Becoming a Financial Planner in Ohio

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the average per capita personal income in Ohio in 2009 was $35,408. Counties in Ohio in which per capita personal income exceeded the state average include Cuyahoga, at $41,391; Delaware, at $51,479; Geauga, at $44,400; and Hamilton, at $42,393. The counties of Hancock, Lake, Licking, Medina, Montgomery, Ottawa, Summit, Warren, and Franklin also made the list. Two of these counties, Delaware and Warren, are ranked among the 100 fastest-growing counties in the entire nation. Financial planners in Ohio have a disproportionate number of clients based in these counties, as residents with higher personal incomes are more likely to retain experts to help them grow assets through investment advisory services, as well to assist with college and retirement planning.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Ohio has a larger population of residents over age 65 than most other states in the nation. With 14.1 percent of Ohio’s residents age 65 and over, and that figure expected to increase to 20 percent by 2030, many already seek the assistance of financial planners for prudent and responsible financial management to help maximize their retirement savings. The Census Bureau projects that the median age of Ohio’s residents will increase to 40.2 by 2030, meaning many more will be looking to professionals to help them plan for retirement as well as to fund their children’s college education.

Ohio’s Board of Regents reported in 2006 that enrollment numbers in Ohio’s public and private colleges and universities were on the rise. The report noted that from 1998 to 2006 enrollment in higher education in Ohio rose by 14.5 percent. It is interesting that this enrollment growth occurred at a time when the number of traditional college age residents, between the ages of 18 and 49, actually declined by 3 percent. These favorable enrollment figures are positive indicators for the direction the state as heading, as well as for financial planners dedicated to helping families save for the escalating costs of a college education.

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How to Obtain an Investment Adviser Representative License in Ohio

All prospective investment adviser (IA) firm proprietors and representatives (IARs) in Ohio must become licensed through the Ohio Division of Securities by registering through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) IARD (Investment Advisor Registration Depository) system. Although most investment advisers take the Series 65 Exam, Under the Ohio Securities Act, Ohio Revised Code, a passing score on any one of the following exams will allow a license to be granted in the state:

  • Investment company and variable contracts representative (Series 6)
  • General securities representative (Series 7)
  • Direct participation programs representative (Series 22)
  • General securities principal (Series 24)
  • Investment company and variable contracts principal (Series 26)
  • Direct participation programs principal (Series 39)
  • Corporate securities representative (Series 62)
  • Uniform securities agent state law examination (Series 63)
  • Uniform investment adviser law examination (Series 65)
  • Uniform combined state law examination (Series 66)

Investment advisor representatives are commonly employed at investment advisory firms across the state. Firms that employ IARs in Ohio include Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland; JP Morgan Chase in Beachwood; Edelman Financial in Columbus; Peoples Bancorp, Inc. in Lancaster; The Horace Mann Companies in Chardon, Bryan, Canton, Akron, Youngstown and Mansfield; and 21st Century Financial, Inc. in Akron.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Ohio

Securities salespersons in Ohio must be licensed by the Ohio Division of Securities as well as registered with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) through FINRA’s Central Registration Depository (CRD). Although registered reps need to take the Series 7 exam so as to be able to work with a broad range of securities products, principals of broker-dealer firms can license their firms by obtaining a passing score on one or more of the following exams:

  • SECO exam (Series 2)
  • Registered options principal (Series 4)
  • Investment company and variable contracts products representative (Series 6)
  • General securities representative (Series 7)
  • Direct participation programs representative (Series 22)
  • General securities principal (Series 24)
  • Investment company and variable contracts products principal (Series 26)
  • Direct participation programs principal (Series 39)
  • Registered options representative (Series 42)
  • Municipal securities representative (Series 52)
  • Municipal securities principal (Series 53)
  • Corporate securities representative (Series 62)
  • Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam (Series 63)
  • Uniform combined state law exam (Series 66)

Continuing education (CE) is required of registered securities representatives by NASAA and FINRA. The Regulatory Element requirement of CE obligates all registered representatives to take a refresher course after being licensed for 24 months, then every 36 months thereafter. The Firm Element requirement of CE obligates all firms to provide training to their registered representatives. This usually takes the form of in-house programs and includes topics that cover changes in product offerings, changes in sales procedures, and other modifications to the industry.

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

The State of Ohio’s Department of Insurance licenses life insurance producers, some of whom may sell fixed annuities so as to offer financial planning services. Forty hours of pre-licensing education is required and must be classroom-based, as no self-study courses are allowed. Prometric testing centers located throughout the state administer Ohio’s life insurance examination. Twenty hours of continuing education is required biannually in order to maintain a life insurance producer’s license in the state.

If a licensed life insurance producer in Ohio wishes to sell variable annuities, securities licensure through the Ohio Division of Securities and registration with FINRA is also required. This means passing scores on the Series 6 examination must be obtained. Continuing education requirements maintained by both Ohio’s Department of Insurance and FINRA must be upheld in order to maintain a variable annuity license.