Becoming a Stockbroker in North Carolina

Stockbroker is the term used outside of the financial services industry to refer to registered representatives who work in a sales capacity for the broker-dealer firms that employ them. The North Carolina Securities Division, Department of the Secretary of State licenses registered representatives to solicit clients and sell securities in the state. Follow these steps to become a stockbroker in North Carolina employed through either a FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) or Non-FINRA member broker-dealer firms.

Step 1. Get Your Education

Registered representatives are not required by the state of North Carolina to be college graduates, but most broker-dealers will require their salespeople to have a bachelor’s degree. Also, a four-year degree is generally a prerequisite for any professional designations you may choose to pursue during your career.

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College degrees that are especially helpful for registered representatives are:

  • BS-Business Administration- Finance
  • BS-Finance
  • BA-Consumer and Family Financial Services
  • BA-Accounting
  • BS-Business/Finance
  • MBA

Certain courses will help prepare you for working in the financial industry. The courses you take will give you insight into fundamentals of business, finance, and sales. Stockbrokers will benefit from the following courses:

  • Finance
  • Economics
  • Business communications
  • Statistics
  • Business law
  • Business ethics
  • Quantitative applications in business
  • Accounting, in particular courses in financial accounting and managerial accounting
  • Taxation
  • Marketing
  • Behavior of organizations, persons and groups

Step 2: Take the Required Exams to Become Licensed in North Carolina

  1. Become sponsored by a North Carolina registered broker-dealer. This will allow you take the required exam(s). To find a sponsor, apply for open registered representative positions, directly contact a firm that interests you, or reach out to your professional and personal network for leads.
  2. Complete the Form U-4, Uniform Application for Securities Registration or Transfer application form. Your broker-dealer’s compliance department can assist you with completing this application. Your hiring firm will then file your completed Form U-4 through the Central Registration Depository (CRD).
  • Form U-4 contains a series of questions that details your personal information, past education, and work experience, as well as any criminal history.
  • FINRA requires a registration fee of $85. Your broker-dealer firm will usually pay this fee on your behalf.
  • There are test fees associated with the securities exams: $245 for the Series 7 and $147 for the Series 63 (explained below). North Carolina requires registered representatives to hold the Series 7 and the Series 63 licenses.
  • Fingerprints are a requirement of FINRA registration. Ask your broker-dealer if they have the capacity to fingerprint. Otherwise, your local police station or sheriff’s office should be able to provide you with fingerprints for a nominal fee. FINRA charges $30.25 to process the fingerprint card.
  • North Carolina charges an initial registration fee of $125. Again, this fee should be paid by your sponsoring firm and made payable to the North Carolina Secretary of State, and sent to:

North Carolina Secretary of State
Securities Division
PO Box 29622
Raleigh, North Carolina 27626

  • Once your broker-dealer firm has filed and received approval of your completed Form U-4 through the CRD, you may register for the Series 7, General Securities Representative Examination.
  • The North Carolina Securities Division requires that you pass the Series 63 exam, as well as the Series 7. The Series 63, Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination covers state securities regulations as described in the Uniform Securities Act.
  • Within 120 days of your registration becoming active, go online to schedule the exam(s). The securities exams are taken through Prometric or Pearson exam services. Choose from the North Carolina testing center locations to find the one nearest you. If you are planning to take multiple exams, you must schedule them for different days.
  • Prepare for the exam. Your broker-dealer may offer preparation courses, and there are many practice tests and materials available. You may be required to complete paperwork at the test center, so plan to arrive at least an hour before the exam.
  • You will be informed of your score immediately upon completing the exam(s). Once you receive a passing score on the required exam(s), you are considered licensed as a registered representative in North Carolina.

Step 3: Get Your On-The-Job Training

As you begin your career, you will receive on-the-job training while working for you broker-dealer firm. You may job shadow a fellow registered representative to develop your sales skills and to increase your product knowledge. Many firms will offer additional courses either internally or through outside vendors to help you develop professionally.

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Product and sales training will teach you how to properly advise clients and provide them with suitable investments products, including:

  • Mutual funds
  • Stocks
  • Variable contracts
  • Options on stocks
  • Corporate, municipal and treasury bonds
  • Government securities
  • Corporate equity and debt securities
  • Corporate, municipal and treasury bonds
  • Corporate, municipal and treasury bonds
  • 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

  1. Annual License Renewal and Fees
    In North Carolina, you must renew your securities license annually. Renewals are not done automatically, so it will need to be initiated through the Web-CRD (Central Registration Depository). North Carolina securities licenses expire on March 31st of each year. The renewal fee in North Carolina is $125, which may be covered by your broker-dealer firm. Renewal fees must be submitted as a check made payable to the North Carolina Secretary of State, and sent to:

    North Carolina Secretary of State
    Securities Division
    PO Box 29622
    Raleigh, North Carolina 27626

  2. Continuing Education Requirements
    Continuing education requirements as defined by the Securities Industry Continuing Education Program apply to all registered representatives. Continuing education is made up of two categories:

    • The Regulatory Element
      One Regulatory Element training program is required by FINRA at the beginning of your third year in practice. You will have 120 days from your second annual registration to complete this element. After completing the initial Regulatory Element, you are required to do so once every three years. To reflect the frequent regulatory changes in the industry, the Regulatory Element training modules are themselves frequently updated. Your broker-dealer’s compliance department will alert you when you are required to complete training.The S101 General Program training applies to Series 7 licensed registered representatives. The S101 generally addresses the following areas:

      • Communicating with the Public
      • New and Secondary Offering & Corporate Finance
      • Handling Customer Accounts/Trade and Settlement Practices
      • Client/Product Suitability
    • The Firm Element
      Each year through your broker-dealer firm, you are required to participate in Firm Element training. After performing their annual internal evaluation, your firm will determine which relevant product and industry related training its registered representatives must complete. The Firm Element often focuses on the following areas:

      • Regulatory requirements related to products, services, and strategies
      • Investment features and associated risk factors
      • Sales practices and suitability standards
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  4. Updating your Form U-4
    If something occurs either personally or professionally that would affect your Form U-4, you are required to promptly inform your firm’s compliance department. Your broker-dealer will update the Form U-4 to reflect any changes, including:

    • Address updates
    • Criminal disclosure
    • Civil judgments against you
    • Financial judgments against you
    • Customer complaints
    • Pending or completed disciplinary actions

FINRA’s BrokerCheck can be used by clients and regulators to review public details regarding your education and professional credentials, as well as any disciplinary action you may have been subject to.