Becoming a Financial Planner in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development expects that opportunities for residents looking to become financial planners will be plentiful. A 2.7 percent increase per year in jobs for personal financial planners is expected between 2008 and 2018. More modest growth rates of 0.5 percent annually for life insurance and annuity producers and 0.8 percent annually for securities, commodities and financial services salespersons are expected during this same period.

Williamson County, a suburb of Nashville, had a median household income in 2009 of $88,316. This area of the state houses health care corporations that help contribute to the higher income levels there. Financial planners serve many of the residents in the Williamson County area, as higher net worth households tend to retain the expertise of financial planners more frequently.

Population projections for the state of Tennessee indicate that by 2020 the number of residents over age 65 will rise to 1,120,730. This represents a significant increase from the 2010 total of 853,462 residents, which was then 13.4 percent of the state’s total population. Financial planners committed to the unique level of responsibility associated with retirement planning see the potential for a strong client base here for years to come.

College enrollment levels at colleges and universities within the Tennessee Board of Regents system has boomed recently. In the fall of 2010, enrollment increased by five percent at these schools. If these enrollment trends hold, financial planners in Tennessee who specialize in assisting families establish and grow savings to fund their children’s college education should find no shortage of clients.

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How to Obtain an Investment Adviser Representative License in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Securities Division is charged with registering investment adviser firms and the representatives of these firms, who are commonly referred to in Tennessee as representative advisers (RAs). Registration for state and federal level investment adviser firms, as well as their representatives, is done through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) IARD (Investment Advisor Registration Depository). One of the following criteria must be met before registration will be granted to RAs:

  • Passing score on the Uniform Investment Adviser Law exam (Series 65)
  • Passing scores on both of these exams:
    • General Securities Representative (Series 7)
    • Uniform Combined State Law (Series 66)
  • Must have been registered as an RA or investment adviser representative IAR in any other state during the preceding 24 months
  • Must hold one of these professional designations:
    • Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC)
    • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
    • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
    • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
    • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Globally, nationally, and regionally recognized investment advisory firms are located across the state of Tennessee. Among these is FirstBank in Dayton; Waddell and Reed FAD in Memphis; BB&T in Chattanooga; Wilson Bank & Trust Investment Services in Hermitage; Ameriprise Financial in Kingsport; Capital Financial Group in Knoxville and Brentwood; Merrill Lynch in Germantown; and US Bank in Rogersville.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Tennessee

Broker-dealer agents must register with the Tennessee Securities Division as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) through the FINRA Central Registration Depository (CRD). Passing either the Series 63 or Series 66 state examinations along with a securities license exam pertaining to the sponsoring broker-dealer’s product line (such as Series 6 or Series 7) is also required prior to registration.

Continuing education ordered by NASAA and FINRA for registered reps is comprised of two elements: a Regulatory Element and a Firm Element. The Regulatory Element, taken after 24 months of in service as an agent and then every 36 months thereafter, is a refresher course designed to keep agents current on regulatory changes in the industry. The Firm Element training is provided yearly by BD firms and is designed to keep agents up-to-date on changes in the industry that influence sales practices and the investment/financial products they sell.

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

The Tennessee Insurance Division regulates life insurance producers by upholding licensing standards required for them to solicit clients in the state. Many life insurance producers sell fixed annuities, and market themselves as financial planners. In order to be eligible to take the life insurance licensing exam in Tennessee, prospective producers must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a resident of Tennessee
  • Be trustworthy, financially responsible, competent and have a good reputation in business
  • Complete a pre-licensing education course 20 hours in duration (approved providers may be found through PearsonVUE)
  • Complete a fingerprint background check

After fulfilling these requirements, aspiring insurance producers may sit for the life insurance licensing exam, also offered through PearsonVUE. To maintain a license, continuing education requirements of 24 hours every two years must be met.

If licensed life insurance producers want to sell variable contracts in Tennessee they must attain a securities license. No additional pre-licensing education applies to getting a variable contracts license; however, in addition to passing the state’s insurance licensing exam, they must pass the FINRA Series 6 or Series 7 Exams, as well as the Series 63 Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam.