Becoming a Financial Planner in Hawaii

Location continues to be the biggest consideration when looking at job opportunities in Hawaii. According to Hawaii Work Infonet, Honolulu expects a 21.3 percent increase in jobs for personal financial advisors during the current ten-year period ending 2018. Jobs for insurance sales agents, including life producers who sell fixed annuities as retirement planning professionals, are expected to increase by 8 percent in Honolulu and by 11.1 percent in Maui County during this same period. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents should see a 2.7 percent increase in jobs becoming available in Honolulu, and a 12.5 increase in jobs in Maui County.

The population of Hawaii is diverse in terms of age. The state’s population of citizens age 65 and over is currently 14.5 percent, a figure that is above the national average for that demographic. The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism notes that the average age of Hawaii’s residents has increased considerably over the years. In 1980, eight percent of Hawaii’s population was age 65 or older. By 2007, 14.4 percent of Hawaii’s population fell into this category. Financial planners who work with retirees to maximize the income stream that their investments produce during their retirement years are encouraged by the fact that the aging trend in Hawaii will continue, in large part due to Hawaii being a retirement destination. In fact, projections show that by 2035, 24.3 percent of Hawaii’s residents will be age 65 or older.

Personal income in Hawaii is also expected to increase. In 2007, Hawaii’s average personal income was $40,260. This number should increase gradually, to $48,990 in 2020; $57,460 by 2030; and $62,130 by 2035, if current trends continue. This represents a growth rate of 1.6 percent per year.

The Lumina Foundation reports that 42.3 percent of adults in Hawaii have, at minimum, a two-year college degree. If this trend continues at the same rate, The Foundation expects that by 2025, 51 percent of adults in Hawaii will have a degree. Families of college-bound children are now more than ever turning to financial planners to navigate the options available for tax-deferred college savings plans.

In 2009, Phoenix Marketing International reported that Hawaii had the highest percentage of millionaire residents in the United States. About 6.4 percent of Hawaiian households are classified as having a net worth of $1 million or more. As high net worth families tend to seek the expertise of financial planners for wealth management, investment advisory, retirement and estate planning services, Hawaii continues to be a place of great opportunity for these professionals.

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How to Obtain an Investment Adviser Representative License in Hawaii

Hawaii’s Department of Commerce: Securities Division licenses investment adviser (IA) firms and investment adviser representatives (IAR) in the state. This involves registering through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) IARD (Investment Advisor Registration Depository) system. Examinations that must be passed include the Series 65 examination, or the Series 7 examination in combination with the Series 66.

There are many investment adviser firms with offices in the state. Among these are the internationally recognized, Edward Jones, which has offices in Honolulu, Kahului, Kapaa, and Hilo; the regional Central Pacific Bank in Honolulu; the regional Bank of Hawaii with offices in Oahu, Kailua-Kona, and Honolulu; and the nationally known AXA Advisors with an office in Honolulu.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Hawaii

Broker-dealer agents must register with the Commissioner of Securities under the Hawaii Uniform Securities Act. Registration through FINRA’s Central Registration Depository (CRD) is required as well. Stockbrokers in Hawaii must successfully pass either the Series 63 or the Series 66 state examinations in combination with one of the FINRA examinations, usually the Series 6 or 7 depending on the products they plan to work with.

FINRA requires two kinds of continuing education of its broker-dealer agents. The first, the Regulatory Element, consists of a computer-based refresher course taken at the 24-month anniversary of original licensure and then every 36 months for the remainder of the agent’s career. The Firm Element, the second part of the continuing education requirement, involves firm-based training that covers topics that include industry changes that impact sales protocols, and new regulatory developments that influence the sale of certain securities or financial products.

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

The Department of Commerce: Insurance Division regulates life insurance producers, many of whom offer retirement planning services by selling annuities. A life/annuity specific examination administered through one of the Pearson VUE testing centers located on each island (Honolulu, Kamuela, Kapaa, and Kahului) must be passed. Once licensed, insurance producers must maintain that license by fulfilling continuing education requirements of 21 hours every two years, with three of those hours being in an ethics or law course.

Because a variable annuity contract is a hybrid with both insurance and securities features, if licensed life producers in Hawaii wish to become variable life/annuity agents, they must seek licensure through both the Division of Insurance and the Division of Securities of Hawaii’s Department of Commerce. Registration through FINRA’s CRD is necessary, which involves passing the Series 6 or the Series 7 Exams. Continuing education requirements of both the Division of Insurance and of FINRA must be met to maintain this variable life/variable annuity license.