Financial Advisor Continuing Education

Continuing Ed: Helping Create Quality Financial Advisors

Continuing education helps financial advisors stay informed of the latest industry and regulation changes while educating them on products and solutions to help their clients. Taking continuing education classes helps them become better at their job, too! Providing quality service by having the product knowledge to present the right solution while following state laws and regulations, is the responsibility of both the advisor and the companies they represent. Continuing education helps to create a quality financial industry through knowledge.

Licenses Renew Every Two Years

Financial advisor licenses renew every two years if the advisor has completed all the continuing education required by their resident state. A financial advisor will lose their ability to advise and recommend financial products and lose their livelihood if they don’t meet their continuing education requirement. Insurance Commissioners in each state are tasked with ensuring advisors have maintained their education requirements and haven’t had any derogatory or legal claims against them. In addition, financial advisors are dually monitored and regulated by the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission)  and FINRA, depending on the advisor’s licensing.

Each state determines how many continuing education credits are required every two to four years and which classes are mandatory, such as 3 hours of ethics training currently required in all 50 states. Advisors that are licensed in multiple states must meet each state’s requirements in order to maintain that state’s license. For this reason, many states have streamlined their class offerings so that each class is approved for multiple-state licenses.

Financial Advisory Specialties

Some advisors have designations or areas of specialty that require them to take additional classes beyond the minimum required. These advisors provide advice in certain areas, offer unique services or financial products and select their classes based on their specialty.

Throughout a financial advisor’s career they take many continuing education classes to help them stay current and advise their clients in the best way possible. If you have questions regarding my special areas of focus or education classes I’ve taken, feel free to ask.

Positive Impacts of the Financial Crisis

The financial services industry is still recovering from the effects of the financial crisis.  Positive impacts from the crisis include new regulations and clients taking an increasingly active role in their economic destiny.  Reinforcing this is that all participants—financial advisors, clients, and regulators—are all welcoming the greater transparency and convenience  that new financial technology (FinTech) is bringing to the relationship.

Another positive of the crisis is that it has created new client experiences and a new role for financial advisors. Clients are now in charge more than ever and know what they want and expect.  They demand real-time information in everything they do, whether it be shopping or accessing investment information.  The smartphone, in particular, has facilitated this. Investors clamoring for transparency and technology helps create a new, more empowered investor.  Financial firms that do not address these changes run the risk of losing their clients.

Today is a pivotal time for an industry that was previously shrouded in secrecy before the financial crisis. Today, financial intelligence—through transparency and more high-value advice—is the only way that the financial services industry can survive.  Online access and portfolio automation have allowed clients full access to their accounts and greater insight into its workings.  This gives investors more piece of mind and a longer-term view of their goals while allowing the advisor to be more strategic with their advice.

FinTech helps the advisor focus on the role they should occupy—the giver of financial advice.  This advice takes into consideration the whole client, their evolving situations, values, and expectations.  With transparency and technology at the forefront, a higher value relationship between the client and their advisor is happening.  Time is not wasted on administrative tasks since technology takes care of the heavy lifting.  Clients have full access to update information and make changes themselves, with technology notifying the advisor.

With regulatory changes after the crisis and the new technology developed by startups and financial companies, there isn’t a better time to be an investor or a financial advisor.  FinTech tools are available to us to see the real-time performance and plan accordingly to an investor’s ever-changing situation.  We encourage all investors to take an active role in their financial lives by discovering and using the technology tools available today and the new tools in the future.