Becoming a Financial Advisor in Utah

Becoming a financial advisor in Utah means licensing an Investment Adviser (IA) firm or becoming licensed as an Investment Advisor Representative (IAR) of an existing firm. State level registration is completed through The Utah Division of Securities, while federal level registration is through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This step by step guide will describe the process for both state and federal level registration.

All firms and firm representatives acting as investment advisers in the state of Utah are expected to uphold the principals outlined in the Utah Uniform Securities Act.

Step 1. Get Your Education

As an investment adviser, clients will look to you as an expert in the securities market. Participating in an appropriate degree program is the best way to hone this expertise. Once registered, clients will be able to review your educational credentials through the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) registry while looking for an adviser with a strong educational background.

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Some degrees that may improve your chances of success as an adviser:

  • BA-Accounting
  • BA-Consumer and Family Financial Services
  • BS-Accounting
  • MS-Accounting
  • MS-Personal Financial Planning
  • MS-Finance
  • MBA –Finance or MBA-Accounting and Finance
  • PhD-Finance
  • PhD-Accounting

The right classes will assure you’re prepared for the challenges of the profession. While pursuing your degree, consider including the following courses in your course load:

  • Marketing
  • Taxation
  • Business law
  • Accounting
  • Management
  • Business communications
  • Behavior of groups, persons, and organizations
  • Finance
  • Computer information systems
  • Economics
  • Statistics
  • Quantitative applications applied to business
  • Ethics in business

Professional certifications are another sure way to strengthen your advising skills and credibility. With an adequate level of education or industry experience, you will meet the necessary eligibility requirements to test for one of the following elective certifications:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC)

Step 2: Register Your IA Firm in Utah

(This step is required for a new IA firm. If your career will begin with an established firm registered in Utah, skip down to Step 3.)

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State registration through the Utah Division of Securities is required for all investment adviser firms that manage less than $100 million in client assets. IA firms that manage more than $100 million qualify for federal registration through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In both instances, the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) is used.

  1. The first task is to complete is the Entitlement Forms so as to gain access to the IARD. As the owner of a newly established firm, this will involve assigning yourself the role of Super Accountant Administrator (SAA). As SSA, you will receive a confirmation email with all of the necessary login information to access the Firm Gateway and complete the remaining steps.
  2. Fund your firm’s IARD User Account. Fees you’ll be expected to cover include:
  • An initial $225 filing fee for SEC-registered advisors (fees are being waived for state-registrants)
  • Exam fees for each IAR in the firm
  • Utah’s $50 initial state IAR filing fee for each IAR
  • $100 initial IA firm filing fee for state-covered advisors
  • Submit the electronic Form ADV to outline employee background information, as well as your firm’s investment philosophy and fee structure.
  • Submit Form U-4 Uniform Application for Securities Registration or Transfer for each representative of your firm.
  • Submit the following information to Utah Division of Securities, PO Box 146760, Salt Lake City, UT  84114-6760:
    • A document that identifies yourself as the designated principal, or any other person who will act as supervisor and responsible party for the firm
    • A document that indicates whether or not the firm will have either custody or discretionary authority over client funds
    • Proof that the firm has a bond of at least $35,000 if they will take custody of client assets or at least $10,000 if they will exercise discretion over client funds
      • An audited balance sheet can be submitted to show your firm maintains a net worth of at least as much as the bonding requirements

Step 3: Take the Required Exam(s)

  1. As an IA firm principal or IAR candidate, you’ll be required to take the following.


Complete this form:

Step 4: Ongoing Renewal and Update Requirements in Utah

Investment Advisor Firm:
Yearly renewals are performed through the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) by the December 31st deadline each year. Renewal fees will be paid for each state in which each firm representative is currently registered. Annual fees include:

  • IARD administrative fees for renewal are $100
  • Utah’s renewal fees are $200 for state-covered firms, $100 for federal-covered firms, and $50 for each IAR within the firm
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Investment Adviser Representatives:
Firm representatives are expected to inform their compliance department within 30 days of changes to or the occurrence of the following:

  • Disciplinary action
  • Criminal record
  • Name change (marriage)
  • Additional business activities
  • Residential address
  • Certifications
  • Educational background
  • Client complaints
  • Civil judgments