Becoming a Financial Planner in Maine

The Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information estimated in 2008 that there were 332 personal financial advisors working in the state. By 2018, that number is expected to jump to 397, representing an increase of 19.1 percent and placing the profession among the occupations with the fastest expected growth rate in the current ten-year period ending 2018. Actual financial planning industry growth in the state is likely even higher, as this projection does not include self-employed personal financial advisors.

In 2010, Maine’s State Planning Office found that 514,137 of the state’s 1.3 million residents were over age 50. This means a significant portion of Maine’s residents is either at or nearing retirement age, increasing the demand for the retirement planning services offered by financial advisors in the state. According to the FDIC, the chief deposit markets in Maine are located in the Bangor, Lewiston, and Auburn areas, indicating that these areas are home to the state’s highest net worth individuals who are likely to seek the expert advice of financial advisors to help them manage their financial assets. In a 2009 Forbes magazine publication it was revealed that the Mount Desert Island area of Maine housed five of the individuals on Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans. Each of these five residents has a net worth of at least $950 million.

The Maine Development Foundation reported in 2008 that 34.4 percent of Maine residents over age 25 held college degrees. The Foundation expects the percentage of college educated state residents to rise to 42.9 percent by 2015, which is the current average for the New England region as a whole. With more and more Maine residents going to college, the need for financial advisors who specialize in establishing college savings plans is expected to increase. Under Maine’s NextGen College Savings Plan, more Maine citizens are encouraged to save for college. Various federal and state grants and programs give between $50 and $500 for each baby or child enrolled in a state college savings plan, which is expected to encourage more residents to attend college. With rising tuition costs, it’s more important than ever that parents plan for their children’s post secondary education.

How to Obtain an Investment Adviser Representative License in Maine

The licensing of investment adviser representatives (IAR) in Maine is handled by the Maine Office of Securities. A licensed IAR may work for one of the major national investment advisory (IA) firms or license their own IA firm. All sole proprietor IAs or employed IARs in Maine must pass the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA’s) Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination (Series 65 examination); or the General Securities Representative Examination (Series 7 examination) in combination with either the Series 65 Uniform Combined State Law Examination. In addition, any Maine resident applying for initial IAR licensure must attend a state-approved training seminar.

Maine’s international and regional IAR firms are located all over the state. The major international companies with offices in Maine include Edward Jones in Bangor, Corinth, and Orono; Merrill Lynch & Co in Portland; and Ameriprise Financial, also located in Portland. Regional IAR firms in Maine include Stafford Advisors in Falmouth; Bogue Asset Management LLC in Portland and Wells; and Dow Capital Management in Falmouth.

Aspiring independent contractors may license their own IA firms through the Maine Office of Securities.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Maine

Stockbrokers and broker-dealer agents are also licensed through the Maine Office of Securities. Exams required for broker-dealer agent licensing are the NASAA Series 63 Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination or the NASAA Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination; along with either the Series 6 or 7 Exams, depending on the type of products the would-be broker-dealer agent will be selling. In addition, all aspiring broker-dealer agents must attend a training seminar. Broker-dealer agents are exempt from Maine’s licensing requirement if they only deal in U.S. government securities.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc (FINRA) administers continuing education programs that satisfy the Regulatory Element for securities industry professionals. All registered representatives must complete a computer-training program within three months of their two-year licensing anniversary, and every three years thereafter. Under FINRA’s Firm Element component of the continuing education requirements, firms must establish formal training programs to keep registered representatives up-to-date on job skills and industry-related subjects.

How to Obtain a License to Sell Life Insurance and Fixed Annuities in Maine

Maine’s Bureau of Insurance issues licenses to life insurance producers, which includes the ability to sell fixed annuities. There is no longer a pre-licensing education or experience requirement, but all aspiring life insurance producers must pass the Maine Life Producer Exam, administered by Pearson VUE Testing Centers. Continuing education requirements of 24 hours every two years must be fulfilled to maintain a life insurance producer license under Maine’s Bureau of Insurance regulations.

Insurance producers who are interested in offering variable annuities in Maine must also seek licensure through the Maine Office of Securities. Passing of the Series 6 Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative Exam or the Series 7 General Securities Representative Exam is required depending on the products they’re interested in offering. These financial professionals are also subject to the continuing education requirements of FINRA (i.e., completion of a computer-training program within three months of one’s two-year licensing anniversary, and every three years thereafter) as well as those of the Maine Bureau of Insurance.

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