Frequently Asked Questions
Continuing Education for Investment Adviser Representatives
About IAR CE
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 has to 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. 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.
- Which states have adopted the IAR CE requirement?
IAR CE Courses
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?
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 ends with a 10-question assessment. To complete a course, NASAA requires a passing score of 70% in three attempts. If you don't score 70% or higher on the third attempt, you'll be required to start the course again from the beginning.
You may also be asked to complete a satisfaction survey as part of the course activities required for CE credit.
Credit Hours and Reporting
Can I take the same course two years in a row, or take the same CE course more than once?
Repeated courses will not count towards the CE requirement, even if completed in another year. Every course that is taken must have a unique course ID, which will be noted in the course completion email that each student receives. Some courses may be updated over time and have the same name. However, if the content has changed enough, then the course will have a new course ID. In that case, as long as the course has a different course ID, a course with the same name may be taken again. Solomon Exam Prep will note updated courses in future years.
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.
How do I track my Investment Adviser Representative CE credit completion?
Solomon Exam Prep provides Investment Adviser Representatives with completion notices when credits are submitted to FINRA’s database. IARs should retain these notices for their records. Also, IARs may view their progress toward fulfilling the annual IAR CE requirement on their Solomon IAR CE dashboard. Additionally, IARs may access their CE credit records via FINRA’s FinPro portal. Note: to view CE progress on FinPro, an IAR must have a FinPro account.
Can Solomon IAR CE be applied to the CE required for any professional designations?
Yes, Solomon Exam Prep is an approved CFP Board CE Sponsor. To see which IAR CE courses are eligible to receive CFP® certification credit, see individual course details.
I'm a Registered Representative and an Investment Adviser Representative, working for a firm that is registered as a Broker-Dealer and an Investment Adviser. Is there an exception for me if I satisfy my continuing education requirements for FINRA?
Partially. IARs who are dually registered as broker-dealer agents are exempt from the Products and Practices portion of the IAR CE requirement, if they complete their FINRA Regulatory Element CE requirement. The IAR must still complete six credits of Ethics and Professional Responsibility courses, including at least three ethics courses. FINRA Firm Element CE may also count for IAR CE, but the provider of the Firm Element CE must be approved as an IAR CE provider by NASAA, and the specific Firm Element course must be approved by NASAA as an IAR CE course.
Are there any exemptions from the IAR CE requirement if I have a professional designation or other specified qualifications?
Yes. If the professional designation is current and qualifies you for an examination waiver in the jurisdiction in which you’re registered, then CE credits earned for the professional designation can qualify for IAR CE credits. Note, however, the course must be “Approved IAR Continuing Education Content,” meaning that the course that have been approved both by their credentialing organization and NASAA to earn dual credit.
- I terminated my IAR registration but want to re-register within the two-year window. Do I have to complete IAR CE for the year(s) I wasn’t registered?
Why is my IAR CE status still listed as "IAR CE Required" when I dropped my registration with the state requiring IAR CE mid-year?
If you have been registered with a state that requires IAR CE (an in-scope state) for any part of the year, you are still required to complete IAR CE. Thus, even if you withdraw from an in-scope state, the requirement continues to exist and may affect future registration(s) in in-scope states.
I am an investment adviser representative (IAR) in a state that does not require continuing education (CE), and I am not registered in a state that requires CE. However, my securities business clears via a branch in a state that requires IAR CE. Am I required to do annual IAR CE?
The investment adviser representative CE requirement is triggered by where you are registered. Unless you are registered as an investment adviser in a state that has adopted the IAR CE rule, you are not required to do IAR CE.