Becoming a Financial Planner in Georgia

According to the Georgia Labor Market Explorer, a 2.6 percent increase in jobs available to personal financial advisors is expected during the current ten-year period ending 2018. An 8.7 percent increase in jobs available to licensed life insurance and annuity sales agents who offer retirement planning services is expected during this same period.

The US Census Bureau has reported that Georgia had a slightly higher than average percentage of residents under the age of 18 in 2009 as compared to other states; 26.3 percent of the state’s total population, versus the national average of 24.3 percent. A report by Lumina Foundation for Education found that 36.8 percent of adults in Georgia had at least a two-year college degree. As this trend continues, degree attainment rates in Georgia are expected to rise to 45 percent by 2025. This means more of Georgia’s young residents will be enrolling in college in the coming years, and more families will be turning to professional financial planners to help them establish tax-deferred college savings plans to fund their children’s education.

Georgia’s Office of Planning and Budget predicts that by 2030, the state’s population will grow by 4.6 million, increasing by 46 percent to a total of 14.7 million residents. Experts have noted that not only will the aging of the baby boomer population contribute to the growth of Georgia’s senior population, but also the fact that more and more retired seniors are choosing Georgia over Florida for their residence during their retirement years. NPG’s Special Report on Geogia’s Dilemma estimates that by 2025, 17 percent of Georgia’s population will be over the age of 65. By 2050, this segment of the population is expected to grow to include 3 million residents. This highlights the growing demand for financial planners who specialize in helping retirees manage their retirement savings to ensure a steady stream of income on which to live comfortably during retirement years.

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How to Obtain an Investment Adviser License in Georgia

Under Georgia’s Uniform Securities Act of 2008, all investment adviser (IA) firms and investment adviser representatives (IARs) in the state must register with Georgia’s Securities Division of the Secretary of State’s office. Passing scores on the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination (Series 65), or on the General Securities Representative Examination (Series 7) taken in combination with the Uniform Combined State Law Examination (Series 66) are required. All IA firms and prospective IARs must register through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) IARD (Investment Advisor Registration Depository) system.

Investment adviser firms with internationally, nationally, and locally recognized names have offices throughout Georgia. Among them are Edward Jones, which has offices in Atlanta, Athens, Macon, Rome, Columbus, Gainesville, Warner Robins, Augusta, Albany and Savannah; Ameriprise Financial in Alpharetta, Atlanta and Duluth; Towers Watson in Atlanta; The Horace Mann Companies in Powder Springs, Kennesaw, and Warner Robins; Bridge Securities in Atlanta; and First Southern Securities with offices in Columbus and Alpharetta.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Georgia

Broker-dealer firms and their sales agents must register with the Securities Division and work under the provisions of the Georgia Securities Act. Registration takes place through the FINRA-managed Central Registration Depository (CRD). Broker-dealer agent candidates must pass the Series 63 Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination along with one of the following examinations:

  • Series 1 Registered Representative Examination
  • Series 2 SECOIFINRA Non-Member General Securities Examination
  • Series 6 Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative Examination
  • Series 7 General Securities Representative Examination
  • Series 22 Direct Participation Programs Representative Examination
  • Series 52 Municipal Securities Representative Examination
  • NASAA Real Estate Securities Examination

All registered securities representatives must meet continuing education requirements set forth by their self regulatory organization. FINRA securities representatives engage in Regulatory Element continuing education after two years of employment and then every three years thereafter, as well as Firm Element training provided by broker-dealer firms designed to keep employees current on product offerings and sales protocols as they change in accordance with evolving industry regulation.

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

Georgia’s Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner (GADOI) registers life insurance producers in the state who often offer retirement planning services by selling annuities. Pre-licensing education of at least 20 hours is required through state-approved education providers, which can be found here. Would-be producers must pass an examination administered by third-party exam proctor, Pearson VUE, given at one of the following Georgia locations: Albany, Stockbridge, Augusta, Macon, Marietta, or Savannah.

Continuing education (CE) requirements are based upon the length of time life/annuity agents have held their insurance license. If having held a license for less than 20 years, 15 hours of CE is required each year, with 3 hours in ethics training. If an agent has held a license for more than 20 years, 10 hours of CE is required each year, with 3 hours in ethics. Life producer licensees in Georgia interested in selling variable annuities, which consist of a stock market component, must gain a variable products license and register as securities sales agents. Passing the Series 6 or 7 exams, along with the Series 63 exam, is required in this case.