Becoming a Financial Advisor in Mississippi

The following is a step-by-step guide on how to become a financial advisor in Mississippi by establish an investment advisor (IA) firm in the state or becoming registered as an investment adviser representative (IAR) for an existing firm. This guide covers both state level registration with the Securities and Charities Division of the Office of the Mississippi Secretary of State as well as federal level registration with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).

Investment advisers and representatives working with Mississippi residents are bound to the rules set forth in the Mississippi Securities Act.

Step 1. Get Your Education

Get a degree. It has become quite common to see advisors holding specialized degrees. It’s important to note that as an IA firm principal or IAR, your educational background will be made public in the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure database and can be accessed by potential clients. A majority of all advisory and financial planning services are provided by individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

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Some recommended degree paths:

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

Enroll in the right classes. Before you can advise potential clients, it’s important to have a solid educational background. There are relevant courses that will provide you with the knowledge and experience necessary to be successful:

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

Consider voluntary certification. Investment advisers generally hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, and have a certain level of industry experience. This also satisfies eligibility requirements for some elective professional certifications specific to personal financial planning:

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

Step 2: Register Your Firm in Mississippi

(This step is only applicable if you plan to register an IA firm. If you are just starting your career by working with an established firm, you can skip to Step 3.)

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Your firm will be registered at the state level with the Mississippi Securities and Charities Division if your assets under management are below $100 million. If your total assets under management are greater than $100 million then your firm will be registered at the federal level with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Both state and federal level registrants make use of the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) to process registration.

  1. Begin the Entitlement Process by opening an IARD User Account. Complete Entitlement Forms specific to the New Investment Adviser Firm (Section 3). The objective of this process is to provide you with authorized access to FINRA’s Web-based systems. This will require your new firm to designate a Super Accountant Administrator (SAA). Once the Entitlement is approved, your SAA will have access to the FINRA Firm Gateway and have the ability to complete the remaining steps.
  2. Fund the IARD User Account. The account is funded to cover all initial fees:
  • $225 initial filing fee for SEC-registered advisors (Initial IARD set up fees for state registered investment advisors are being waived at this time)
  • Exam fees for each new investment adviser representative in the firm
  • $50 IAR filing fee charged by the Mississippi Securities Division (for each IAR)
  • $200 firm filing fee charged by the Mississippi Securities Division
  • Submit completed Form ADV. Electronic versions of this form are also available in the IARD. The purpose of this form is to outline your firm’s information, with emphasis on its investment philosophy, and fees. Form ADV is usually made available to prospective clients either voluntarily or upon inquiry.
  • Submit completed Form U-4 Uniform Application for Securities Registration or Transfer  form for each IAR in the firm.
  • Mail the following directly to the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, Securities and Charities Division, Post Office Box 136, Jackson, Mississippi 39205:
    • The firm’s legal organization documents, such as the articles of incorporation or the partnership agreement
    • An audited balance sheet
    • A bonding form showing a minimum surety bond of $10,000, or $30,000 for those having custody of client accounts

Step 3: Take the Required Exam(s)

The state of Mississippi and the SEC will waive exam requirements for professionals who have completed one of the following programs:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC)
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
  1. Register for exams through the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD). Mississippi requires that IA firm principals and IAR candidates register for and complete one of the following:


Register using Form U-4 Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer. This will be prepared and submitted through the IARD. This form functions as both the registration application and as your exam application.

Step 4: Ongoing Renewal and Update Requirements in Mississippi

Investment Advisor Firm:

  • Annual updates to the ADV will always be required
  • License renewal actions must be completed by December 31st every year
  • Renewal fees are paid to all states in which the firm is registered
  • Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) administrative renewal fees are $100
  • Mississippi’s IA registration renewal fees are $200 for the firm
  • Mississippi’s IAR registration renewal fee of $50 for each IAR in the firm
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Investment Adviser Representatives:
Form U-4 must be kept current. As a sole proprietor, you will make all necessary changes to your own file. Your employees will notify you or your appointed Super Account Administrator in the event any changes occur that affect the following:

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