How to become and profit as a fee-based registered investment advisor
The primary disclosure tool that the financial advisor must prepare and give to each client is form ADV. This contains information about the advisor's background for the past 10 years, how they manage portfolios, services they provide and fees they charge. This is now all maintained on line through the IARD system maintained by the FINRA. http://www.registered-investment-advisor.com/form_adv.htm.
Most states require Series 65 Uniform Investment Adviser exam. Some states require the principal of the RIA to pass the exam with a score greater than 70%. An alternative to the Series 65 is the combination of the Series 7 and Series 66 exams. The Series 66 is only good in conjunction with the Series 7. Although the series 7 is an FINRA exam, you do not need a broker dealer to take it. The 7/66 combination is generally used by an employee of a brokerage firm who is also registering as an investment adviser. http://www.registered-investment-advisor.com/series_65.htm. Essentially, the Series 66 equals the combination of the Series 65 and Series 63 exams. Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Accredited Personal Financial Specialist (APFS), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC).
Does the registered investment advisor need a broker dealer? No, not in the capacity of an overseer. Every RIA needs a broker dealer to custodian their client portfolios. The most well known custodians are Schwab Institutional (http://www.registered-investment-advisor.com/schwab_institutional.htm), TD Waterhouse (www.advisorservices.com), Ameritrade Institutional (http://www.ameritradeinstitutional.com/ria-home.html), Fidelity Investment Advisor Group (www.ibg.fidelity.com). In order to sign on as an RIA with these firms, you need a clean ADV and typically at least $5 million in clients assets (although Ameritrade will take less).
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