To become a stockbroker in Louisiana, more commonly known as a registered representative, you’ll need to register as a broker-dealer (BD) agent with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, and an SEC recognized self-regulatory organization (SRO) such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
This simply guide will provide detail step-by-step instructions on how to go about completing this process.
Step 1. Get Your Education
Attain a bachelor’s degree. Although not a prerequisite to licensure, most firms prefer to hire prospects who have the requisite educational background necessary to succeed in the profession). Some of the more commonly pursued degrees include:
- BS with focus in Finance or Business Administration
- BS – Economics or Accounting
- Master of Business Administration
- BA – Financial Services
Enroll in relevant classes. Classes focused on areas such as finance, math, or accounting can help you understand personal finance, while economics classes will help you grasp the mechanics of financial markets. Some of these courses include:
- Mathematical modeling
- Financial planning and taxation
- Financial markets
- Corporate finance
- Corporate accounting
- Risk and strategy management
Step 2: Pass the Requisite Exams
- Obtain sponsorship. You’ll have to be sponsored by a broker-dealer firm registered in Louisiana in order to take the Series 7 Exam. Early on in the process, get in touch with the firm you’d like to represent. If you get a job with that firm, they will act as your sponsor for the exam.
- Next, your sponsoring firm fills out the Uniform Application for Securities Registration or Transfer, commonly known as the U-4 application. It is submitted electronically on the Central Registration Depository CRD.
- The registration fee for Louisiana BD agents is $60.
- FINRA’s registration fee is $85.
Thorough checks of credit history and background are part of the application.
- After receiving approval of your U-4, you are registered to take the exam. Registered reps most commonly take the Series 7 General Securities Representative Examination.
- Passing the Series 7 exam qualifies you as a general, or unrestricted BD agent. Passing Series 22 (direct participation program) or Series 6 (investment company or variable contracts) qualifies you as a restricted agent only able to work with the securities specified
- The respective exam fees paid through the CRD system are:
- Series 7 – $245
- Series 6 – $40
- Series 22 – $40
- Your firm may provide resources for the series exams preparation. Utilize the resources and be well prepared. Arrive earlier than your scheduled time to take the exam.
- Your results are shown immediately after completion of the exams.
You qualify as a general or restricted licensed BD agent in Louisiana based on the exams you pass.
Step 3: Get On-The-Job Training from Your Firm
Your employing broker-dealer firm will provide on-the-job training to help you master sales protocols and client/investment suitability in line with the firm’s investment philosophy. As a licensed stockbroker, product knowledge training provided by the firm will likely include the following:
- Bonds (Municipal, corporate or treasury)
- Stock options
- Mutual funds
- Variable contracts
- Government securities
Open and closed ended investment company shares
Step 4: Maintain Your Registration with Continuing Education
Your BD agent license can be renewed on the CRD system by paying the $60 renewal fee, which will be done on your behalf by the compliance department of your employing broker-dealer firm. Meeting the continuing education requirements is required for the annual renewal. Each license expires on December 31 of that year.
Continuing Education Requirements
You will be required to comply with the Securities Industry Continuing Education Program. This program consists of two parts:
- The Regulatory Element Regulatory element CE includes completing a compulsory computer based training (CBT) session within the four months following your second renewal and once every three years thereafter. The subject areas covered in the regulatory element have broad applicability for all registered stockbrokers. The Continuing Education Council in association with FINRA and other regulatory authorities has developed the regulatory element, which covers sales approaches in an ethical context, along with general regulatory compliance.Completion of the General Program called S101 is required of all Series 7 professionals. Series 6 professionals complete the Variable Products Program known as S106.S101 is made up of four modules that you can complete in any order:
- Public Communication
- Corporate Finance; New and Secondary Offering
- Customer Accounts and Trade & Settlement Practices
- Client and Product Suitability
- The Firm Element
Annual Firm Element training deals with issues that relate to issues identified by your firm. Most firm element programs are grounded in the recommendations from Firm Element Advisory. These programs cover information about the products, services, and sales practices applicable to the firm in the context of regulatory compliance.
Updating your Form U-4
FINRA provides a BrokerCheck service that makes information contained in your Form U-4 publicly accessible. It is your responsibility to keep this information current by informing your manager or supervisor about any change to the following within 30 days:
- Disclosure of any unfavorable criminal civil or financial judgments
- Mailing address
- Unresolved or completed corrective actions against you
- Customer complaints
The contact information for Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions is:
Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions
8660 United Plaza Blvd., 2nd Floor
Baton Rouge, LA-70809
Phone: (225) 925-4660
Fax: (225) 925-4511