Oklahoma Adopts Continuing Education Requirement for Investment Adviser Representatives

Investment Adviser Representatives registered in Oklahoma must complete NASAA-approved continuing education courses beginning in 2023. Continue reading

Oklahoma is the most recent state to adopt NASAA’s new investment adviser representative continuing education (IAR CE) requirement. The new CE requirement will go into effect for IARs registered in Oklahoma on January 1, 2023. Kentucky, Michigan, and Wisconsin will also begin implementing the requirement in 2023.

The IAR CE requirement is already in effect in Maryland, Mississippi, and Vermont. As a result, IARs registered in any of these states must complete CE by the end of 2022.

Arkansas, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. have begun the process to adopt the IAR CE requirement. If these jurisdictions finalize adoption in 2022, then the requirement will be effective on January 1, 2023.

The NASAA model rule requires IARs registered in jurisdictions that have adopted the rule to complete 12 credits of CE each year. The requirement applies to both state-registered and federal-registered investment advisers. Six of the 12 credits must be in the Products and Practices category. The other six credits must be in the Ethics and Professional Responsibility category (at least three of these must be Ethics).

Beyond these credit requirements, IARs are free to choose courses that fit their interests and business needs. But any courses taken to fulfill the IAR CE requirement must be approved by NASAA. Solomon Exam Prep is a NASAA-approved CE provider, and all courses in Solomon’s IAR CE course library offer credit towards the CE requirement. Explore Solomon’s IAR CE courses.

For more information about IAR CE, visit the Solomon IAR CE FAQs or NASAA’s IAR CE FAQs.

Disclaimer: NASAA does not endorse any particular provider of CE courses. The content of the course and any views expressed are our own and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASAA or any of its member jurisdictions.

ESG Investing and DeFi & Digital Assets CE Courses Now Available

Investment Adviser Representatives have two more Solomon continuing education courses to choose from to complete their annual NASAA IAR CE requirement. Continue reading

Solomon Exam Prep has just added two new courses to its Investment Adviser Representative Continuing Education course library! Both courses are approved by NASAA and earn credit towards the new CE requirement for investment adviser representatives (IARs).

An Introduction to ESG Investing

Curious about the increasingly popular form of investing called ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing? Solomon Exam Prep’s new continuing education course, “An Introduction to ESG Investing,” provides a helpful overview of the topic for IARs.

The course begins with a short history of the ESG movement, including the role that international and domestic governing bodies have played in jumpstarting ESG investing. The different types of ESG ratings are compared and explained. Additionally, the course describes the kinds of ESG securities offered, as well as ways to choose an ESG portfolio that aligns with an investor’s values. Finally, the course lays out the potential risks and benefits of ESG funds and common ESG investment philosophies, such as impact investing and sustainable investing.

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to do the following:
    • Briefly describe the domestic and international roots of ESG investing and how it has grown to become a prominent force for change in the US and EU
    • Identify the characteristics and examples of the types of metrics used to gauge compliance with ESG goals
    • Understand the basic differences between the several types of ESG ratings agencies
    • Describe the common types of ESG securities, such as mutual funds, ETFs and green bonds
    • Identify examples of how states have led the shift in ESG investing
    • Describe the risks and benefits of investing in ESG funds
    • Define basic terms used in ESG investing tactics, such as impact investing and sustainable investing

The Introduction to ESG Investing course is worth one credit for the Products and Practices category. IARs must complete six credits of Products and Practices courses each year, of the 12 total required credits.

DeFi and Digital Assets

If you’ve been hearing terms such as “cryptocurrency,” “DeFi (short for decentralized finance),” and “NFTs” and wondering what all the fuss is about, you’re not alone. Solomon Exam Prep’s new “DeFi and Digital Assets” continuing education course offers a look into the world of digital assets through the lens of fiduciary duty.

The course discusses examples of digital assets such as cryptocurrency, dApps, DeFi Projects, and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). You’ll learn about the function of these digital assets and asset tools, as well as the benefits and drawbacks for IARs and their clients. This includes a discussion of whether IARs have the tools to provide a sufficient suitability analysis on these digital assets for their clients. The course ends with an assessment of the SEC’s regulatory framework for these assets.

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to do the following:
    • Explain the Prudent Investor Rule and identify two factors that are important in presenting a suitability analysis
    • Identify at least one advantage and one disadvantage to using a smart contract-based dApp as opposed to a traditional financial instrument
    • Compare and contrast a normal digital token with an NFT
    • Identify how digital assets present a different kind of transparency when compared with traditional financial instruments
    • Identify three differences in the risk profile of a digital asset compared to a traditional financial asset, including two difficulties associated with assessing risk
    • Explain conflict of interest that occurs due to valuation methods in digital asset portfolios

The DeFi and Digital Assets course is worth one credit for the Ethics and Professional Responsibility category and falls into the ethics sub-category. Out of the 12 total required credits, IARs must complete six credits of Ethics and Professional Responsibility courses each year. Three of these must specifically be ethics courses.

Solomon Exam Prep Investment Adviser Representative Continuing Education program
Solomon Exam Prep IAR CE course platform

About Solomon IAR CE courses

Solomon’s online IAR CE courses are self-paced and accessible on any internet-enabled device. Each course consists of short reading passages followed by quick assessments of 2–4 questions each. This read-and-quiz format facilitates learning and retention.

All Solomon IAR CE courses earn credit towards the Products and Practices or the Ethics and Professional Responsibility categories required by NASAA. Once activated, you have up to 365 days to complete a course. When you finish a course, Solomon reports completion to FINRA, NASAA’s vendor for program tracking.

What is the IAR CE requirement?

Investment Adviser Representatives registered in a jurisdiction that has adopted and implemented the NASAA model rule must do annual continuing education. To fulfill the IAR CE requirement, IARs must complete 12 credits of continuing education each calendar year.

To learn more about the IAR CE requirement, visit the Solomon IAR CE FAQs page. Explore Solomon’s entire IAR CE course library – purchase individual courses or a membership to the whole library and complete all your IAR CE in one place.

Disclaimer: NASAA does not endorse any particular provider of CE courses. The content of the course and any views expressed are our own and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASAA or any of its member jurisdictions.

Kentucky Adopts Continuing Education Requirement for Investment Adviser Representatives

Investment Adviser Representatives registered in Kentucky must complete NASAA-approved continuing education courses beginning in 2023. Continue reading

Kentucky is the latest state to adopt the NASAA model rule that requires investment adviser representatives (IARs) to complete annual continuing education (CE). The CE requirement will go into effect on January 1, 2023, for IARs registered in Kentucky.

Michigan and Wisconsin will also require IARs to complete CE starting in 2023.

Other states that are in the process of adopting IAR CE are Arkansas, Nevada, and Washington D.C. If these jurisdictions finalize adoption of the CE requirement in 2022, then it will go into effect in 2023.

The IAR CE requirement went into effect in Maryland, Mississippi, and Vermont on January 1, 2022. As a result, IARs registered in these states must complete CE by the end of this year. The requirement applies to both state-registered and federal-registered investment advisers.

IARs who are required to complete CE must take 12 credits of CE coursework each year. NASAA allows IARs to choose courses they’re interested in, but the courses and course provider must be approved by NASAA.

Solomon Exam Prep is a NASAA-approved CE provider, and all the courses in Solomon’s IAR CE course library earn credits towards the CE requirement. Explore Solomon’s IAR CE courses.

For more information about IAR CE, visit the Solomon IAR CE FAQs or NASAA’s IAR CE FAQs.

Disclaimer: NASAA does not endorse any particular provider of CE courses. The content of the course and any views expressed are our own and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASAA or any of its member jurisdictions.

Solomon Exam Prep Launches Investment Adviser Representative CE

Solomon’s NASAA-approved IAR CE courses are now available for investment adviser representatives who must complete the new CE requirement for 2022. Continue reading

Solomon Exam Prep is excited to announce the launch of its Investment Adviser Representative Continuing Education (IAR CE). All Solomon IAR CE courses are approved by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and earn credit to fulfill the new, annual CE requirement for IARs (Investment Adviser Representatives).

About Solomon IAR CE

As a leader in securities exam prep, including the NASAA Series 63, Series 65, and Series 66, Solomon brings the same level of expertise to creating high quality IAR CE content. Course content is delivered in self-paced online modules accessible on any web-enabled device, so you can study when and where you like. Short, engaging modules use a read-and-quiz format that results in higher retention for better learning. Plus, the user-friendly platform allows you to easily jump into the course and start learning.  
 
Solomon’s on-demand courses can be purchased individually, or through a membership to the entire course library to complete all your IAR CE in one place. The Solomon IAR CE platform helps guide course selection for you so that you know you are taking the right number of credits in the required course categories.  
 
Curious about Solomon’s IAR CE courses? Explore the Solomon IAR CE course library.

Solomon investment adviser representative CE course platform
Solomon IAR CE course platform

IAR CE FAQs (frequently asked questions)

Solomon has compiled some of the most common frequently asked questions about the new IAR CE requirement and how Solomon IAR CE works: 

Why is there a new CE requirement for IARs? 

CE courses are designed to keep a financial professional up to date on industry developments, current regulations, and ethical standards. NASAA received support from state regulators and the securities industry for the creation of a CE program to ensure that IARs, like broker-dealer agents, insurance agents, certified financial planners, and real estate agents, maintain or expand their level of knowledge and competence throughout their careers. 

Who must complete IAR CE? 

Every investment adviser representative (IAR) registered in a jurisdiction that adopts the NASAA model rule is subject to the CE requirement. The requirement applies to all registered IARs of both state-registered and federal-covered investment advisers. IARs must meet the CE requirements of any state in which the IAR is registered. 

When do IARs need to start complying with the CE program? 

Compliance starts in the 2022 calendar year in states that have adopted the model rule with an effective date of January 1, 2022. To view the states that adopted the new CE requirement, see the NASAA website or the Solomon IAR CE webpage. CE credits must be reported by the end of each calendar year. Newly registered IARs must meet the annual IAR CE requirement by the end of the first full calendar year following the year in which they first become registered. 

How many courses do I have to take? 

You have to complete 12 credits of CE coursework per year. Six of the 12 credits must be in the Products and Practices category. The other six credits must be in the Ethics and Professional Responsibility category, at least three of which must specifically be about ethics. The category that each course belongs to is indicated in the Solomon IAR CE course library. All Solomon courses are at least one credit. 

Where can I take NASAA-approved courses? 

NASAA has approved several vendors to provide IAR CE courses, including Solomon Exam Prep. All of the courses in the Solomon IAR CE library have passed an approval process with NASAA and Prometric, the course management vendor. 

How are the courses delivered? 

Solomon Exam Prep’s IAR CE courses are delivered online and are self-paced, so students can study when and where they like. 

Do I have to pass an assessment to complete a course? 

Yes, every course has an assessment that is at least 10 questions in length. In Solomon IAR CE courses, the assessment is broken up into shorter assessments that appear throughout the course, instead of a single assessment at the end of the course. You must pass assessments with a score of 100%, and you have an unlimited number of attempts. You may also be asked to complete a satisfaction survey as part of the course activities.

If I earn more than 12 IAR CE credits in a calendar year, can I carry over extra credits to the next year? 

No, credits earned beyond the 12 required credits do not carry over into a subsequent year. 

What happens if I do not complete the IAR CE requirement by the end of the calendar year? 

You will be required to pay the registration renewal fee, and CRD will set your IAR CE status to “CE Inactive.” This status will appear in the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IADP) and in BrokerCheck. You can continue to do business; however, if IAR CE is not completed by the end of the subsequent year, you will not be able to renew your registration. An IAR that is CE Inactive will hold that status in all states where the CE rule is effective following adoption of the model. If a state has not yet adopted the CE model rule, the CE program will have no impact on the registration status of the IARs registered with that state – the current registration practices will remain the same. 

Do I need to make up missed CE credits? 

Yes. If you complete courses in the current year, those credits will first apply to the previous year if you hadn’t completed 12 credits in the previous year. Once the missing credits for the previous year have been completed, then additional courses taken in the current year will apply to the current year’s requirement. Remember that any excess credits completed in a year will not carry forward to the next year. 

Who reports course completion? 

The course provider (i.e. Solomon Exam Prep) reports course completion to FINRA, NASAA’s vendor for program tracking. IARs should still keep a record of their completed courses for their own records. Solomon Exam Prep will distribute a course completion notice, once credits are reported, for this reason. 

Is there a reporting fee? 

Yes, the reporting fee, also known as the roster fee, is $3 per credit hour. For Solomon IAR CE courses, the reporting fee is included in the cost of the course or membership. Solomon submits the reporting fee and course completion information to FINRA, the manager of NASAA’s CE reporting database. 

How do I make sure my completion of the annual IAR CE requirement is shown in FINRA’s CE reporting database? 

The course provider (i.e. Solomon Exam Prep) is responsible for reporting successful completion information to both the IAR and to FINRA. To do this, Solomon must collect the IAR’s CRD number, and first and last names. The IAR is responsible for communicating this information to Solomon when prompted. The IAR is also responsible for ensuring they receive documentation of courses completed and keeping track of the number of CE credits awarded for each course. 
 
For more information about IAR Continuing Education, visit the NASAA FAQs page.

Disclaimer: NASAA does not endorse any particular provider of CE courses. The content of the course and any views expressed are our own and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASAA or any of its member jurisdictions.

Broker-Dealer vs. Investment Adviser: What’s the Difference?

Do your customers know the difference between an IA and BD? Do you know the importance of this distinction and how it may affect your registration status? Continue reading

Do your customers know the difference between an investment adviser and broker-dealer? Do you know the importance of this distinction and how it may affect your registration status? 

Investment Adviser or Broker-Dealer at work.

For many retail customers, the difference between an investment adviser (IA) and a broker-dealer (BD) may not seem important. A customer may have received an investment recommendation from a BD, or owned securities through an IA account. However, which kind of firm you work for is important for knowing which services you may provide, how you may provide them, and which qualification exams you must pass.

Investment Advisers

Investment advisers are usually firms, though they can be an individual operating as a sole proprietor, whose primary business is providing investment advice, and who are paid for the advice itself. Investment adviser representatives (IARs) are individuals who work for IAs and advise the IA’s clients on the IA’s behalf. IAs and IARs are not “stockbrokers” and cannot directly buy or sell securities for their customers. While many have IA accounts through which they own stocks, mutual funds, and other securities, in fact these are accounts an IA opens on the customer’s behalf with a BD. 

Broker-Dealers

Broker-dealers are usually firms, though they can be an individual operating as a sole proprietor, that execute securities transactions for customers. An individual who is employed by a BD to handle customer accounts is called an “agent of a broker-dealer” on some exams, or a “registered representative” (RR) on others. BDs can offer investment advice incidental to their work with customers but cannot be compensated for the advice itself. If a BD acts as an intermediary between a buyer and a seller, then the BD can charge a commission on the trade. If a BDs buys or sells from its own inventory, then the BD makes money by charging a markup on securities that they sell and taking a markdown on securities that they buy.

So, if you’re an IAR, you… 
  • …can provide advice
  • …can be paid for that advice
  • …cannot execute trades
  • …cannot charge commissions or markups on your customer’s trades
If you’re a BD agent (also known as a registered representative), you…
  • …can provide advice
  • …cannot be paid for that advice
  • …can execute trades
  • …can charge commissions or markups on your customer’s trades

Testing and Licensing

Finally, many firms, especially larger ones, maintain both IA and BD registrations. When working for these “dual registrants,” you may be asked to qualify as an IAR, BD agent, or both, depending on your role.

In fact, an increase in dual registrations is one of the note-worthy trends Solomon discusses in our recent white paper, “Optimizing On-Boarding in 2021: 7 Key Trends for the Securities Industry,” available for download from this blog post

To become an agent of a broker-dealer (registered representative), you must pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE), and a “top-off” exam such as the Series 6 or Series 7, and for state registration usually the Series 63. To become an IAR, you must pass either the Series 65, or, if you work for a dually registered firm, the SIE, the Series 7, and the Series 66.