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Becoming a Financial Advisor in New Hampshire

The term financial advisor refers to investment adviser representatives (IARs) and sole proprietors of investment advisor (IA) firms. This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to become an IAR as well as how to license your own investment adviser (IA) firm in the state. This guide covers federal level registration with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and state level registration with the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation.

Step 1. Get Your Education

  1. Get an appropriate degree. The Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) is a database that stores educational background information on all IARs and sole proprietors of IA firms. Potential clients may view this data to compare your credentials against those of other professionals in the field. Most companies offering investment advisory services employ individuals with a specialized degree, this is generally a bachelor’s or higher:

    • BA-Consumer and Family Financial Services
    • BA or BS -Accounting
    • MS-Accounting, Personal Financial Planning, or Finance
    • MBA-Accounting and Finance or simply Finance
    • PhD-Accounting or Finance

  2. Take the right classes. The key to becoming a successful adviser is the ability to apply your educational background to your professional practice. The following courses will be applicable:

    • Economics
    • Taxation
    • Finance
    • Marketing
    • Quantitative applications applied to business
    • Business communications
    • Statistics
    • Accounting
    • Management
    • Computer information systems
    • Business law
    • Behavior of groups, persons, and organizations
    • Ethics in business

  3. Professional certifications are useful in highlighting your skills as an investment adviser. Although they are not required as part of your state or federal registration, they should not be over-looked. In order to pursue certification, you must first meet all eligibility requirements. A significant amount of industry experience and a bachelor’s degree are often required. You can choose from any of the following certifications applicable to financial advisors:

    • Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC)
    • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
    • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
    • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
    •  Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Step 2: Register Your Firm in New Hampshire

(This step applies to you if you’ll be establishing your own IA firm. If you plan to start your career by working with an established firm, you can skip to Step 3.)

The investment advisor (IA) registration through the FINRA administered Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) is the first step you’ll take after deciding to open a new IA firm. State level registration is done through the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation for IAs managing assets greater than $100 million. If managing client assets in excess of $100, your IA will be registered at the federal level with the SEC. The following covers both scenarios.

  1. Open an IARD User Account. You can begin this process by submitting the Entitlement Forms specific to a new IA firm (Section 3). After the entitlement forms are complete, you will have access to FINRA’s Web-based systems. The firm will be required to designate a Super Accountant Administrator (SAA) who will be given access to the Firm Gateway. Having access to this gateway is necessary for finalizing the registration requirements listed in the remainder of this guide.
  2. Fund the IARD User Account. This account is used to pay all required state filing fees, registration fees, IAR registration fees, and exam fees:

    • $225 initial filing fee for SEC-registered advisors, which includes firms with over $100 million in assets under management
    • Initial IARD set up fees for state registered investment advisers are currently being waived
    • $250 initial IA firm filing fee that is charged by New Hampshire
    • Exam fees for each IAR that will be in the firm
    • $130 initial IAR filing fee that is charged by New Hampshire for each IAR that will be employed by the firm

  3. An electronic version of Form ADV can be completed in the IARD. This form outlines the new IA firm’s investment philosophy and fee structure.
  4. Register the IARs within the firm. Each investment advisor representative (IAR) in the firm is required to complete a Form U-4 Uniform Application for Securities Registration or Transfer. Sole proprietors are not required to submit Form U-4 for themselves.
  5. Send copies of certain documents to the Bureau of Securities Regulation, Department of State, 107 North Main Street, #204, Concord, NH 03301:

    • Organizational documents for your firm:
      • Articles of Incorporation for a corporation
      • Certificate of Formation & Operating/Management Agreements for LLCs
      • Certificate of Formation & Limited Partnership Agreement for LPs
      • Certificate of Formation & Partnership Agreement for LLPs
    • Balance Sheet that is certified by the firm principal as being true and accurate
    • Sample copies of any investment advisory agreements to be used with clients

Requirements to Transact Business in Other States

There is no De Minimis Exemption in New Hampshire. All IAs from other states are required to register with the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities and pay the required fees if doing business with any New Hampshire based clients.

Step 3: Get Your Registered Investment Adviser License in New Hampshire by Taking the Required Exam(s)

A firm that manages less than $100 million in assets and provides services to local clients in the state of New Hampshire operates in accordance with the New Hampshire Securities Act and is registered with the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Division. When a firm takes on more than $100 million in client assets, it is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Both the state of New Hampshire and the SEC will waive exam requirements if you have achieved one of these designations:

  • Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
  1. New Hampshire’s requirement is that all IAR candidates register for and complete one of the following exam scenarios:

  2. OR

    Register using one of the following forms:

    OR

    • Form U-10, the Uniform Examination request for non-FINRA Members, is an exam-only application for non-sponsored exams and does not complete the IAR registration process. When using Form U-10 to apply for the Series 65 Exam, you are still required to formally register within two years of passing the exam using Form U-4 in order to become an IAR.

  3. Schedule an appointment to attempt the exam(s) through one of the Prometric or Pearson Professional Center testing locations in New Hampshire. You must schedule the exam(s) within 120 days of registration. Only one exam can be taken per day.
  4. Arrive at the testing center at least one hour prior to your scheduled exam time on the scheduled date.
  5. Exam scores are available immediately after the exam is complete.

Step 4: Ongoing Renewal and Update Requirements in New Hampshire

Investment Advisor Firm:

  • For SEC registered IAs, New Hampshire’s renewal fees are $200 for the firm and $100 for each IAR within the firm
  • State registered IA firms are charged an annual renewal fee of $200 and $100 for each IAR within the firm
  • Annual updates to the ADV will always be required
  • License renewal actions must be completed by December 31st every year
  • Renewal fees are paid for all states where the IAR is registered
  • IAR license and IA firm renewals in New Hampshire will be completed through the IARD

Investment Adviser Representatives:
There are no continuing education requirements once an IAR has completed the Series 65 exam.

A current Form U-4 should be updated and maintained by the IAR. Sole proprietors should update their own files and employees of a firm will notify their SAA or compliance department of any changes to the following:

  • Residential address
  • Additional business activities
  • Education
  • Criminal record
  • Jurisdictional changes
  • Name change (marriage
  • Customer complaints
  • Disciplinary action
  • Civil judgments
  • Certification