Becoming a Financial Planner in New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development predicts a 12.2 percent increase in the number of jobs available to personal financial advisors during the ten-year period between 2008 and 2018. This amounts to 130 new jobs each year. Other financial planning professions are also slated for considerable growth. Insurance agents, many of whom sell annuities and offer financial planning services, are expected to see job growth of about 11.5 percent, or 410 jobs per year. Securities and commodities sales agents (stockbrokers) should see a gain of 8.2 percent, or 760 jobs each year.

According to a 2010 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report, New Jersey ranks third in the nation in terms of personal income, with residents averaging $50,781 per year. New Jersey has some of the highest concentrations of high net worth individuals and families in the country. reports that residents of affluent Hunterdon County enjoy the fourth highest median personal income in the nation, at $93,297. Somerset County, at number six on the list, is not far behind, at $91,688. Morris County follows at number seven in the country with a median personal income of $89,587. Those who become financial planners with a good client base do well in these affluent areas of New Jersey, as families with higher personal incomes are more likely to pursue college, retirement, and estate planning services.

The Economic Research Service (ERS) has identified the counties of Ocean and Cape May as New Jersey’s retirement destination counties. Financial advisors serving clients in and around these areas work with a larger population of citizens that are at or approaching retirement age and in need of advice with retirement and estate planning.

The Census Bureau reported in 2008 that 44.6 percent of New Jersey residents held at least a two-year college degree. This is considerably higher than the nation’s average of 38 percent. This calls attention to the fact that more and more New Jersey families are likely to seek the services of financial advisors to help them plan to fund the rising cost of college tuition. Residents from Somerset, Hunterdon, and Morris counties have the highest enrollment rate, and these areas have the highest concentration of residents that currently have college degrees.

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How to Obtain an Investment Adviser Representative License in New Jersey

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Securities is responsible for registering and licensing investment adviser representatives (IAR) serving New Jersey state residents. All aspiring IARs must take either the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA’s) Uniform Investment Adviser Examination (Series 65 examination), or the FINRA General Securities Representative Examination (Series 7 examination) in combination with the NASAA Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination. Exemptions may be granted on the basis of education, experience and training, or for applicants that hold certain professional designations: CFP (Certified Financial Planner), ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant), PFS (Personal Financial Specialist), CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), or CIC (Chartered Investment Counselor). Request a waiver by writing to the Bureau Chief, P.O. Box 47029, Newark, NJ 07101.

Investment advisory firms are located across New Jersey. These companies may be global, national or local in reach and include T. Rowe Price Investment Service in Paramus; UBS Financial Services in Jersey City and Weehawken; Harding Loevner LP in Somerville; Gilford Securities in Morristown; JP Morgan Chase in Summit and Colt’s Neck; and BCG Securities in Delran.

IARs with an entrepreneurial spirit often establish and license IA firms of their own through the New Jersey Bureau of Securities.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in New Jersey

Registered representatives must satisfy exam requirements to be licensed by the New Jersey Bureau of Securities. This involves passing the Series 7 examination. Exam waivers are granted to would-be registered representatives that have at least two years of securities experience and no history of regulatory problems.

Registered reps must also meet the continuing education requirements of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). After holding a license in New Jersey for two years, registered reps must take the Regulatory Element computerized training program. Once every three years after that, registered reps will take the current version of the program, as it updates regulatory to reflect regulatory changes and market trends. Firms are also obligated to provide annual Firm Element training to their agents based on the assessed needs of the firm. This typically involves training related to sales skills and product knowledge.

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

The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance is responsible for licensing life insurance producers who often offer financial planning services by selling annuities. Twenty hours of pre-licensing education must be completed, with courses chosen from New Jersey’s approved education providers. Pre-licensing education will end with taking the New Jersey insurance examination, which is administered through the third-party exam administration firm, PSI Online. The life producer examination lasts 210 minutes and may be taken online from home at a cost of $47.

New Jersey’s insurance licensing period is currently four years, but will soon be transitioning to a two-year cycle. For those on the four-year cycle, 48 credits of continuing education must be taken every four years for license renewal. On the two-year cycle, credits are reduced to 24 every two years.

Insurance producers involved in the sale of variable annuities must become licensed through both the New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance, and the Bureau of Securities. This involves taking the insurance exam as well as NASAA’s Series 6 Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative Exam or the Series 7 General Securities Representative Exam. Continuing education requirements of both FINRA and the Department of Banking and Insurance must be met in order to keep these licenses valid.