Becoming a Financial Planner in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City Journal Record recently noted that college enrollment numbers have increased in Oklahoma. This includes enrollment at all types of higher learning institutions throughout the state, including state and private colleges and universities, community colleges, and Career Tech centers. Some schools have seen an enrollment increase of as much as 20 percent in recent years. As this positive trend is expected to continue, it draws attention to the need for qualified financial planners in the state. Skilled planners work with Oklahoma’s families to help them navigate the tax-advantaged college tuition savings account options available to them, while also helping parents develop disciplined savings plans that will allow them to contribute to these accounts to keep pace with the increasing cost of a college education.

The Oklahoma Department of Commerce projects that the number of Oklahomans between the ages of 65 and 69 will nearly double to 248,100 during the 30 year period ending 2030. This represents just one segment of the “over 65” demographic in Oklahoma; other age profiles within the 65 and over group are expected to see increase as well. The total number of Oklahomans over age 65 is expected to increase by 60 percent between 2007 and 2030. During that same period, the number of residents age 85 and over is expected to increase by 50 percent. This dramatic increase in the number of Oklahomans approaching retirement age is on par with the increased demand expected for the services of expert financial planners who will help them prepare for a comfortable retirement, as well as those who work with existing retirees to see to it their retirement savings continues to produce an adequate income stream for years to come.

According to a recent Census report that revealed household incomes in Oklahoma, Wagoner County, Rogers County, Cleveland County, and Canadian County were shown to be the most affluent counties in the state. Interestingly, Oklahoma is home to six billionaires that made the most recent 2009 Forbes 400 Richest Americans list. They include George Kaiser, chairman of BOK Financial Corp, worth an estimated $10 billion; Lynn Schusterman, founder of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, with a net worth of $3 billion; Joseph Craft, president and CEO of coal producer/marketer Alliance Resource Partners LP, with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion; Harold Hamm, majority owner of Continental Resources, Inc., with a net worth of $7.5 billion; David Green, who founded the retail chain Hobby Lobby, who is worth $4 billion; and Aubrey McClendon, chairman and CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp, with a net worth of $1.2 billion.

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How to Obtain an Investment Adviser Representative License in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Department of Securities is the state agency that controls the registration and licensing of investment adviser (IA) firms and their representatives (IAR) who work with residents of the state. Registration through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) IARD (Investment Advisor Registration Depository) system is required of both state and federal level IA firm registrants and their representatives. Becoming a proprietor of an investment adviser firm or a representative of an existing firm in Oklahoma requires showing proof of passing the Series 65 exam, or the Series 7 exam along with the Series 66.

There are many investment adviser firms with a strong presence in Oklahoma, some with nationally recognizable names and others of local fame. They include Bank of the West in Tulsa, Bixby and Bartlesville; Edward Jones in Oklahoma City and Tulsa; First Command Financial Services, Inc. in Lawton; AXA Advisors in Oklahoma City and Stillwater; Stifel Nicolaus and First State Investment Advisors with offices in Tulsa; as well as Retirement Investment Advisors and King Capital Management in Oklahoma City.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Oklahoma

Stockbrokers/broker-dealer agents must register with the Oklahoma Department of Securities through the FINRA-managed Central Registration Depository (CRD). A uniform state law examination such as the Series 63 or 66 exam must be passed along with a product-specific exam based upon the securities one plans to work with. These exams include the Series 6 (Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative), Series 7 (General Securities Representative), Series 22 (Direct Participation Programs Representative) or Series 52 (Municipal Securities Representative) exams.

Broker-dealer agents must adhere to continuing education (CE) regulations set forth by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and FINRA. After being registered as an agent for two years, agents must participate in the Regulatory Element of continuing education. This course provides a refresher on regulations in the financial services industry. It must then be taken every three years for the remainder of the registered reps career. The Firm Element is the other required component of CE. Firms must provide registered agents with once-yearly training on developments and changes in the industry, products, and sales protocols.

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

The Oklahoma Insurance Department licenses qualified applicants to sell life insurance and annuities, one of the most popular financial and retirement planning investment products. No pre-licensing education is required in Oklahoma, but all applicants must pass the state licensing exam for their specific line of authority and apply for a license online through the State Based System website. Licensed producers must complete 24 hours of continuing education biennially, including three hours of ethics and two hours of legislative updates.

Some producers in Oklahoma may wish to sell variable contracts after becoming licensed life insurance producers. This may be accomplished through securities agent registration, which involves passing the Series 63 exam along with either the Series 7 or Series 6 exam. Alternatively, after securities agent registration, applicants may also apply for both life and variable life/annuities licenses simultaneously, producing a Life, Variable license. Continuing education mandates of both the Oklahoma Insurance Department and the governing SRO (self-regulatory organization) apply to variable contract producers.