Becoming a Financial Planner in Colorado

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Colorado’s per capita personal income was the 14th highest of all states in the nation in 2010. Wealthier areas of the state include the Boulder region, the Edwards area, and the Denver-Aurora region. Phoenix Marketing International reported in 2010 that the number of millionaire households in Colorado was equivalent to 5.03 percent of the state’s total population. In 2011, Forbes’ magazine reported that six billionaires live in Colorado, residing in Denver, Elizabeth, Indian Hills, and Fort Collins. Investment advisers who have offices in these areas often support a higher net worth clientele.

As more people migrate from California looking to trade the higher cost of living there for the mountains and clean air of Colorado, the state’s population continues to grow. In 1996, the Colorado Division of Local Government predicted that Colorado’s population would grow to 5.2 million by 2020. However, in 2010, Colorado’s population was already at 5.02 million, which shows population growth occurring much faster than anticipated. Although Colorado has not historically had a large population of elderly residents, Colorado’s strategic planners estimate that by year 2030 there will be some 1.2 million residents in the state of retirement age. This is a strong indicator that suggests demand is growing for financial planners who apply the special level of ethical considerations needed to help Colorado residents establish plans that will provide them with an income stream during retirement.

Colorado has one of the highest college degree attainment rates of any state in the nation. At 45.3 percent, Colorado’s population of adults with at least a two-year degree is considerably higher than the national average of 38 percent. The Lumina Foundation predicts that if degree attainment continues at the current rate, by 2025, 51 percent of Colorado’s adults will have an associate degree at minimum. Many Colorado families will need the services of financial planners specialized in maintaining tax deferred college tuition savings plans that grow fast enough to keep pace with the ever-increasing costs of a college education.

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How to Obtain an Investment Adviser Representative License in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies Division of Securities registers and regulates investment adviser (IA) firms and their representatives (IAR) who work with clients in the state. Aspiring IARs must register using the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) IARD (Investment Advisor Registration Depository) system to become licensed by the Colorado Division of Securities. Passing the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA’s) Series 65 examination, or the Series 7 examination in combination with the Series 66 Examination, fulfills exam requirements outlined in the Colorado Securities Act.

Investment adviser firms with global, national and regional reach have locations throughout Colorado. They include Edward Jones, which has offices in Denver, Greeley, Fort Collins, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Pueblo; Great-West in Denver and Englewood; Charles Schwab in Englewood; Beryl Stone Investments in Highlands Ranch and Colorado Springs; as well as Janus Capital Group, Bank of the West, and Envestnet Asset Management Inc., all with offices in Denver.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Colorado

All stockbrokers in Colorado must register through both the FINRA-managed Central Registration Depository (CRD) in order to be licensed by the Colorado Division of Securities. Exams that must be passed include the Series 63 or Series 66 state exams, plus one of the FINRA exams. The choice of which one is often made by registered reps’ sponsoring broker-dealer firm based on the investment products their reps will be selling.

NASAA and FINRA require stockbrokers to fulfill continuing education requirements. The Regulatory Element is taken after two years of registered service, then every 36 months thereafter. The Firm Element, provided by the employing broker-dealer firm, keeps registered reps in the know about regulatory changes and product developments that may influence sales strategies and protocols.

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

The Colorado Division of Insurance licenses life insurance producers who may also sell fixed annuities, which are well recognized among the most popular retirement planning products. Fifty hours of pre-licensing education must be completed (3 hours on principles of insurance, 4 hours on legal concepts and regulations, 40 hours on life insurance specific topics, and 3 hours of ethics). Pearson VUE Testing Centers facilitate the Colorado insurance examinations, and licensing applications are only accepted online through Sircon.

After licensure, continuing education (CE) requirements must be satisfied every 24 months to keep a life insurance/annuity producer license current. This CE consists of 24 hours, which must include 3 hours of ethics, 18 hours of life insurance specific education, and an additional three hours categorized as miscellaneous, which leaves room for some elective training opportunities. If a life insurance producer wishes to sell variable annuities in Colorado, other requirements must be met. The sale of variable annuities requires a securities license earned by passing the Series 6 or Series 7 exams, as well as registration through the FINRA-managed CRD. Although no additional pre-licensing education is required for variable annuity agents, continuing education requirements of both the Division of Insurance and those required by the applicable self regulatory organizations (SROs) for securities licensees apply.