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DWU establishes graduate certificate in trust management

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There is now a new certificate program at Dakota Wesleyan – a graduate certificate in trust management.

“The decision for DWU to begin offering this program came after several major banking and financial institutions identified the need for further education and tailored training in the trust management job market,” said Dr. Amy Novak, DWU president.

DWU developed a six-course, 12-month program with courses designed to strengthen oral and written communication skills, enhance an understanding of will, trusts and estates, and sharpen knowledge of financial and digital efforts. Courses will be offered both online and onsite – all with the intent to make this program flexible for anyone who is already currently employed.

One of the program’s faculty, Todd Muehler, associate professor of business at DWU, has several years of teaching experience and 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including 11 in the trust business.

“From my personal perspective, working in the trust field allowed me to use my diverse education, training and experience to help my clients meet their overall wealth management and succession planning needs,” Muehler said. “I enjoyed building deep, meaningful personal relationships with my clients and being looked upon as one of their primary family advisers. In my opinion, there are few other careers in commerce as challenging or rewarding, both personally and professionally, as a career in the trust industry.  Furthermore, there is no better time than now to seek a career in this industry, as many of the veteran trust employees begin to retire and the demand rises for competent professionals with the integrity to replace them and meet the new demand.”

Jessica Beavers, senior vice president and trust officer at Sawmill Trust Company, Sioux Falls, agrees that now is the perfect time to begin a career in trust management.

“No one goes to school thinking, ‘I want to be a trust officer,’ until now,” Beavers said. “According to the American Bankers Association, in the next five to 10 years, the trust industry will encounter a retirement wave of trust officers as baby boomers leave their careers. The task of filling empty positions is challenged by the growth of the trust industry itself. Trusts & Estates magazine, January 2018, ranks South Dakota the highest ranked jurisdiction in the United States in all categories. There is a need in our state for trained trust professionals, and the need is now. 

“I would encourage students in South Dakota to pursue a rewarding, yet challenging, career in trust where you have the opportunity to learn this kaleidoscopic combination of skills: financial planning, fiduciary and trust administration, investment management, ethics, and tax law and tax planning. South Dakota offers domestic and international opportunities with the variety of trust companies we have in our state. Dakota Wesleyan University’s trust program is a response to the need in South Dakota and trust industry as a whole.”

Applications are being accepted now online here.