This step by step guide will present detailed instructions on how to become a stockbroker in Maryland by registering with the Maryland Office of the Attorney General Division of Securities, becoming sponsored by a broker-dealer firm registered in the state, taking the required exams, and registering with a self-regulatory organization (SRO).
Step 1. Get Your Education
At the beginning of your career, your education will be essential to understanding financial markets, in lieu of actual industry experience. When Maryland-registered broker-dealer firms look to you as a candidate for sponsorship, your education will be a strong consideration.
Degrees that can assist you in obtaining a position with a distinguished firm include:
- BA-Consumer and Family Financial Services
- BS-Business Administration- Finance
It’s important to meet with an academic advisor who can structure your curriculum to best suit your needs as an aspiring stockbroker. Sales and finance courses should be taken closer to your senior year of college.
Extensive knowledge of securities and investment markets is key in this profession. Courses to consider include:
- Behavior of organizations, persons and groups
- Business communications
- Business law
- Business ethics
- Accounting, in particular courses in financial accounting and managerial accounting
- Quantitative applications in business
Step 2: Take the Required Exams
As a Series 7 Exam candidate, a firm registered to serve clients in Maryland must sponsor you. To locate a sponsor for the Series 7 Exam, research local firms to find the best fit. Look to smaller independent firms in addition to the well-known global and national firms to find one you’d be most compatible with.
- Apply for all required exams.
- Complete and submit Form U-4 Uniform Application for Securities Registration or Transfer.
The first requirement to fulfill is the test application. The application consists of a questionnaire that will require you to detail your personal information, education, work experience and any criminal history. The sponsor you’ve chosen will assist you in completing the proper forms and will submit them on your behalf through the Central Registration Depository (CRD).
- FINRA registration requires a fingerprint card for all applicants. Contact your local sheriff’s office or police station for appointments and fees. FINRA will charge a fee of $30.25 to process your fingerprint card.
- The firm will usually pay the FINRA registration fee ($85)
- Your sponsoring broker-dealer will pay Maryland’s initial $50 registration fee
- Series 65 ($187 fee) OR Series 7 ($245 fee) and Series 66 ($177 fee) exams
The sponsoring firm will receive confirmation of your application and will help you prepare for the Series 7, General Securities Representative Examination
- There are numerous exam locations to choose from. Choose the one most convenient to you and schedule the exams within 120 days of your application being approved.
- Arrive at the exam center at least one hour early. The exam score will be released to you upon completion. When you receive a passing score on both required exams, your state license will be issued.
Step 3: Get Your On-The-Job Training
As a new employee, there are unlimited opportunities to excel and move forward. Each day will bring additional knowledge and experiences. Certain laws and procedures should be followed when recruiting new clients and on-the-job training will educate you on this process. Advising clients regarding the following options will also become second nature to you:
- Variable contracts
- Government securities
- Corporate, municipal and treasury bonds
- Direct participation programs like non-publicly traded real estate investment trusts or oil and gas leases
- Open-end and closed-end investment company shares
- Options on stocks
- Mutual funds
- Corporate, municipal and treasury bonds
Step 4: Ongoing Requirements for License Renewal and Continuing Education
Although all licenses must be renewed no later than December 31 each year, the anniversary of your initial registration will typically mark the date of your renewal. All renewal fees are covered by your current employer and paid through the Web-CRD. This will include Maryland’s renewal fee of $50, plus fees applicable to all states in which you have clients.
Continuing Education Requirements
Continuing education requirements are regulated by the Securities Industry Continuing Education Program. The two areas of focus are:
- The Regulatory Element
Once you have reached your third year of practice, a Regulatory Element training program must be completed. You will have 120 days from the date of your second anniversary registration. You will then take it only once every three years. The Regulatory Element delivered each year will reflect regulatory updates and changes.
- The Firm Element
During an annual internal evaluation, specific areas of focus will be highlighted and Firm Element training will be developed accordingly. The content will be delivered in accordance with FINRA and NASAA protocols to cover investment features and associated risk factors, regulatory requirements related to products, services, and strategies, as well as sales practices and suitability standards.
Updating your Form U-4
Notify your compliance department within 30 days of the occurrence of any of the events listed below:
- Criminal disclosure
- Customer complaints
- Pending or completed disciplinary actions
- Address updates
- Financial judgments against you
- Civil judgments against you
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck is available to allow retail investors the ability to research a stockbroker’s credentials. Most clients and prospective clients will do this to check your credentials, so you should be certain your information is accurate.