: It’s interesting because I have a friend who is an Independent RIA who only works with ultra-high-net-worth clients who told me, “I am noticing the acumen and knowledge of advanced planning strategies in the way you’re talking – it’s like you get it and there is a get it factor there that is evident, in your use of words and your understanding of the concepts.”

I have a picture of an advertisement that The American College put in InvestmentNews with WMCP® co-creator Michael Finke, PhD, CFP® featured that talks about gaining specialization in advanced applied wealth management and adding more value to your client relationships while positioning yourself to attract more high-net-worth prospects. That’s a very powerful statement. You’re probably wondering “Why do I have it hung up in my office?” It reminded me to do the work. I knew what my goal was: I wanted the designation. And I knew all the 'Whys' because I wanted to demonstrate to those around me that as a professional I was continuing to advance my knowledge. And I had to do the work to get there, so I kept the WMCP® advertisement there as a reminder to get busy. Looking at it now, I have a big checkmark and a happy face.

 

TAC: Can you expand on the rigor of the program and how it might be different than others?

TL: I would describe it as very rigorous because there is a mountain of content. [Professor] Benjamin Cummings was really helpful to me because I went through to him saying these are the 10 calculations I believe I need to memorize the formula. But these while you demonstrated in your materials. I don’t think you’re really going to have me calculate it but I have to understand the implication of it. For example, you need to understand for the Sharpe Ratio that with the added element of risk that you should have an added expected return. Or R Square has to do with how correlated the asset is to the market – the higher the R Square, the more correlated is the market.

 

TAC: What type of background did you have prior to taking WMCP®?

TL: 28 years of experience in sales, sales management, and executive roles. I have four previous designations as well as Series 7 and Series 24. 

 

TAC: How did you feel about the online delivery of WMCP®?

TL:  I started the WMCP® designation in late July 2018 and in April 2019, a WMCP® program transcript with 749 pages was added. There were times where I just needed to read the material or go back and reference it. And The American College came to that same awareness by adding this transcript. With the transcript, I was able to copy and isolate text and use that as notes for reference while I was studying for the exam. 

 

TAC: If you paid for it, did you feel the price was commensurate with the value?

TL: Price was fair. 

 

TAC: How much on average did you study per week?

TL: I didn’t do it by week – I would squeeze in a full day, in between travel, I sometimes studied on planes and in hotel rooms. It was an hour here, three hours here, maybe if I was lucky I would get a five hour day. The week before the exam, I did two 8 hour days and then I went and took the exam. My life couldn’t stop. 

 

TAC: What would you tell a prospective student about the WMCP®?

TL: I would tell them that they need to be patient because it is a very broad-based curriculum and it takes time to go through all of the online material before you are prepared to take the test. It isn’t going to happen in 30/60/90 days – it took me 10 months. It is great learning, it is great material, and it takes a lot of time to invest in order to be prepared for the exam.

Invest in your career with a professional designation.

To continue providing value to your clients, you have to go well beyond the usual investment advice. Through the Wealth Management Certified Professional® (WMCP®) designation program, you can master behavioral finance and learn the advanced strategies needed to create efficient, individualized portfolios that are attuned to each of your client’s unique needs and values. Offer your clients more.

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