According to information provided by the US Bureau of Economic Research, Virginia ranks seventh in the nation when it comes to average per capita personal income. Additionally, a number of counties in Virginia topped Forbes’ 2008 list of America’s richest counties. The richest county in the United States was Fairfax County, Virginia, where the median income was $100,318. Loudon County ranked second, with a median income of $99,371. Other counties in the state that made the list include Arlington County, at number 9 with a median income of $87,350; Stafford County at number 11 with a median income of $85,014; Prince William County at number 18 with a median income of $80,783; and Alexandria City, at number 19 with a median income of $80,449. Kiplinger reports that Virginia has the fifth highest concentration of millionaires when compared with all other states. Virginia housed 166,596 millionaires in 2008, or 5.51 percent of the state’s total population. The wealthiest areas in Virginia are suburbs of Washington, D.C. where the greatest demand exists for financial planners who provide investment advisory and wealth management services to higher net worth families.
Virginia also ranks high in the nation in terms of households with a stream of retirement income. According to the US Census Bureau, 20.2 percent of Virginia households receive retirement income, higher than the national average of 17.4 percent. In 2000, the US Census Bureau reported that 11.2 percent of Virginia’s population was over age 65. By 2030, projections indicate that percentage will increase to 18.8 percent. As this segment of the population ages and nears retirement, more residents will need the services of financial planners to help them manage their finances to ensure they continue to enjoy an adequate income stream in their golden years.
Financial planners who wish to become involved in helping families save for their children’s college education should find a strong market exists in Virginia. The Lumina Foundation for Education reported in 2009 that 43.4 percent of Virginia’s adults had at least an associate college degree, a figure that is much higher than the national average of 37.9 percent. These trends indicate that by 2025, 55 percent of Virginia’s adults will have a college degree.
How to Obtain an Investment Adviser License in Virginia
Aspiring proprietors of investment adviser (IA) firms and the investment adviser representatives of these firms must register with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC): Division of Securities and Retail Franchising. Registration is done through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) IARD (Investment Advisor Registration Depository) system after passing the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA’s) Series 65 examination; or the Series 7 examination in combination with the Series 66 Exam.
Many investment advisory firms have offices in Virginia, with names that are both nationally and locally known. Some of these include Virginia Asset Group in Hampton Roads; Edward Jones in Richmond, Charlottesville, Virginia Beach, Lynchburg, Roanoke, and Blacksburg; Union Bank and Trust in Middleburg, Williamsburg, and Richmond; Securian Financial Group in Richmond; Virginia Asset Management, also with offices in Richmond in addition to Ashland, Petersburg, and Williamsburg; and Virginia Commerce Bank with its office in Arlington.
How to Obtain a Stockbroker License in Virginia
The Virginia SCC: Division of Securities and Retail Franchising also issues licenses to broker-dealer agents who wish to do business within the state, provided that they also register with the FINRA Central Registration Depository (CRD). Under Virginia’s Administrative Code, all broker-dealer agents must pass one of the following exams:
- Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination, Series 63
- Uniform Combined State Law Examination, Series 66
- General Securities Principal Qualification Exam (Series 24)
- the Qualification Examination for Principals appropriate to the category of registration as determined by the type of business conducted by the broker-dealer firm (usually Series 6 or 7)
Continuing education requirements of FINRA and NASAA include a computer-based Regulatory Element, consisting of a training course taken after two years of licensure and every three years after that; and a firm-provided Firm Element that includes sales training to registered agents to keep them abreast of changes in the industry including new investment products.
How to Obtain a License to Sell Life Insurance and Fixed Annuities in Virginia
The Virginia SCC: Bureau of Insurance licenses life insurance producers who may also sell fixed annuities and thereby offer financial planning products. There are no pre-licensing education requirements, but would-be producers must pass the state’s licensing exam. Continuing education is required biennially and is administered by the Virginia Insurance Continuing Education Board through Pearson VUE.
If licensed life insurance producers in Virginia want to expand their offerings by selling variable annuities, they must apply for a Variable Life and Annuities License. This is obtained by passing the Series 63 exam along with the Series 6 exam. Continuing education requirements of both FINRA and the Bureau of Insurance must be upheld in order to renew a Variable Life and Annuities License in Virginia.