Washington University in St. Louis has announced a new degree track at Olin Business School: Wealth and Asset Management (WAM), to be offered as part of the Masters of Finance degree.
It is an all-encompassing approach designed to serve a vital and growing market need. As more Americans retire and assets are either passed on to the next generation or donated, leading financial management firms say they need more experts who know how to achieve the best possible results for their clients.
“The research firm Cerulli Associates recently estimated that the industry will need 10,000 new advisers by 2020,” said Richard Ryffel, senior lecturer in finance. “Olin’s new WAM track will help meet this need while making students aware of the high social purpose that providing good wealth management advice has for people struggling with reduced pensions, social security restructuring, college savings, and long-term care, among other daunting financial decisions that require great science as well as thoughtful practice to address.”
Washington University’s location positions it well to offer such a program. St. Louis has a large concentration of financial services firms, and a rich history in the industry going back decades. The city is also home to a growing group of entrepreneurial firms active in financial services, including hedge funds, private equity, payment processing, forecasting and FinTech.
The WAM track will leverage these resources, providing students with practicum, internship, mentoring and employment opportunities, as well as superior instruction from Olin faculty, for a degree track that will well-position graduates for the challenges and opportunities in the wealth management sector.
“The Wealth and Asset Management is a unique program in the United States,” said Kurt Dirks, dean and the Bank of America Professor of Leadership. “Students will learn from top faculty and industry experts, through a blend of rigorous academics and practical learning.”
The new academic track was introduced during the Olin’s inaugural Wealth and Asset Management Research Conference held Aug. 16-17. The conference brought together dozens of researchers and practitioners from across the country to discuss the newest research and best practices within the field of asset management. James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, delivered the keynote address.
The WAM program will be offered to Olin’s graduate students starting August 2017. Further details on the program, including a new website, will be released shortly.