Becoming a Financial Planner in Alaska

Alaska’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects a 24.2 increase in the number of jobs available to personal financial advisors in the state during the current ten-year period ending 2018. Opportunities are also expected to remain strong for other financial planners, such as insurance agents who sell fixed annuities, as well as for stockbrokers who sell securities and other investment products. A growth of 11.7 percent in the number of jobs for insurance agents during this time in is projected, and an increase of 10.7 percent is projected for securities sales agents.

According to the Bureau of Business & Economic Research of the University of New Mexico, the average per capita personal income of Alaska’s residents has remained in the top 10 among all states since 2008. In 2010, that figure was $44,205, making Alaska the state with the eighth-highest average per capita personal income in the country. Additionally, A.G. Edwards’ Nest Egg Index has found that residents of certain cities throughout Alaska have built and nurtured significant savings and retirement funds. These cities include Juneau, Anchorage and Ketchikan. Many financial planners in Alaska have a concentration of clients in these areas of the state, as a greater demand exists for their services there.

Population projections in Alaska indicate that the number of residents over the age of 65 will more than double by 2034, representing the most growth in any segment of the state’s population. Alaska’s total population is projected to grow by 25 percent by 2034. With this many Alaskans approaching retirement age, financial planners who embrace the unique responsibility and challenges of retirement planning will likely find no shortage of clients.

In 2006, the College Board reported that nearly 50 percent of all high school graduates in Alaska immediately enrolled in college. This trend is expected to continue as Alaska’s school-age population is expected to increase by about 25 percent by 2034. This means more parents looking to financial planners to help establish college savings plans that grow fast enough to keep pace with the rising cost of tuition.

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How to Obtain an Investment Adviser Representative License in Alaska

The State of Alaska’s Division of Banking and Securities registers financial professionals who wish to work in the state. Under Alaska’s Securities Regulations, aspiring investment adviser representatives or proprietors of investment adviser firms must pass the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA’s) Series 65 (Uniform Investment Law) examination; or the FINRA Series 7 (General Securities Representative) examination in combination with the Series 66 (Uniform Combined State Law) examination. Licensing for all investment adviser representatives is done through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) IARD (Investment Advisor Registration Depository) system.

There are a number of nationally recognized investment adviser firms with offices in Alaska, as well as locally based firms. Among these is Houser Martin Morris in Anchorage; First Command Financial Services, Inc. with offices in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks; JRP Group and Galaxy Management Group, Inc. in Anchorage; Edward Jones in Kenai; and Diversified Investment Advisor, which has an office in Ketchikan.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Alaska

Broker-dealer agents are required to register with Alaska’s Division of Banking and Securities through the FINRA-managed Central Registration Depository (CRD). Stockbrokers who are registered in Alaska must pass either the Series 63 or 66 state exams in combination with a product exam such as the Series 6 or Series 7.

Continuing education requirements put in place by FINRA include a Regulatory Element, consisting of a computerized training program taken after two years of registration, then every 36 months thereafter. Broker-dealer firms will provide an annual Firm Element training component. This element provides training that is designed to inform sales agents of recent developments in the industry and/or investment product changes or regulatory alterations that impact their day-to-day sales functions.

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

The Alaska Division of Insurance licenses producers to sell life insurance and fixed annuities. Each applicant for licensure must pass an examination administered by Pearson VUE testing centers. No pre-licensing education is required in Alaska. Continuing education (CE) must be completed at a rate of 24 hours every 24 months to maintain licensure. No more than 8 CE hours during each license renewal period may be taken in any of the following areas:  business management, business organization, business environment, psychology, motivation, or sales training.

If a life insurance producer in Alaska wants to sell variable annuities, after receiving their Alaska life insurance producer license, they must then take the proper exams to qualify as a registered securities representative as well. This involves securities licensure, which means taking the Series 6 or Series 7 exams through FINRA. For variable life/annuities agents, continuing education requirements of both FINRA and the Division of Insurance apply.