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Becoming a Financial Planner in North Carolina

In 2010 Moody’s economic analytics showed that job growth in North Carolina would be faster than the U.S. average in the years to follow. Job growth projections for North Carolina were at 1.3 percent, while nationwide, projected job growth was 0.9 percent. There’s been a consensus among certain economic analysts who believe North Carolina to be one of the states that will lead the country out of the recession. Strong job growth in North Carolina has helped to increase the availability of personal income able to be used to establish investment accounts, retirement plans, and college savings plans.

According to a 2009 report by Phoenix Marketing International, approximately 3.65 percent of North Carolina households had a net worth of $1 million or more. These high net worth families are much more apt to work with personal financial planners familiar with wealth management, tax planning, and investment strategies.

According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, in 1995 12.5 percent of North Carolina’s population was age 65 and older. By 2025, this percentage is expected to grow to 21.4 percent, ranking the state as eleventh in terms of highest proportion of residents age 65 and over as compared to the rest of the U.S. The rapid growth of North Carolina’s senior population means more residents are planning for retirement and in need of the services provided by financial planners experienced in this arena.

A 2008 report published by the college education advocacy group, Lumina Foundation, which maintains statistics specific to college enrollment and graduation rates across the U.S., showed that approximately 37 percent of North Carolina’s adults hold some type of college degree. This figure is on par with the national average of 38 percent. If the degree attainment rate of state residents continues at the same pace as it did between 2000 and 2008, approximately 47.5 percent of North Carolina’s adults will have a degree by 2025. Those interested in becoming financial planners are expected to be busy helping North Carolina families establish college saving plans that account for the increasing cost of tuition.

How to Obtain an Investment Adviser Representative License in North Carolina

The North Carolina Secretary of State’s Securities Division is responsible for licensing and registering investment adviser representatives (IAR) in the state. Anyone in the state who wishes to advise residents on securities investments must be registered with the Securities Division through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) IARD (Investment Advisor Registration Depository) system. All prospective IARs must pass the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA’s) Series 65 examination; or the Series 7 examination in combination with the Series 66 Examination.

International, national, local, and regional investment advisory firms have offices in North Carolina. Among these are UBS Financial Services in Charlotte; Met Life in Winston-Salem, Shelby, Greenville, Greensboro, Charlotte, Wilmington, and Raleigh; AXA Advisors in Raleigh and Greensboro; Virginia Asset Group in Outer Banks; North Star Resource Group in Chapel Hill; Allegacy Investment Group in Winston-Salem; and Vypak Consulting in Charlotte.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in North Carolina

Stockbrokers must be registered with both the North Carolina Securities Division and the FINRA Central Registration Depository (CRD). Registered reps in the state are required to pass either the Series 63 or 66 state exams in combination with one of the FINRA exams, either the Series 6 or 7 depending on the specific investment vehicles they’ll be working with.

NASAA and FINRA require continuing education of all registered securities representatives. A computerized Regulatory Element refresher-training program must be taken after being registered for two years. After that, the program is required every three years to keep reps abreast of changes in the evolving regulatory environment of the financial services industry. Firms must also provide Firm Element training for their registered representatives, keeping them updated on industry developments and any changes in sales protocols and product offerings.

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

Aspiring life insurance producers who may wish to offer financial planning services by selling fixed annuities must become licensed through the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI). This requires a 20-hour pre-licensing education course approved by the department, which may be taken in the classroom or in a correspondence capacity. Would-be life insurance producers will then sit for a state licensing exam administered through the third-party exam service, Pearson VUE. After receiving a license, continuing education requirements must be met every two years to maintain that license.
NCDOI may allow Exemptions from pre-licensing education for those who hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related major or one of the following professional certifications: Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF), or Fellow Life Management Institute (FLMI).

Once licensed as a life insurance producer in North Carolina, some go on to become Variable Life and Variable Annuity Agents in order to offer potentially higher-yield annuities with a securities component. This involves a securities license through broker-dealer firm sponsorship and FINRA registration, by passing the Series 6 or the Series 7 Exams. This additional licensure will mean meeting the continuing education requirements of the NCDOI for maintaining an insurance producer license, as well as that required by FINRA to maintain a securities license.