Stockbrokers, more commonly known as broker-dealer agents, are investment professionals that specialize in the sale of securities to retail investors. Becoming a stockbroker in Missouri requires you to register as a broker-dealer agent with the Missouri Secretary of State, Securities Division.
Follow this step-by-step guide to meet all sponsorship, examination, and registration requirements as you pursue your career as a registered broker-dealer agent in Missouri.
Step 1. Get Your Education
The Missouri Securities Division has no educational requirements set forth for registering broker-dealer agents. You are, however, likely to be required by broker-dealer firms to have a four-year degree before you can apply for sponsorship. In addition, a bachelor’s degree may be required if you choose to pursue any professional designations.
Many stockbrokers have majored in the following:
- BS-Business Administration- Finance
- BA-Consumer and Family Financial Services
Business, finance and sales oriented courses will give you a foundation that will support your work in the financial industry as you work to build and maintain a client base by properly aligning clients with suitable investments. The following courses will serve you well as a stockbroker:
- Business ethics
- Business communications
- Business law
- Behavior of organizations, persons and groups
- Quantitative applications in business
- Accounting, in particular courses in financial accounting and managerial accounting
Step 2: Take the Required Exams
In Missouri, broker-dealer agents are required to pass the Series 7, and, additionally either the Series 63 or the Series 66. You must be sponsored by a broker-dealer in order to apply for the required securities exams. Look to firms in your area with an investment philosophy that agrees with your own. Consider local independent firms as well as the large national and global firms registered in Missouri.
In order to take the required exams, you must complete the Form U-4, Uniform Application for Securities Registration or Transfer.
Your broker-dealer’s compliance department will help you complete the form and will submit it through the Central Registration Depository (CRD). All fees associated with registration will be paid by your broker-dealer through the CRD and distributed to the appropriate self-regulatory organizations (SROs) and state securities divisions.
You will also be required to provide a copy of your fingerprints to FINRA for a background check. Ask your broker-dealer if they can facilitate fingerprinting. If not, contact your local police station to obtain them for a nominal fee. FINRA charges $30.25 to process your fingerprint card.
- FINRA charges $85 to process your registration
- Test fees associated with each required exam
- Missouri’s registration fee is $50
Once you have been informed that your Form U-4 has been processed and accepted, register for the Series 7, General Securities Representative Examination.
Once you have passed the Series 7 exam, register for either the Series 63, Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination OR the Series 66, Uniform Combined State Law Examination, both of which cover state securities laws and are required by the Missouri Securities Division.
- Register for and schedule the required exams. There are several locations in Missouri through which to schedule and attempt the exams. Choose the one most convenient to you.
- Your sponsoring broker-dealer is likely to have resources available to help prepare you for your exams. Arrive an hour before the scheduled time well prepared.
- You will receive your exam score immediately after the test. Once you have passed all required exams, you will be officially licensed as a broker-dealer agent in Missouri.
Step 3: Get Your On-The-Job Training
As you begin work with your broker-dealer firm, you will be engaged in comprehensive on-the-job training that will teach you sales protocols in line with suitability requirements and investment strategies in line with your firm’s investment philosophy. On-the-job training will likely include group training sessions or job shadowing of a fellow, senior broker-dealer agent.
Your on-the-job training will help prepare you to properly align clients with a number of different financial vehicles, including:
- Options on stocks
- Variable contracts
- Mutual funds
- Government securities
- Corporate, municipal and treasury bonds
- Corporate equity and debt securities
- Open-end and closed-end investment company shares
- Direct participation programs like non-publicly traded real estate investment trusts or oil and gas leases
Step 4: Ongoing Requirements for License Renewal and Continuing Education
Annual License Renewal and Fees
Your Missouri securities registration is renewed each year when your broker-dealer submits the $50 renewal fee to the Missouri Securities Division through the Web-CRD (Central Registration Depository). If you are sponsored by a non-FINRA firm, your renewal fee must be submitted directly to the Missouri Securities Division.
Continuing Education Requirements
Two elements make up the Securities Industry Continuing Education Program. The Continuing Education program must be completed as a way in which to keep current on regulatory changes.
- The Regulatory Element
Within 120 days from your second annual registration, the Regulatory Element training program must be completed. After completing the Regulatory Element in your third year, your employer will keep you updated as to when to enroll again, as it is required once every three years throughout your career.The Regulatory Element you must complete as a Series 7 license holder is the S101 General Program. The S101 addresses topics of regulatory standards and compliance, as well as ethical sales-practices. There are four modules:
- Client/Product Suitability
- New and Secondary Offering & Corporate Finance
- Communicating with the Public
- Handling Customer Accounts/Trade and Settlement Practices
- The Firm Element
Each year, your broker-dealer will implement its own Firm Element continuing education class based on the relevant financial industry topics identified by FINRA and the NASAA. The FINRA and NASAA assessment serves as an outline for the topics your firm deems appropriate to its business. The Firm Element must be completed each year and generally addresses:
- Regulatory requirements related to products, services, and strategies
- Investment features and associated risk factors
- Sales practices and suitability standards
Updating your Form U-4
You must disclose to your broker-dealer’s compliance department any changes that affect your Form U-4 registration. Your firm will update your registration information and submit the changes on your behalf. Changes requiring Form U-4 updates include:
- Changes to name or marital status
- Address updates
- Customer complaints
- Pending or completed disciplinary actions
- Financial judgments against you
- Civil judgments against you
- Criminal disclosure
The investing public can access information on your Form U-4 anytime by visiting FINRA’s BrokerCheck.