Becoming a Financial Planner in Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Labor’s Market Information projections indicate that personal financial advisors will experience a greater demand for their services even as the profession is expected to see significant job growth of 23.2 percent during the current ten-year period ending 2018. Securities and investment product sales also made the Connecticut Department of Labor’s list of high demand jobs, and it is expected that there will be a 4.1 percent increase in the number of positions available to stockbrokers during this same ten-year period.

Data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2010 ranked Connecticut first in the nation in terms of highest average per capita personal income, at $54,877 yearly. The state has held this number one ranking every year since 1990. According to Forbes magazine, Connecticut’s Fairfield County, which includes the town of Greenwich, is home to 11 billionaires. Fairfield County also ranked second on A.G. Edwards’ Nest Egg Index, indicating that most of the county’s residents have some portion of their income set aside for investments and personal savings. This area of the state is of particular interest to financial planners looking to establish relationships with high net worth state residents. In fact, the entire state offers a very strong market for those interested in becoming financial planners who offer wealth management, retirement and estate planning, tax planning, and investment advisory services.

The education advocacy group Lumina Foundation, whose stated goal is to increase the proportion of American’s with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by 2025, reports that 46.6 percent of Connecticut’s residents held a college degree in 2008. The majority of these residents lived in Fairfield, Middlesex, and Tolland Counties. It follows that financial planners specializing in helping families save for college would find many prospective clients in these counties, as children of college-educated parents are dramatically more likely to attend college themselves.

A 2009 U.S. Census Bureau report showed that at 13.9 percent, Connecticut had a higher than average percentage of residents over the age of 65. The American Community Survey reported in 2009 that 17.6 percent of Connecticut households had a retirement income as the result of prudent financial planning. Financial planners in Connecticut who specialize in helping residents save for retirement and establish living will estate plans find a strong demand exists for their services.

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How to Obtain an Investment Adviser Representative License in Connecticut

Investment adviser agents, as they are referred to in Connecticut, must be registered with the state’s Department of Banking. Applicants interested in become registered investment adviser agents in the state must pass the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA’s) Series 65 Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam or the Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Exam. The examination requirement may be waived if the applicant holds one of the following designations: Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), or Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).

Scores of investment advisory firms serve Connecticut’s residents, some with nationally recognized names, and others local in reach. Among these are First Command Financial Services, Inc. in Gales Ferry; Northwestern Mutual in Westport; The Hartford, located in the city for which it is named; BarkerGilmore and Brokerage Consultants, Inc., also both in Hartford; and Edelman & Associates in Greenwich. Those who would prefer to work for themselves may establish sole proprietary investment advisory firms registered with the Connecticut Department of Banking.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Connecticut

Broker-dealer agents in Connecticut must also register with the Department of Banking. Each applicant who wishes to become a registered broker-dealer agent must pass the Series 63 Uniform State Agents Securities Law Examination, in addition to a product-specific Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) exam such as the Series 6 or Series 7.

FINRA is charged with handling continuing education (CE) programs for securities industry professionals in Connecticut. The Regulatory Element of continuing education is a requirement for all FINRA registered stockbrokers. This requires the completion of computerized review courses after being registered for two years and then every three years thereafter. Registered representatives must also participate in Firm Element training programs each year related to product knowledge and sales practices in the evolving regulatory environment of the financial services industry. This Firm Element CE typically covers specific content areas the firm has determined as being high priority.

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

The Connecticut Insurance Department regulates producers with lines of authority that include life insurance, as well as life settlement brokers, who may sell fixed annuities after passing the Connecticut life insurance producer exam. Examinations and applications are co-administered through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR). The continuing education requirement for life insurance producers consists of 24 credit hours every two-year license renewal period. Three of these hours must be in laws/regulations/ethics, and six hours must relate directly to the producers specific line of authority, life insurance in this case. For those that opt for the Life Settlement Broker License, 15 hours of life settlement specific continuing education every two years satisfies renewal requirements.

Expanding product offerings to include variable annuities, which includes a stock market component, requires registration with the Insurance Department as well as a securities license and registration with the Department of Banking, and most often FINRA as well. The ability to sell variable annuities requires the Series 6 Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative license.