Becoming a Financial Advisor in Alaska

Becoming a financial advisor in Alaska requires you to register as an investment adviser representative (IAR) with a firm already serving Alaska’s residents, or to establish a new investment adviser (IA) firm of your own. This guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to satisfy requirements for becoming an IAR as well as how to register an independent IA firm at the state level with the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development Division of Banking and Securities, or at the federal level with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Investment advisory firms, investment adviser representatives, and investment adviser firm principals who engage residents of Alaska are all bound by the statutes detailed in the Alaska Securities Act.

Step 1. Get Your Education

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Most financial planners and advisers in Alaska have at least a bachelor’s degree, and it is becoming increasingly common to see them holding highly specialized degrees:

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

Education should provide you with the knowledge you need to offer the best advice and implement the best plan possible. Courses in the following subjects can help:

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

Voluntary professional certifications will help advance your career as an advisor. Each certification has its own unique eligibility requirements that you’ll need to meet to earn the designation. Requirements usually include formal education, typically a bachelor’s degree at minimum, or a minimum amount of business and financial services experience. The following certifications are completely voluntary, but exam requirements typically required of registrants will be waived if you already hold one of these:

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

Step 2: Register Your Firm in Alaska

(This step only applies if you’ll be establishing a new firm. If you’ll begin your career as investment adviser representative for an existing firm, skip to Step 3)

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To operate an independent practice, you will need to complete the registration process for an Investment Adviser (IA) firm through the FINRA administered Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD). This process will register your firm with the Alaska Division of Securities and Banking if your total assets under management are less than $100 million or with the SEC if total assets under management are in excess of $100 million.

  1. Initiate the FINRA Entitlement Process to set up an IARD User Account by completing Entitlement Forms. Through this process, your firm will designate a Super Accountant Administrator (SAA). After approval of Entitlement, the SAA may access the FINRA Firm Gateway and complete the following steps.
  2. Fund your IARD User Account to pay the registration fees, state filing fees, IAR registration and testing fees:
  • $250 for new IA firm
  • $75 for each IAR within the firm
  • Exam fees for each IAR in the firm
  • Complete Form ADV and submit it through the IARD. Form ADV defines your firm’s investment philosophy and fee structure. An electronic version of the form is available in the IARD. Registration with the state of Alaska is completed by selecting Alaska as the primary place of business.
  • Submit a form U-4 Uniform Application for Securities Registration or Transfer for each investment adviser representative (IAR) in the firm.
  • Submit Sample client contracts. These will need to be mailed to Division of Banking and Securities, Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, P.O. Box 110807, Juneau, Alaska 99811-0807.
  • Submit a Surety Bond Form. If your firm will hold custody of client’s securities, or if you will be offering discretionary accounts, Alaska regulations will require you to post a surety bond of $10,000 for discretionary accounts and $35,000 if you offer custodial services.

Step 3: Take the Required Exam(s)

The Alaska Division of Banking and Securities and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) waive exam requirements for applicants that hold one of the following professional designations:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Certified Investment Management Consultant (CIMC)
  • Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC)
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA)
  1. Register for the required exams. Alaska requires IAR candidates and IA firm principals to take the following:


Register for the exams:

Step 4: Ongoing Annual Renewal Requirements

Investment Advisor Firm:
Alaska requires annual updates to the Form ADV to show any changes the firm has made to its billing practices. Renewals are completed online using the Investment Adviser Registration Depository. License renewal must be completed by December 31st each year. The following fees will be applicable during renewal each year:

  • Alaska’s renewal fees are $250 for the firm and $75 for each IAR within the firm
  • Renewal fees need to be paid for all states in which the firm is registered
  • Additional IARD renewal fees are $100 total
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Investment Adviser Representatives:
There are no ongoing continuing education requirements for IARs that have passed the Series 65.
IARs are expected to keep their Form U-4 current. As a sole proprietor you will make these updates yourself. As an employee you must alert your firm’s compliance department of amendments, which must be made within 30 days of any changes to the following:

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