Becoming a Financial Planner in Florida

Kiplinger magazine reported in 2006 that Florida had one of the highest concentrations of millionaires in the country. Most of these high net worth individuals reside in one of three areas that include the Naples-Marco Island area, where 17.5 percent of households have a net worth of a $1 million or more; Vero Beach, where 13.9 percent of all households have a net worth of $1 million or more; and the Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice area, where 12.7 percent of resident households have achieved millionaire status. Florida’s financial planners have many clients from these areas, as high net worth families very often turn to professional wealth managers, investment advisers, and tax planners to maximize returns on investment and minimize tax obligations.

U.S. Census Bureau reports show that as of 2010, Florida was the fourth most populated state in the country, and it is expected to move up to third place by the end of 2011. In 2010, 17.8 percent of Florida’s population was age 65 and over. By 2020 it will be 21.8 percent, and by 2030 it is expected that 27.1 percent of Florida’s population will be 65 years of age or older. A recent AG Edwards survey showed the Naples-Marco Island and Palm Coast areas of Florida currently house more people who receive retirement income than any other area of the state. These trends illustrate a continued demand for financial planners who cater to the unique needs of residents planning for retirement, as well as retirees working to maximize their income stream to get the most out of life by enjoying a comfortable and rewarding retirement.

In 2008, the Lumina Foundation noted that 36.8 percent of adults in Florida had at least an associate’s degree. If college enrollment and degree attainment continues at the current rate, by 2025, 46 percent of adults in the state will have a college degree. With 21.9 percent of Florida’s population under age 18, more Florida residents than ever are expected to seek college degrees in the near future, increasing the need for financial planners who specialize in helping families grow college savings and take advantage of options for creating tax-deferred tuition savings accounts.

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How to Obtain an Investment Adviser License in Florida

Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation licenses investment adviser (IA) firms and their representatives (IAR) who do business in the state. Registration through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) IARD (Investment Advisor Registration Depository) system is a required component of the licensing process. Exam requirements for investment adviser licensure in Florida are the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination (Series 65) by itself, or a combination of both the General Securities Representative Examination (Series 7) and the Uniform Combined State Law Examination (Series 66).

Examination exemptions may be granted to applicants that hold any of the following designations:  Certified Financial Planner (CFP) awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.; Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) awarded by the American College, Bryn Mawr, PA; Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) awarded by the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts; or Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC) awarded by the Investment Counsel Association of America, Inc.

Nationally recognized investment adviser firms have offices throughout Florida, as do local IAs. Among these are Florida Wealth Advisors in Gainesville; Summit Wealth Management in Ocoee; New Wealth Concepts, Inc. in Orlando; T. Rowe Price Investment Services in Boca Raton; Citi in Miami; Banco Popular in Coral Gables; Raymond James Financial Inc. in Saint Petersburg; and BBVA Compass in Jacksonville.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Florida

Stockbrokers, otherwise known as securities sales agents, broker-dealer agents, or registered representatives, register with the Office of Financial Regulation by submitting registration through the FINRA-managed Central Registration Depository (CRD). Broker-dealer agents in Florida must pass the Series 63 or 66 state exams in conjunction with one of the FINRA exams, (Series 6 or 7).

All registered securities agents must complete continuing education requirements set forth by their governing self regulatory organization (SRO). FINRA’s continuing education consists of a Regulatory Element, which is a computer-based training course taken as a refresher after two years of sales service and every three years after that; as well as a Firm Element- provided by broker-dealer firms designed to keep sales agents aware of important regulatory changes that are likely to influence sales tactics pertaining to specific financial vehicles.

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

The Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Agent and Agency Services licenses life insurance producers who often offer retirement planning services by selling fixed or variable annuities. Florida’s insurance licensing provisions consider qualified applicants for life insurance and variable annuity licenses who meet the following criteria:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Florida state and United States legal resident
  • Complete a 40 hour pre-licensing course for life and variable annuities
  • Pass the state examination administered by Pearson VUE

Continuing education requirements must be completed every two years to maintain a life and variable annuity license.