Becoming a Financial Planner in Texas

The Texas Workforce Commission predicts a remarkable increase of 35.4 percent in the number of jobs available to personal financial planners in the state between the years 2008 and 2018. Strong growth is also expected in jobs for insurance sales agents, who often sell annuities and market themselves as financial planners. Jobs for these financial professionals in Texas should grow by 17.5 percent during that same period. The number of jobs available to securities sales professionals is expected to increase by 15.8 percent during this period.

According to the 2005 report “The Changing Face of Texas“, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Texas is growing considerably faster than other states. In this report, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts notes that population has grown by 12.7 percent since 2000, twice the national population growth rate.

An increase in the number of Texas residents approaching retirement age is helping expand the market for financial planners who specialize in providing retirement planning services that help ensure retirees in the state have financial security well into their golden years. According to the US Census Bureau, the youngest baby boomers will be 60 by 2024. By 2040, it is expected that Texans age 65 and older will make up 18 percent of the state’s total population.

Urban areas of Texas continue to grow as more people move away from rural areas of the state. This presents more opportunities for financial planners in the metropolitan areas of Texas. Figures from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis show that the median per capita income in Midland, TX was $52,974 in 2007, up 63 percent between 2002 and 2007. Houston experienced an increase of 35 percent in its median per capita income during that same period. The higher income areas of Texas tend to be in the state’s metropolitan areas, meaning a greater potential for clients in need of investment advisory and wealth management services are likely to exist there.

How to Obtain an Investment Adviser License in Texas

The Texas State Securities Board handles the registration and licensure of investment adviser (IA) firms and representatives (IAR) who work with clients in the state. The registration of IARs are processed through the federal Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) Central Registration Depository (CRD) system, while the registrations of investment advisors (IAs) are processed through FINRA’s IARD (Investment Advisor Registration Depository) system. Under the Texas Securities Act, all IARs must pass an examination on Texas Securities Law as well as an examination on general securities principles. The state securities law exam is given at the Austin office and other offices of the State Securities Board while other securities exams are administered through FINRA and NASAA.

Texas is home to the offices of many investment advisory firms of international, national and regional origin. They include ViewPoint Bank in Plano; Goldman Sachs & Co. in Houston; Southwest Business Corporation in San Antonio; Sensus Financial in Dallas-Fort Worth; BBVA Compass in Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, Laredo, San Juan, Brownsville, San Antonio and Austin; and First Global Capital Corporation in Dallas.

How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Texas

Stockbrokers, otherwise known as securities sales agents or registered representatives, must register with the Texas State Securities Board and with the FINRA Central Registration Depository (CRD). Securities agents in Texas must pass an examination on state securities law, such as the Series 63 Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination or the Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Exam. An exam on general securities principles must also be passed, such as the FINRA Series 1 (General Securities Exam), Series 2 (FINRA Non-Member General Securities Exam), or Series 7 (General Securities Representative Exam). Other accepted exams are taken based on the type of securities reps will be selling. These exam options include:

  • Series 6 – Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative Examination
  • Series 11-Assistant Representative/Order Processing Examination
  • Series 22–Direct Participation Programs Representative Examination
  • Series 52–Municipal Securities Representative Examination
  • Series 62–Corporate Securities Representative Examination
  • Series 17–General Securities Representative Examination
  • Series 37–General Securities Representative Examination
  • Series 38–General Securities Representative Examination
  • Series 47–General Securities Representative Examination
  • Series 79–Investment Banking Qualification Examination
  • Series 72–Government Securities Representative Examination

FINRA requires all securities agents to complete continuing education requirements. A computer-based training program, known as the Regulatory Element, is taken after 24 months of registration and then every 36 months, so as to stay current on changes in regulations in the securities industry. A firm-provided Firm Element offers training for securities agents on developments in the securities industry and changes in sales practices or products.

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

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is responsible for licensing life insurance producers, who may also sell fixed annuities and thereby offer financial planning services. Prometric handles insurance exams for Texas producers. Once licensed, producers must fulfill 30 hours of continuing education every 24 months to maintain licensure. Just 15 hours may be self-study. Two hours must be in ethics or consumer protection courses.

Licensed life insurance producers in Texas do not need a separate insurance license in order to be eligible to sell variable contracts (that is, variable life and/or variable annuities). However, they must have securities licensure, which means passing the Series 6 or Series 7 examinations. Continuing education mandates of both TDI and FINRA must be met to maintain both licenses.