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Becoming a Financial Planner in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development lists the personal financial advisor occupation among the state’s fastest growing professions during the current ten-year period ending 2019. It is anticipated that there will be a 29.6 percent increase in the number of personal financial advisors in Minnesota during that time. As this projected increase does not include personal financial advisors who are self-employed, the actual increase may be even greater than these projections indicate. Reasons for such a drastic rise in the demand for financial professionals include the growth of the portion of the state’s population that is nearing retirement age, as well as the fact that more families are preparing college savings plans, as is evident in the dramatic increase in the number of state residents enrolling in college in recent years.

In 2009, fall enrollment in Minnesota’s public and private colleges and universities showed an increase of 5.3 percent over the year before, with some 372,108 new students enrolling in postsecondary institutions. In 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 23.9 percent of Minnesota’s residents were age 18 or younger. As many of these young residents will be enrolling in college in the next ten years, this helps strengthen the call for those who aspire to become financial planners specialized in tax-advantaged tuition savings accounts. These planners will use their expertise to help these families establish disciplined savings plans that keep these accounts well funded so as to keep pace with the increasing cost of tuition.

The FDIC reported the largest deposit markets in Minnesota as being located within the St. Cloud, Duluth and Rochester areas, and Minnesota as a whole ranked ninth among all 50 states in this metric, well above the national average. In fact, the personal income of Minnesota’s residents has consistently ranked in the top ten since the mid 1990s.

About 12.7 percent of Minnesotans were age 65 and older in 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This number is consistent with the national average, and indicates a national trend showing a growing need for financial planners who assist with retirement fund savings and planning.

How to Obtain an Investment Adviser License in Minnesota

The Securities Division of the Minnesota Department of Commerce registers investment advisers (IA) in the state. Minnesota does not register investment adviser representatives (IAR). However, under federal law, all IARs of firms managing in excess of $100 million in client assets must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Both these IARs and proprietors of independent IAs must pass either the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination (Series 65), or the Uniform Combined State Law Examination (Series 66).

Among the many IAs with offices in Minnesota are well known firms like Morgan Stanley Smith Barney with offices in St. Paul and Wayzata; Edward Jones in Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Duluth and Rochester; as well as Bremer Financial Corporation, Brokerage Consultants, Inc., Honkamp Krueger Financial Services, Inc. and North Star Resource Group, all with offices in Minneapolis.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Minnesota

Stockbrokers are licensed through the Securities Division of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination) or Series 66 (Uniform Combined State Law Examination) must be passed, along with one FINRA agent examination, depending on the financial product the broker intends to sell. Supervisors of securities broker-dealer firms do not need to have an agent license if they are not actively involved in the sale of securities.

Continuing education (CE) for Minnesota’s brokers is handled by FINRA. All registered agents must complete the Regulatory Element program at the two-year anniversary of their licensure, then every 36 months thereafter. The Second component of CE, the Firm Element, is provided by broker-dealer firms and takes place once annually. Regulatory Element programs are administered by Pearson Professional Centers in Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, and Eagan, as well as by the Prometric Testing Center in Duluth.

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

The Minnesota Department of Commerce Insurance Gateway licenses life insurance producers, who also sell fixed annuities in the state. Twenty hours of pre-licensing education is required, unless an aspiring life insurance producer already holds one of the following professional designations:

  • CEBS (Certified Employee Benefit Specialist)
  • ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant)
  • CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor)
  • CFP (Certified Financial Planner)
  • CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter)
  • FLMI (Fellow, Life Management Institute)
  • LUTCF (Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow)

Continuing education requirements consist of 24 hours of coursework every two years, with three hours in ethics. Pre-license education and CE may be Internet-based as long as the International Distance Education Certification Center (IDECC) approves the courses.

Life insurance producers who plan to sell variable annuities must attain additional securities licensure through the Securities Division of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. This requires the Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination) or Series 66 (Uniform Combined State Law Examination) to be passed, along with the Series 6 Exam, or the more comprehensive Series 7 Exam.