Becoming a Financial Advisor in Connecticut
Follow this guide to become a financial advisor in Connecticut by registering an independent investment adviser (IA) firm or by becoming registered as an investment adviser representative (IAR) with one of the firms that already serves Connecticut residents. This guide covers both state level registration with the Connecticut Department of Banking, Securities and Business Investments Division and federal level registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
As an investment adviser representative, or founder of a new IA firm, you will be bound to adhere to the mandates of the Connecticut Uniform Securities Act.
Step 1. Get Your Education
- At the beginning of your career, your education is all that you have to show clients and potential clients that you are well qualified to serve as their personal financial advisor. The Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) makes information on what degree you hold easily accessible. Most financial advisers in Connecticut hold at least a bachelor’s degree. A degree in any field can be helpful, but some of the more specialized degrees are well worth considering:
Some courses will be very helpful in preparing you for success as a financial adviser and can be taken while pursuing a degree in any field. Some courses to consider include:
- BA-Consumer and Family Financial Services
- MS-Personal Financial Planning
- MBA-Accounting and Finance
- Business law
- Computer information systems
- Quantitative applications in business
- Behavior of organizations, persons and groups
- Business ethics
- Business communications
Step 2: Register Your Investment Adviser Firm in Connecticut
(Skip to Step 3 if you will NOT be establishing an independent IA firm.)
If your firm’s primary place of business will be in Connecticut and it will be managing client assets that total less than $100 million, it will be considered a state-level firm and will register with the Connecticut Department of Banking Securities and Business Investments Division. If your firm will manage more than $100 million in client assets, it will qualify to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the federal level. Both state and federal level registration is completed through the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD), a national database that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) maintains to provide a consolidated list of all financial adviser firms. Follow these steps for either state or federal registration.
- Obtain access to the Web-based systems required to complete registration by submitting Entitlement Forms to:
9509 Key West Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
Facsimile: (301) 216-3710
After Entitlement is granted, your designated Super Account Administrator (you will most likely designate yourself) will be emailed with a user name and password granting access to the FINRA Firm Gateway. With access to the Gateway, you can complete the remaining steps.
- Create a Central Registration Depository (CRD) general account. You will use this to pay all registration and exam fees, as well as to submit registration for individual representatives in your firm’s employ. Fund the account to cover:
- Administrative fees:
- $40 if your firm will manage under $25 million (state level)
- $150 if your firm will manage between $25 and $100 million (state level)
- $250 if your firm will manage more than $100 million (federal level)
- Exam fees for all IARs in your firm’s employ, yourself included
- Connecticut Department of Banking, Securities and Business Investments Division initial registration fee of $315 per firm and $100 for each IAR within the firm, yourself included
- Submit Form U-4 Uniform Application for Securities Registration or Transfer for each IAR in the firm's employ, including you, and submit it through the Central Registration Depository (CRD). This registers individual IARS for the required exams, as well as with the Connecticut Department of Banking, Securities and Business Investments Division and the SEC.
- Submit Form ADV through the Investment Adviser Registration Depository. Mark Connecticut as your primary place of business.
- Mail required documents to the Connecticut Department of Banking, Securities and Business Investments Division in order to complete the registration process. The following documents should be mailed to 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103-1800:
- Samples of client contracts
- Connecticut Supplement, a series of state required certification statements
- Your firm’s financial statements
- Copies of any advertising and sales literature you use to solicit clients
Step 3: Take the Required Exams
All investment adviser firm principals and investment adviser representatives will be required to take certain exams as part of the registration process. The Connecticut Department of Banking, Securities and Business Investments Division, as well as the SEC, will waive the Series 65 exam requirement if you hold one of these professional designations:
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
- Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC)
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
- Complete and Submit Form U-4 Uniform Application for Securities Registration or Transfer through the Central Registration Depository. As an employee of an IA firm, the application will be submitted on your behalf.
Once approved, you’ll be notified to register for the required exams:
Schedule the exam(s) within 120 days of registration through one of the exam centers located in Connecticut (Glastonbury, Hamden, Norwalk, Wallingford).
Prepare for the exam(s) and plan on being there about one hour before the scheduled exam time.
You will get your score when you complete the required exam(s).
Step 4: Ongoing Renewal and Update Requirements in Connecticut
Investment Advisor Firm:
Investment Adviser Representatives:
Connecticut requires you to complete an annual update to your Form ADVonline through the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) web site. The annual renewal fee in Connecticut is $190 for the firm and $100 for each individual licensed as an investment advisor representative (IAR) of the firm. An additional $100 administrative fee will be distributed to the IARD.
As an IAR, you’ll be required to maintain current information on your Form U-4. As a sole proprietor or firm principal, you will need to make required updates to the Form U-4 yourself. As an employee, you’ll work through your firm’s compliance team to complete required amendments to Form U-4 within 30 days of changes to the following information:
- Residential address change
- Additional Certification
- Customer complaints
- Disciplinary action
- Civil judgments
- Jurisdiction changes
- Additional education
- Name change (marriage)
- Additional business activities
- Criminal record change