Within the financial services industry, stockbrokers are referred to as registered representatives or broker-dealer sales agents, as they act as sales professionals who represent the broker-dealer firms they work for. In the state of Alaska, registered representatives must become licensed through the Alaska Division of Banking and Securities before they can solicit clients.
Before you can register through the Alaska Division of Banking and Securities, you must find sponsorship from a broker-dealer firm. After you have found a sponsor, you broker-dealer firm will assist you in registering with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Once your FINRA registration is accepted, you will become licensed as stockbroker in Alaska.
Step 1. Get Your Education
The Alaska Division of Banking and Securities does not specify educational requirements but most broker-dealer firms will require that candidates for employment have a college degree. A bachelor’s degree is also often required if you wish to pursue professional designations.
Degrees in the following areas are most likely to benefit stockbrokers:
- Business Administration
- Consumer and Family Financial Services
The courses you choose should be concentrated on the essential functions of the financial industry. You may benefit from focusing on business and finance courses first, then sales and marketing courses toward the end of your degree program.
Registered representatives benefit from taking the following courses:
- Business communications
- Business law
- Business ethics
- Behavior of organizations, persons and groups
- Accounting, in particular courses in financial accounting and managerial accounting
- Quantitative applications in business
Step 2: Take the Required Exams to Become a Licensed Stockbroker in Alaska
In order to take the required exams, you have to be sponsored by a broker-dealer firm registered in Alaska. Research open positions within firms that appeal to you and apply directly through their website.
- Complete the Form U-4, Uniform Application for Securities Registration or Transfer. Your sponsoring broker-dealer will assist you in completing the form, and then submit it through the Central Registration Depository (CRD).
- The application requires disclosure of past residential information, and criminal background history.
- FINRA charges an $85 registration fee. Broker-dealer firms routinely pay registration fees on behalf of their representatives.
- Alaska requires that registered representatives pass the Series 63 or 66 (explained below). The Series 6 or the Series 7 must be passed before you can take the 63 or 66. Most firms favor the Series 7.
- The exam fees are $40 for the Series 6, $245 for the Series 7, $147 for the Series 63, and $177 for the Series 66.
- You must also submit a fingerprint card. If your broker-dealer cannot take your fingerprints, a local police station or sheriff’s office can assist you for a nominal fee. FINRA charges a $30.25 fingerprint card-processing fee.
- When complete, your broker-dealer should submit your completed Form U-4, your fingerprint card, and any necessary fees on your behalf.
- Alaska Division of Banking and Securities requires s a fee of $75 to register as a registered representative.
- Once your registration is approved by Alaska, you can register for the Series 6, Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative Qualifications Examination or the Series 7, General Securities Representative Examination.
- You must also take the Series 63 or the Series 66 state exam to become a registered representative in Alaska. The Series 63, Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination and the Series 66, Uniform Combined State Law Examination focus on state laws concerning securities agents.
- Schedule the exam(s) within 120 days of your registration being accepted. The securities exams are facilitated by either Prometric or Pearson. Find the most convenient test locations.
- There are several Prometric or Pearson Professional testing centers in Anchorage
- You cannot take multiple exams in one day, so plan accordingly.
- Be sure to prepare before the exam. Your firm should have resources available to help you. Arrive at the exam at least an hour before it is scheduled to begin.
- You will receive your test score immediately after completing the exam(s). Once you have passed the required exams, you will be officially licensed as a registered representative in Alaska.
Step 3: Get Your On-The-Job Training
Your broker-dealer will provide you with on-the-job training. You may job-shadow a co-worker in order to learn about the financial industry, your company, and the basics of securities sales. On-the-job sales and product knowledge training will provide you with an understanding of how to assess client needs and determine suitable securities products.
You are likely to receiving training on the following products:
- Options on stocks
- Variable contracts
- Mutual funds
- Corporate equity and debt securities
- Open-end and closed-end investment company shares
- Corporate, municipal and treasury bonds
- Government securities
- Direct participation programs like non-publicly traded real estate investment trusts or oil and gas leases
Step 4: Ongoing Requirements for License Renewal and Continuing Education
Annual License Renewal and Fees
Your securities license in Alaska is automatically renewed each year. The renewal fee of $75 will be paid by your broker-dealer through the Web-CRD (Central Registration Depository). Renewal fees are then transferred to the Alaska Division of Banking.
Continuing Education Requirements
The Securities Industry Continuing Education Program consists of two elements mandatory for registered representatives:
- The Regulatory Element
You must complete the Regulatory Element training program in your third year in business, within 120 days of your second annual registration. You are then required to complete Regulatory Element training every third year following that. In reaction to changing trends and compliance issues, the Regulatory Element is frequently updated.If you have the Series 7 license, you are required to complete the S101 General Program as the Regulatory Element. The S101 addresses a broad area of material including ethical, regulatory, compliance, and sales-practice standards. S101 is made up of four modules:
- Handling Customer Accounts/Trade and Settlement Practices
- New and Secondary Offering & Corporate Finance
- Communicating with the Public
- Client/Product Suitability
- The Firm Element
Registered representatives are required to complete Firm Element training on an annual basis. Your broker-dealer will implement its own continuing education program that incorporates product information and industry trends that are most likely to affect your firm. The Firm Element general topics are decided by FINRA and generally include:
- Regulatory requirements related to products, services, and strategies
- Investment features and associated risk factors
- Sales practices and suitability standards
Updating your Form U-4
You are required to inform your broker-dealer of changes that may affect your Form U-4. Changes in your status can be triggered by the following:
- Address updates
- Changes to name or marital status
- Customer complaints
- Pending or completed disciplinary actions
- Criminal disclosure
- Civil judgments against you
- Financial judgments against you
The public can review the status of your securities registration through FINRA’s BrokerCheck.