Becoming a Financial Planner in Maryland
According to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, in 2008 there were 4,565 personal financial advisors providing personal financial planning services in the state. Based on occupational projections it is estimated that by 2018 there will be 5,935 such financial professionals working in Maryland. This is an increase of some 1,370 jobs. It is worth noting that these estimates don’t include the many financial advisors in Maryland that establish their own independent firms. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts job growth for personal financial advisors to be around 30 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for personal financial planning services is largely attributed to the fact that the millions of Americans who are looking at retirement over the next decade are seeking expert advice in how to best manage their financial assets.
Maryland is a state where financial planners who specialize in college savings plans can expect to do very well. The College Board reports that as of 2010, 44.6 percent of Maryland’s population had earned an associate’s degree or higher. This number is well above the national average of 41.6 percent. In 2010, the Maryland Higher Education Commission reported that 78 percent of Maryland high school graduates enrolled in Maryland colleges and universities. The number of Marylanders saving for college increased as well, as Maryland’s College Investment Plan grew to a new high of $2 billion in assets in 2010. Enrollment in Maryland’s Prepaid College Trust also grew considerably last year showing a net increase of 36 percent.
How to Obtain an Investment Adviser Representative License in Maryland
The Maryland Attorney General’s Securities Division licenses candidates interested in becoming financial planners who offer specific investment advice to Maryland residents as investment adviser representatives (IARs) under the auspices of large national investment advisory (IA) firms, as well as IARs who establish independent IA firms of their own within the state. To be licensed as an investment advisor representative in Maryland, candidates must pass the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA’s) Series 65 Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination and register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Would-be IARs schedule these exams through Maryland’s Pearson or Prometric Testing Centers, located in Baltimore, Bethesda, and Columbia.
Investment advisor representatives are found in the many well-known national, and global investment advisory firms located across Maryland. Major global investment firms with offices in Maryland include Charles Schwab in Annapolis, Columbia, Bethesda, Towson, and Gaithersburg; Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Frederick, Annapolis, Waldorf, Chestertown, and Easton; and Fidelity in Towson, Annapolis, and Bethesda.
How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Maryland
The Securities Division also licenses all broker-dealer firms operating within Maryland, as well as the stockbrokers who sell investment products as registered representatives of these firms. Depending on the specific investment products they are selling, registered representatives are required to take either the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) Series 6 Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative Exam, or the series 7 General Securities Representative exam, which allows them to offer a more comprehensive suite of products that includes stocks. Stockbrokers in Maryland are exempt from NASAA’s Series 63 Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination if they only work with residents of Maryland. All stockbrokers also become registered in FINRA’s CRD national database after passing the required exams and being approved for licensure.
How to Obtain a License to Sell Life Insurance and Fixed Annuities in MarylandThe Maryland Insurance Administration distributes life insurance producer licenses, which include the ability to sell fixed annuities to state residents. This license requires that applicants take a 60 hour pre-licensing course specific to life insurance and annuities through a Maryland-approved provider, and then pass the MD General Life Insurance Producer exam administered by PSI Exams Online.
Completing 24 hours of approved continuing education courses every two years satisfies the license renewal requirements maintained by the Maryland Insurance Administration.
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