Becoming a Financial Advisor in Maine

To become a financial advisor in Maine, follow this step-by-step guide on how to register a new investment adviser (IA) firm or register yourself as an investment adviser representative (IAR) of an established firm. This guide covers both state level registration with the Maine Office of Securities and federal level registration with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).

Investment adviser firms and firm representatives conducting business in Maine must abide by the Maine Uniform Securities Act.

Step 1. Get Your Education

To become an investment adviser, start by getting the best education possible. Your educational background will be easily accessible to potential clients through the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure national registry and they will be able to compare your information to other advisers.

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Degrees that adequately prepare financial advisors:

  • BA-Consumer and Family Financial Services
  • BA or BS -Accounting
  • MS-Accounting, Personal Financial Planning, or Finance
  • MBA-Accounting and Finance or simply Finance
  • PhD-Accounting or Finance

The education you get should provide you with the knowledge you’ll need to deliver the best possible information to clients. Relevant courses include:

  • Business communications
  • Business ethics
  • Behavior of persons, organizations, and groups
  • Management
  • Accounting
  • Taxation
  • Business law
  • Marketing
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Computer information systems
  • Statistics
  • Quantitative applications in business

Specialized professional certification will always help to highlight the particular skills that you have as an adviser; however, these are totally elective and are not required for state or federal registration. If you choose to pursue any of these specialty certifications, you will need to meet eligibility requirements that include either a certain amount of industry experience or a minimum level of formal education. If you hold one of these specialized certifications, exam requirements for investment adviser registration will be waived:

  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC)
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)

Step 2: Register Your Firm in Maine

(This step is only applicable if you’re interested in establishing your own IA firm in Maine. If you intend to begin your career working for an established firm, skip to Step 3.)

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You will register your firm with the Maine Office of Securities if your total assets under management are less than $100 million, or with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) if your firm’s total assets under management exceed $100 million. In both cases registration will be processed through the FINRA-administered Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD).

  1. Start the FINRA Entitlement Process to set up an IARD User Account by completing Entitlement Forms specific to the New Investment Adviser Firm (Section 3). This entitlement process sets up authorized access to FINRA’s Web-based systems. As part of this process, your firm will need to designate a Super Accountant Administrator (SAA). Upon approval of Entitlement, the SAA will be able to access the FINRA Firm Gateway and complete the following steps.
  2. Fund your IARD User Account to pay all registration fees, state filing fees, IAR registration and exam fees:
  • Initial IARD set up fees for state registered advisors are currently being waived
  • $225 initial filing fee for SEC registrants (more than $100 million in assets under management)
  • $200 initial state firm filing fee charged by the Maine Office of Securities
  • $30 initial state IAR filing fee charged by the Maine Office of Securities for each IAR employed by the firm
  • Exam fees for each new IAR joining the firm
  • Complete the Form ADV. This document details your firm’s investment fee structure, investing philosophy, background of investment advisers, and other important information that potential clients will need. An electronic version of this form is available in the IARD. Registration with the state of Maine will be completed by selecting Maine as the state your firm will do business in.
  • Submit a form U-4 Uniform Application for Securities Registration or Transfer for each of the investment adviser representatives (IAR) in your firm. If your firm will be established as a sole proprietorship, you will need to submit Form U-4 for yourself.

Step 3: Get Your Registered Investment Adviser License in Maine by Taking the Required Exam

Both the state of Maine and the Securities and Exchange Commission will waive the exam requirements if you have earned one of the following professional designations:

  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC)
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
  1. Register for required exams. Maine requires IAR candidates to take one of the following:



  • Form U-4 Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer can be prepared and submitted through the IARD. Form U-4 functions as both the exam application and registration application.
  • Mail a complete set of fingerprints taken by an authorized law enforcement officer to the Office of Securities, 121 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0121.
  • Schedule the required exam(s) through one of the Prometric or Pearson Professional Center testing locations in Maine. You will be required to schedule within 120 days of registration.
  • Plan on being at the testing center at least one hour before your examination time on examination day.
  • You’ll receive your test score immediately after you complete the exam.

Step 4: Ongoing Renewal and Update Requirements in Maine

Investment Advisor Firm:
Investment adviser firm and IAR license renewals will be done completely electronically through the Investment Adviser Registration Depository. License renewals for both the firm and its representatives need to be completed by December 31st each year. Expect the following fees on each annual renewal.

  • Maine’s renewal fees are $200 for the firm and $30 for each IAR within the firm
  • Renewal fees for all states in which the IA and its IARs are registered
  • Additional IARD administrative renewal fees total $100
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Investment Adviser Representatives:
IARs are required to keep their Form U-4 current. As a sole proprietor you will have to make these updates yourself. As an employee you must notify the compliance department of required amendments, which will need to be made within 30 days of any changes to the following information:

  • Residential address
  • Customer complaints
  • Jurisdiction changes
  • Education
  • Criminal record
  • Civil judgments
  • Certification
  • Disciplinary action
  • Name change (marriage)
  • Additional business activities