Becoming a Financial Planner in Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training estimates there will be 265 jobs for personal financial advisors becoming available in the state between the years 2008 and 2018. A projected 302 jobs for securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents will open up, as will an estimated 328 positions for insurance sales agents who deal in life insurance and annuity products. As Rhode Island’s finance and insurance industry is expecting total growth of 6.9 percent during this ten-year period, it is expected that demand for the services these professionals provide will remain high.

Data provided by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2010 showed that at $42,095, Rhode Island’s average per capita personal income ranked 15th among all the states. In 2010 Phoenix Marketing International reported that there were 20,873 millionaire households in Rhode Island, ranking the state 14th in the nation in terms of the number of households with a net worth of one million dollars or more. Financial advisors in Rhode Island work with the middle-class to help them prepare for retirement, as well as with high net worth individuals and families in need of investment advisory services as part of their overall wealth management solution.

Statistics gathered by the US Census Bureau in 2009 showed that about 14.3 percent of Rhode Island’s residents were over age 65. Population projections compiled by the US Social Security Administration indicate that by 2015, 15 percent of Rhode Island’s population will be over age 65, and by 2030, this segment of residents will comprise 21 percent of the state’s total population. This figure is higher than the national average and represents a great potential audience for financial planners who provide retirement and estate planning services.

Financial planners who help Rhode Island families prepare savings plans designed to fund their children’s college education will see no shortage of opportunity in the coming years. Figures provided by the higher education advocacy group, the Lumina Foundation for Education, show a large percentage of adults in Rhode Island, 41.1 percent, have at least a two-year college degree. By 2025, if attainment rates hold at their current levels, a full 50 percent of Rhode Island’s adults will have a college degree.

How to Obtain an Investment Adviser License in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation: Division of Banking & Securities Regulation oversees the registering and licensing process for investment adviser (IA) firms and investment adviser representatives (IAR) who work with residents of the state and manage client assets that total less than $100 million. Both state and federal level IAs and their representatives are registered through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) IARD (Investment Advisor Registration Depository).

Examinations that must be passed in order to qualify for licensure include the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination (Series 65) by itself, or the General Securities Representative Examination (Series 7) along with the Uniform Combined State Law examination (Series 66) or the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination (Series 63).

Some of the world’s most recognized investment adviser firms have offices in Rhode Island: Sovereign Bank in Cranston; Edward Jones in Providence; Fidelity in Smithfield; Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. in Providence; Strategic Point Investment Advisors in Providence and East Greenwich; Bentley Wealth Advisors, LLC in Warwick; and Pyramis Global Advisors, LLC in Smithfield.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Rhode Island

Stockbrokers who solicit clients in the state are licensed by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation: Banking & Securities Regulation Division and registered through the FINRA Central Registration Depository (CRD).

Examinations that must be passed include the Series 63 or the Series 66 examinations, and either the Series 2 or the Series 7 exam, or each individual exam administered by FINRA or another self regulatory organization (SRO) that relates to the stockbroker’s proposed activities.

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and FINRA expect all securities representatives to fulfill continuing education (CE) mandates. After two years of registered service, agents must take the Regulatory Element of CE. This must be taken every three years subsequently to keep up to date on the industry’s regulation changes. The Firm Element of CE must be provided by the employing broker-dealer firm, and consists of in-house training designed to keep representatives current on changes related to risk factors associated with investments, regulatory requirements, and sales.

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

The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation: Insurance Regulation Division licenses life insurance producers in the state who also offer fixed annuities. Applicants must complete a 20 hour pre-licensing course approved by the Insurance Division and structured in either online, self-study, or classroom-based format. The producer licensing examination must then be taken through Pearson VUE.

Continuing education requirements in Rhode Island include 24 hours every two years, with at least three of those hours being in ethics courses.

Licensed life insurance producers in Rhode Island may seek FINRA registration if they wish to offer variable life and variable annuity products. This requires passing of the Series 6 or Series 7 examinations. Continuing education requirements of FINRA and of the Insurance Regulation Division apply to these dually registered producers.


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