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Sun, 12 Nov 2023 08:00:00 -0600entext/html How To Choose A Financial Advisor

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Are you seeking assistance with your financial management? If so, you’re not alone. Many Americans could benefit from financial guidance. In fact, according to the National Financial Education Council, the average American incurs a cost of $1,200 per year due to a lack of personal finance knowledge.

Choosing a good financial advisor can help you avoid these costs and focus on your goals. Financial advisors aren’t just for rich people—working with a financial advisor is a great choice for anyone who wants to get their personal finances on track and set long-term objectives. To find the ideal financial advisor for your requirements, consider following our 5 key steps.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 minutes

Step 1: Decide What Part of Your Financial Life You Need An Advisor For

Before you speak to a financial advisor, decide which aspects of your financial life you need help with. When you first sit down with an advisor, you’ll want to be ready to explain your particular money management needs.

Keep in mind that financial advisors provide more than just investment advice. The best financial planner is the one who can help you chart a course for all your financial needs. This can cover investment advice for retirement plans, debt repayment, insurance product suggestions to protect yourself and your family and estate planning.

Depending on where you are in life, you may not need comprehensive financial planning. People whose financial lives are relatively straightforward, like young people without families of their own or significant debt, might only need help with retirement planning.

People with complex financial needs, however, may need extra assistance. They could be looking to establish college funds or trusts for their children, navigate aggressive debt payment situations or solve tricky tax problems. Not all types of financial advisors offer the same menu of services, so decide which services you need and let this guide your search.

Step 2: Learn About the Different Types of Financial Advisors

There’s no federal law that regulates who can call themselves a financial advisor or provide financial advice. While many people call themselves financial advisors, not all have your best interest at heart. That’s why you have to carefully evaluate potential financial advisors and make sure they are good for you and your money.

Part of learning about the different types of advisors is understanding fiduciary duty. Some, but not all, financial advisors are bound by fiduciary duty, meaning that they are legally required to work in your financial best interest. Other people who call themselves advisors are only held to a suitability standard, meaning they only must suggest products that are suitable for you—even if they’re more expensive and earn them a higher commission. (The SEC is trying to regulate this, though, by limiting the use of “advisor” to those who hold themselves to a fiduciary standard.)

Regardless of which kind of advisor you choose, you should make sure you know how they earn money. This helps you determine if their recommendations are actually better for you—or for their wallets.

Here’s how to think about these four types of financial advisors:

Fee-Only Financial Advisors

Fee-only financial advisors earn money from the fees you pay for their services. These fees may be charged as a percentage of the assets they manage for you, as an hourly rate, or as a flat rate.

Almost all fee-only advisors are fiduciaries. Generally speaking, they have chosen to work under a fee-only model to reduce any potential conflicts of interest. Because their income is from clients, it’s in their best interest to make sure you end up with financial plans and financial products that work best for you.

Financial Advisors Who Earn Commissions

Some financial advisors make money by earning sales commissions from third parties. Among financial advisors that earn sales commissions, some may advertise themselves as “free” financial advisors that do not charge you fees for advice. Others may charge fees, meaning they derive only part of their income from third-party commissions.

Either way, financial advisors who earn third-party sales commissions derive some or all of their income from selling you certain financial products. If you choose to work with a financial advisor who earns sales commissions, you need to take extra care.

Commission-only advisors are not fiduciaries. They work as salespeople for investment and insurance brokerages and are only held to suitability standards. In contrast, some fee-based financial advisors are fiduciaries, though it’s important to determine if they’re always acting as fiduciaries or if they “pause” fiduciary duty when discussing certain types of products, like insurance.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 minutes

Keep in mind, commissions aren’t bad in and of themselves. They’re not even necessarily red flags.

Some financial products are predominantly sold under a commission model. Take life insurance: A fee-based planner who receives compensation for helping you purchase a life insurance policy may still have your best interests at heart when advising on other financial products.

“To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with paying the commission for life insurance,” says Karen Van Voorhis, a fee-based certified financial planner (CFP) and Director of Financial Planning at Daniel J. Galli & Associates in Norwell, Mass. “That’s how the structure of that industry works.”

Purchasing financial products via financial advisors that earn commissions may be a matter of convenience, especially if someone will receive a commission regardless of where you buy the product. What’s important is understanding the difference. And if you work with a fee-based financial advisor, understand when they are acting as a fiduciary, especially when they help you purchase financial products.

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Registered Investment Advisors

Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) are companies that provide fiduciary financial advice. RIAs employ Investment Advisor Representatives (IARs), who are bound by fiduciary duty. An RIA may have one or hundreds of IARs working for it.

IARs may call themselves financial advisors and may be fee-only or fee-based. Some may have additional credentials, including the certified financial planner (CFP) designation.

“The certified financial planner designation is really the gold standard in the financial planning industry,” says Van Voorhis. A CFP designation indicates a financial advisor has passed rigorous industry exams covering real estate, investment, and insurance planning as well as has years of experience in their fields.

Because of their wide range of expertise, CFPs are well-suited to help you plan out every aspect of your financial life. They may be particularly helpful for those with complex financial situations, including managing large outstanding debts and will, trust and estate planning.

Robo Advisors

Robo advisors offer low-cost, automated investment advice. Most specialize in helping people invest for mid- and long-term goals, like retirement, through preconstructed diversified portfolios of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

“For younger people who are really tech-savvy, a robo advisor just to manage retirement funds could be a perfect solution,” says Brian Behl, a CFP at Behl Wealth Management in Waukesha, Wisc. “I don’t think they’re going to get as in-depth advice on insurance and retirement and taxes.”

People with complex financial needs should probably choose a conventional financial advisor, although many robo advisors provide financial planning services a la carte or for higher net-worth clients.

“While the robo advisors have really disrupted the industry…I do think there’s still a place for human advisors right now,” says Corbin Blackwell, a CFP at robo advisor Betterment.

Betterment, for example, allows clients to purchase individual financial advising sessions, and Personal Capital, Wealthsimple, and Betterment provide regular financial planning for clients with higher account balances for a management fee.

Step 3: Choose What Kind of Financial Advice You Need

Services offered by financial advisors vary from advisor to advisor, but they may provide financial advice on any of the following topics:

  • Investment advice: Financial advisors research different investment options and make sure your investment portfolio stays within your desired level of risk.
  • Debt management: If you have outstanding debts, like credit card debt, student loans, car loans, or mortgages, financial advisors will work with you to chart a plan for repayment.
  • Budgeting help: Financial advisors are experts in analyzing where your money goes once it leaves your paycheck. Advisors can help you craft budgets so you’re prepared to reach your financial goals.
  • Insurance coverage: Financial advisors may examine your current policies to identify any gaps in coverage or recommend new types of policies, like disability insurance or long-term care coverage, depending on your financial situation.
  • Tax planning: Tax planning involves strategizing ways to decrease the amount of taxes you may pay, like by large charitable donations or tax-loss harvesting. Keep in mind that not all financial planners are tax experts and that tax planning is different from tax preparation. You will probably still need a CPA or tax software to file your taxes.
  • Retirement planning: Financial advisors can help you build funds for the ultimate long-term goal, retirement. And then, once you’re retired or nearing retirement, they can help ensure you’re able to keep your money safe.
  • Estate planning: For those who wish to leave a legacy, financial advisors can help you transfer your wealth to the next generation, whether that’s family, friends, or charitable causes.
  • College planning: If you hope to fund loved ones’ educations, financial advisors can craft a plan to help you save for their higher education.

In addition to investment management and financial planning, financial advisors also offer emotional support and perspective during volatile economic times. During the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020, for instance, client demand for financial advisor contact increased by almost 50%.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 minutes

“I think that during these times, we can be a source of reason,” says Blackwell. “We can weather the storm. We’ve built this portfolio for a reason.”

When choosing a financial advisor, make sure they offer the services you’re looking for in your financial and non-financial lives.

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Step 4: Decide How Much You Can Pay Your Financial Advisor

It used to be that financial advisors charged fees that were a percentage of the assets they managed for you. Today advisors offer a wide variety of fee structures, which helps make their services accessible to clients of all levels of financial means.

  • Commission-only financial advisors may seem free on paper, but they may receive a portion of what you invest or purchase as a payment. These “free” financial advisors typically are available through investment or insurance brokerages. Remember, these advisors may only be held to suitability standards, so they may end up costing what you would pay for a similar financial product suggested by a fiduciary financial advisor—or more.
  • Fee-only and fee-based financial advisors may charge fees based on the total amount of assets they manage for you (assets under management) or they may charge by the hour, by the plan, through a retainer agreement, or via a subscription model. Common average financial advisor fee rates are listed in the table below:

Step 5: Research Financial Advisors

Financial advice comes in many forms, and there are a variety of different kinds of financial professionals, so you need to do your homework. Make sure the advisor guiding your financial decisions is trustworthy and capable.

There are a few good ways to find a financial advisor. Ask friends, family and peers for recommendations when trying to find a financial advisor near you. Alternatively, look for financial advisors online. Many professional financial planning associations provide free databases of financial advisors:

When evaluating advisors, be sure to consider their credentials as well as research their backgrounds and fee structures. You can view disciplinary actions and complaints filed against financial advisors using FINRA’s BrokerCheck. And remember, just because someone is part of a financial planning association, that doesn’t mean they’re a fiduciary financial advisor.

Economic Insights

A Financial advisor can help you make decisions based on current economic conditions you may not be aware of. In August of 2023, we’re in a high interest rate environment with inflation cooling down but still a significant factor. A financial advisor may urge you to pay off high interest debt, take advantage of high yield savings accounts, and continue to invest in tax efficient accounts so you aren’t actively losing money to inflation.

Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Advisor

When meeting a financial advisor for the first time, it’s important to obtain the answers to these questions and ensure you’re satisfied with their responses:

  • Fiduciary Status: Are you a fiduciary, committed to acting in my best interest?
  • Compensation Structure: How do you make money? Understand their fee structure and any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Consistency of Fiduciary Duty: Do you always act as fiduciaries, even when selling commission-based products?
  • Financial Planning Approach: What is your approach to financial planning? Learn about their strategies and methodologies.
  • Available Services: What financial planning services do you offer? Ensure their offerings align with your specific needs.
  • Client Profile: What kind of clients do you typically work with? Confirm if they have experience catering to clients similar to you.
  • Account Minimums: Do you have any account minimums? Determine if their requirements match your financial situation.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Do you have any conflicts of interest in managing your money? Ensure transparency and alignment of interests.
  • Required Information: What information do you need me to provide to develop my financial plan? Gather relevant documents.
  • Meeting Frequency: How many times and how often will we meet? Establish expectations for ongoing communication.
  • Collaboration with Advisors: Will you collaborate with your other advisors, such as CPAs or attorneys? Coordinate efforts for comprehensive financial management.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 minutes

The Bottom Line

Because of the ambiguity in the industry, you have to exercise caution to make sure you get the right financial advisor who meets your fiduciary and financial needs. That said, when you choose the right financial advisor for you, they can help you achieve your financial goals and financially protect your loved ones and their futures.

“So much of what I do in a life-centered approach to financial planning and wealth management is walk out life with people,” says Wes Brown, a CFP at CogentBlue Wealth Advisors in Knoxville, Tenn. “I think there’s value in an ongoing relationship where somebody can help you walk through the various waypoints you’re going to come to.

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Financial Advisor Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a financial advisor?

Financial advisors are personal finance experts who supply you financial advice and manage your money. Some—but not all—are fiduciaries. A fiduciary acts only in your best financial interest.

“A financial advisor is like a coach,” says Matt Chancey, a certified financial planner (CFP) at Dempsey Lord Smith in Tampa, Fla. “It helps to have someone keep you accountable to your goals and make sure that you aren’t making any major missteps.”

What can a financial advisor do for you?

A good financial investment advisor can evaluate your current situation and develop a comprehensive plan to guide you through your financial life.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” says Marianela Collado, a CFP and certified public accountant (CPA) at Tobias Financial Advisors in Plantation, Fla. “By opening your finances up, a good financial adviser can suggest a wide range of opportunities that the client probably never thought of or wouldn’t even know to ask for.”

Who needs a financial advisor?

Though some people may think they don’t need a financial advisor until they’ve amassed at least $1 million, the amount of assets you hold shouldn’t be the sole determining factor. In fact, financial advisors work with clients of all tax brackets and backgrounds.

How much does a financial advisor cost?

Financial advisor fees can vary widely. This is due to there being different methods for a financial advisor to generate their income. Some advisors are fee-only. Other advisors are commission-based. Some advisors even work on a hybrid model between the two.

It’s recommended that you research how the individual advisor you’re choosing generates their income before starting to work with them.

When should I get a financial advisor?

Financial advisors become most helpful when your financial life becomes complex. That might be when you get married, have children, get divorced, are managing many competing debts, come into an unexpected windfall or are navigating end-of-life financial decisions.

Fri, 06 Oct 2023 01:05:00 -0500 John Schmidt en-US text/html
Wall Street can breathe easy. ChatGPT isn't smart enough to be a financial analyst yet. No result found, try new keyword!In a study conducted by JPMorgan AI researchers and a team of academics, GPT-4 did better than ChatGPT on the first two levels of the exam. Thu, 02 Nov 2023 07:17:42 -0500 en-us text/html What is a certified financial planner (CFP)? These financial pros endure a rigorous certification process No result found, try new keyword!Certified financial planners use a comprehensive seven ... advisor after studying for a couple of weeks and taking one test,” says Reeves. “There's no regulation around the term financial ... Tue, 19 Sep 2023 10:16:00 -0500 en-us text/html CFP vs. CPA: What’s the Difference and Who Should You Hire?

There are more than 200 designations and certifications available to financial professionals, comprising an alphabet soup of distinctions that confuse consumers and fellow professionals alike. If you are searching for a financial planner, know that quality is more important than quantity. Distinguishing between various distinctions, such as CFP® vs. CPA, is key to making sure you receive the best advice.

Two of the most recognizable financial credentials are the CPA license and CFP® certification. CPAs and CFP® professionals have different but complementary areas of expertise, and some professionals hold both credentials. When considering who to hire, it’s important to understand their roles individually and to know when it makes sense to work with an adviser who has both credentials.

The Certified Public Account’s Role

AFE test - Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE) Updated: 2023

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Exam Code: AFE Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE) test November 2023 by team

AFE Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE)

Test Detail:
The Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE) examination is a professional certification test administered by the Society of Financial Examiners (SOFE). It is designed to assess the knowledge and skills of financial professionals working in the field of insurance examination and regulation. Below is a detailed description of the test, including the number of questions and time allocation, course outline, test objectives, and test syllabus.

Number of Questions and Time:
The AFE examination consists of two parts: Part I and Part II. The number of questions and time allocation for each part are as follows:

Part I:
- 150 multiple-choice questions
- Time: 3 hours

Part II:
- 150 multiple-choice questions
- Time: 3 hours

The total testing time for the AFE examination is 6 hours.

Course Outline:
The AFE examination covers various subject areas that are essential for financial examiners in the insurance industry. The test content typically includes the following key areas:

Part I:
1. Insurance Accounting and Financial Reporting:
- Financial statement analysis
- Regulatory accounting principles
- Financial reporting requirements

2. Insurance Examination and Financial Analysis:
- Examination techniques and procedures
- Financial analysis methods
- Risk assessment and evaluation

3. Insurance Laws and Regulations:
- State and federal insurance laws
- Insurance regulatory environment
- Compliance and enforcement

Part II:
4. Insurance Company Operations and Products:
- Insurance company structures and operations
- Insurance products and underwriting
- Claims management and reinsurance

5. Actuarial Principles and Analysis:
- Actuarial concepts and methods
- Risk modeling and estimation
- Reserving and pricing techniques

6. Insurance Risk Management:
- Enterprise risk management
- Risk identification and mitigation strategies
- Capital adequacy and solvency assessment

Exam Objectives:
The AFE examination aims to assess the knowledge and skills necessary for financial examiners to effectively examine and regulate insurance companies. The key objectives of the test include:

1. Demonstrating Knowledge of Insurance Accounting and Financial Reporting: Assessing candidates' understanding of financial statement analysis, regulatory accounting principles, and financial reporting requirements in the insurance industry.

2. Testing Competence in Insurance Examination and Financial Analysis: Evaluating candidates' ability to apply examination techniques, perform financial analysis, and assess risk in insurance companies.

3. Assessing Understanding of Insurance Laws and Regulations: Testing candidates' knowledge of state and federal insurance laws, the regulatory environment, and compliance and enforcement processes.

4. Evaluating Familiarity with Insurance Company Operations and Products: Assessing candidates' understanding of insurance company structures, operations, products, underwriting practices, and claims management.

5. Testing Knowledge of Actuarial Principles and Analysis: Evaluating candidates' knowledge of actuarial concepts and methods, risk modeling, reserving, and pricing techniques.

6. Assessing Competence in Insurance Risk Management: Evaluating candidates' understanding of enterprise risk management, risk identification and mitigation strategies, and capital adequacy and solvency assessment in the insurance industry.

Exam Syllabus:
The AFE test syllabus covers a wide range of Topics in insurance accounting and financial reporting, insurance examination and analysis, insurance laws and regulations, insurance company operations and products, actuarial principles and analysis, and insurance risk management. It is designed to reflect the knowledge and skills required for financial examiners in the insurance industry. The specific content and emphasis may vary slightly across different versions of the exam. Candidates should consult official study guides and resources provided by SOFE for accurate and up-to-date information on the test syllabus.

Candidates are advised to allocate sufficient time for comprehensive preparation, including reviewing relevant financial concepts, understanding insurance laws and regulations, studying insurance company operations and products, familiarizing themselves with actuarial principles and risk management techniques, and practicing problem-solving skills related to insurance examination and financial analysis.
Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE)
Financial Accredited test

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Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE)
Answer: A
Question: 270
The options for securities that insurance entities own and can deliver if the options are
exercised by the option buyers are called:
A. concealed transactions
B. covered-call options
C. financial servicing
D. safekeeping
Answer: B
Question: 271
Insurance entities usually write covered-call options because they consider the premium
received for writing the options to be either:
A. an economic hedge between a decline in market price and security
B. a decrease in yield on the underlying risk security
C. Both A & B
D. Neither A nor B
Answer: D
Question: 272
What encompasses investment income and gains and losses, as well as custody of
investment and recordkeeping?
A. Valuation data
B. Verification note
C. Transaction cycle
D. Investment evaluation
Answer: C
Question: 273
The evaluation and subsequent purchase or sale of investments is based on the judgment
of the entitys investment and finance committees.
A. True
B. False
Answer: A
Question: 274
The price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly
transaction between market participants at the measurement date is called:
A. face value
B. fair value
C. market value
D. transaction value
Answer: B
Question: 275
___________ is the price in a hypothetical transaction at the measurement date in the
market in which the reporting entity would transact for the asset or liability
A. Feasible financial price
B. Asset/Liability price
C. Principal price
D. Exchange price
Answer: D
Question: 276
The market in which the reporting entity would sell the asset or transfer the liability with
the greatest volume and level of activity for the asset or liability is known as:
A. Transfer market
B. Transport market
C. Principal market
D. Turn-around market
Answer: C
Question: 277
The highest and best use of the asset is ___________, if the asset would provide
maximum value to market participants principally on the standalone basis.
A. in-exchange
B. in-use
C. in-market
D. in-sale
Answer: A
Question: 278
The risk that the obligation will not be fulfilled and affects the value at which the liability
is transferred is known as:
A. performance risk
B. nonperformance risk
C. hypothetical risk
D. relocation risk
Answer: B
Question: 279
Valuation technique should be used to measure fair value and is consistent with:
A. market, income and risk approach
B. market, performance and cost approach
C. security, income and risk approach
D. market, income and cost approach
Answer: D
Question: 280
What uses valuation techniques to convert future amounts to a single present amount?
A. Risk approach
B. Market approach
C. Income approach
D. Cost approach
Answer: C
Question: 281
The amount that currently would be required to replace the service capacity of an asset is
A. Risk approach
B. Market approach
C. Income approach
D. Cost approach
Answer: D
Question: 282
A change in __________ or its application is appropriate if the change results in a
measurement that is equally or more representative of fair value in the circumstances.
A. Valuation technique
B. Value technique
C. Investment approach
D. Accounting corrections
Answer: A
Question: 283
To avoid double counting or omitting the effects of risks factors what should reflect
assumptions that are consistent with those inherent in the cash flows?
A. Economic flow
B. Nominal flows
C. Discount rates
D. Inflation effect
Answer: C
Question: 284
What technique uses a risk-adjusted discount rate and contractual, promised, or most
likely cash flows?
A. Asset/Liability weighted
B. Fair value
C. Present value
D. Discount rate adjustment
Answer: D
Question: 285
Fair quoted techniques used to measure fair value should maximize the use of observable
inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs.
A. True
B. False
Answer: B
Question: 286
What is made on an instrument-by-instrument basis, generally when an instrument is
initially recognized in the financial statements?
A. Election
B. Disclosure
C. Eligibility
D. Discount
Answer: A
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Financial Accredited test - BingNews Search results Financial Accredited test - BingNews 14 questions to ask when choosing a financial advisor No result found, try new keyword!For example, you might have questions to ask a financial advisor about retirement. If your goal is to have $1 million by age 65, the tracking, reviewing and updating process should include where you ... Tue, 14 Nov 2023 23:04:00 -0600 en text/html What Is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary – and How to Become One No result found, try new keyword!The AIF may complement or build upon an existing credential such as the certified financial planner designation ... The test is an 80 question multiple-choice test composed of 70 scored questions ... Thu, 04 Nov 2021 04:55:00 -0500 CFP test 101: Everything You Need to Know to Pass the CFP Test No result found, try new keyword!That said, becoming a CFP is no cake walk. The certified financial planner test is likely the hardest test you'll ever take, Dorsainvil says. "Think of the hardest test you took in college then ... Thu, 31 Jan 2019 01:13:00 -0600 How to Become an Independent Financial Advisor

An independent financial advisor works with a client.

Becoming an independent financial advisor is something you might consider if you're ready to step out of the traditional model and reshape your career path. Independence has its benefits, though there are some considerations to weigh in determining whether it's the right move for you. If you're interested in how to become an independent financial advisor, there are a few different pathways you might explore.

Ready to grow your advisory business? SmartAdvisor can make connecting with leads easier.

Independent Financial Advisor Models

What it means to be an independent financial advisor is ultimately defined by the advisor. There are several models that financial advisors may choose from when making a move to independence. Here are four common models to consider:

  • Start an RIA firm. The first and most obvious choice when going independent as an advisor is to start a firm of your own. Starting an RIA can supply you complete control and allow you to build a business that reflects your experience, knowledge, goals and values.

  • Work with an existing firm. If you're not quite ready to become fully independent, you may consider joining an established RIA that allows you greater freedom in deciding which clients to work with and how to serve them. You can have a degree of independence without bearing the full burden of running a firm yourself.

  • Consider an RIA aggregator. RIA aggregators can provide independent advisors with the tools and framework they need to serve clients, without having to build a brand-new firm from scratch. You can work independently, with the aggregator’s support behind the scenes.

  • Join an independent broker-dealer. Working with an independent broker-dealer can serve as a precursor to starting your own firm. You might choose this option vs. joining an existing RIA if you follow a commission-based model for pricing services.

In evaluating different options, it's important to consider both your capacity for going independent right now and your long-term vision and goals for doing so. While you may be mentally ready to launch your own firm, for instance, you also need to consider how much time and money you'll have to invest initially to get up and running.

How to Become an Independent Financial Advisor

An independent financial advisor works with clients at their home.

Assuming that independence means starting a firm of your own, there are some specific steps involved in the process. Here's an overview of what you can typically expect when setting up an independent advisory business:

Take the necessary exams. Independent advisors must pass the Series 65 exam administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA). This multiple-choice test is designed to test advisors' knowledge of federal securities law as well as Topics related to investment advice.

You may consider taking the Series 6 or Series 7 exams, which are also administered by FINRA. The Series 6 test tests your competency to run an investment business, while the Series 7 test tests your ability and knowledge to trade securities. Depending on which state you'll do business in, you may also need to obtain Series 63 and Series 66 licenses.

Consider additional certifications or designations. While it's not necessary to obtain additional certifications beyond the exams listed above, you may consider doing so in order to enhance your professional credentials. For instance, you may choose to pursue a designation as a certified financial planner (CFP) or a chartered financial analyst (CFA).

Holding these types of designations could supply you an advantage when trying to attract new clients to your business. Keep in mind that these types of designations may require you to meet continuing education requirements in order to maintain them.

Develop your business plan. Creating a business plan is important as it can serve as a blueprint for building your new advisory firm. A comprehensive business plan encompasses your firm's mission, values and goals, as well as your operational details, financial projections and marketing strategy.

Writing a financial advisor business plan isn't a requirement for starting a new firm. However, taking the time to create a blueprint for starting and growing your business can help you set realistic expectations and build in contingencies for any potential setbacks you may encounter along the way. Having a business plan can also be helpful for planning your budget.

Starting a firm can be costly if you're leasing premises, purchasing office supplies, spending money on advertising and hiring support staff. Keeping your budget as lean as possible in the beginning may be a priority and you can flesh out all the financial details in your business plan. A thorough plan could also make it easier to get approved for business loans or a line of credit if you plan to finance your firm's launch.

Register with federal and/or state agencies. Independent advisors will need to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission or their state regulatory agency before they can begin working with clients. Which one you register with can depend on the amount of assets under management you're responsible for.

Here are the guidelines, as established under the Dodd-Frank Act:

  • Firms with less than $25 million in AUM cannot register with the SEC if their principal business is located in a state that regulates advisors.

  • Advisors with $25 million to $100 million in AUM are only required to register with the SEC if their principal place of business is located in New York or Wyoming.

  • Firms with $100 million in AUM may choose to register with the SEC but they also have the option of registering with their state agency.

  • Once a firm's AUM reaches $110 million, SEC registration is required unless the firm is eligible for an exemption.

Assuming that you'll register with the SEC, you'll need to complete Form ADV to do so. This form collects information about your firm, including the type of clients you serve, the amount of assets you manage and your overall investment strategy. Form ADV can be submitted online through the Investment Advisor Registration Depository (IARD).

If you're registering with the state instead, you'll need to contact the applicable regulatory agency to find out what paperwork you'll need to file.

Choose a custodian. RIAs are required to work with a custodian in order to be compliant with federal regulatory guidelines. An RIA custodian maintains client assets on behalf of a registered advisor. You may need to do some research to find the right custodian to work with.

In doing so, it's helpful to consider things like the support services a custodian offers, what type of tech tools they employ in managing client assets and how much they charge for their services.

Tips for Building an Independent Advisory Firm

Once you're registered you can begin working on building your business. Establishing your client base is central to that task.

If you're leaving an existing firm to start your own business, you'll need to verify whether you'll be able to take your current clients with you. While some firms are willing to allow advisors to retain their client list when leaving, others may not. So, it's important to know what client information, if any, you'll be allowed to keep when setting up your own firm.

You'll also need to think about how you plan to market your business to attract new clients. If you've chosen a specific niche that you'd like to serve, that can make it easier to tailor your marketing tactics to attract the right clients. Your marketing plan may encompass:

When marketing your firm, it's important to emphasize your credibility and authority. Some of the ways that you can do that while increasing your firm's media exposure include being a guest on financial podcasts, writing articles for online financial publications and offering to share your knowledge as an expert source for articles on authority websites.

If you're having trouble attracting new clients, you may consider using an online lead generation tool to connect with prospects. SmartAdvisor, for instance, can help bring qualified leads to you, leaving you free to focus on other aspects of growing your business.

Bottom Line

Clients meeting with an independent financial advisor to review different options for their financial plan.

There's quite a bit that's involved in how to become an independent financial advisor and it's important to evaluate the pros and cons of doing so to decide if it's right for you. Should you decide to move ahead with going independent, proper planning can ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible.

Tips for Growing Your Advisory Business

  • Struggling to get found in online search engines? Having a strong digital footprint can be invaluable when building a new advisory business, as more investors use online searches to find financial professionals to work with. Using an online lead generation tool like SmartAdvisor can help to boost your brand visibility and make connecting with prospects easier.

  • Meeting compliance requirements is an important part of running your business and failing to do so could have serious consequences. There are a number of federal guidelines RIAs are expected to meet and new rules are introduced periodically. Hiring a compliance officer to manage things like reporting and recordkeeping can be a smart investment if you don't have one on staff already.

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The post How to Become an Independent Financial Advisor appeared first on SmartReads by SmartAsset.

Tue, 14 Nov 2023 03:02:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Certified Financial Planning

The certificate is composed of 18 credits of masters-level graduate coursework with the primary goal of providing students with the education, training and skills necessary to be able to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) examination. 

The curriculum is aligned with the CFP® Board’s Principal Knowledge Topics and covers principles and practices of essential areas of financial planning, including:

  • Wealth Management
  • Investment Management
  • Tax Planning
  • Estate Planning
  • Insurance and Retirement Planning

CFP students enjoy the opportunity to work with clients at the Low-Income Tax Clinic for graduate credit and CFP test experience.

Have Questions?
For more information about the CFP Graduate Certificate, including tuition and fee information, please email Justine Tydings, our Sr. Recruiting Coordinator. 

The UW College of Business and the certified Financial Planning certificate program are nationally accredited by AACSB.

AACSB logo

Students must take the following required courses to receive their certificate*:

  • FIN 5070: Tax Planning for Financial Planners (3)
  • FIN 5310: Investment Management (3)
  • FIN 5720: Retirement/Insurance Planning (3)
  • FIN 5750: Fundamentals of Financial Planning (3)
  • FIN 5780: Estate Planning (3)
  • FIN 5800: CFP Capstone (3)

View the full online certified financial planning certificate degree program curriculum.

*Accelerated path candidates — candidates who bypass the other education requirements — are only required to take FIN 5800: CFP Capstone.

As a CFP® professional, you can assist with developing and executing financial strategies for your clients. You will help others create financial goals based on existing financial conditions and risk tolerance. CFP®s can offer guidance on managing debt, picking investments, preparing for retirement and setting aside money for both short- and long-term goals.

Certified Financial Planner Careers

Here are just a few places our University of Wyoming alumni are making a difference with a certified Financial Planning certificate:

  • University of Wyoming Foundation
  • Wyoming Retirement System
  • Wells Fargo Advisors
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Raymond James
  • Creative Planning
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Golden Tree Asset Management
  • Frontier Asset Management
  • Hiltop Bank
  • Edward Jones
Two people shaking hands in office
mountain logo

Financial Planning Certificate Program Highlights

In 2021, the University of Wyoming's certified financial planning certificate program had a 100% pass rate on the CFP exam.

100% Online

Due to the entirely online nature of our curriculum, you can continue working according to your usual schedule. We want this program to benefit a wide range of people, whether you're pursuing another graduate degree or acquiring your Financial Planning certificate as a non-degree-seeking student. Developing your career doesn't have to make your daily life more difficult or demanding.

Exceptional Faculty

The CFP Certificate program was the best decision I made in my graduate education. I had no idea how valuable this program would be not only for my personal life, but also my career development. The faculty were highly qualified and always available to help explain concepts and mentor me throughout the program.


bioAffinity Technologies, Inc.

Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets

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December 31, 2022



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Preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share; 20,000,000 shares authorized; no shares issued or outstanding at September 30, 2023, and December 31, 2022

Common stock, par value $0.007 per share; 25,000,000 shares authorized (increase from 14,285,714 approved by shareholder vote on June 6, 2023); 9,216,883 issued and outstanding at September 30, 2023; and 8,381,324 shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2022



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bioAffinity Technologies, Inc.

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bioAffinity Technologies
Julie Anne Overton
Director of Communications

Investor Relations
Dave Gentry
RedChip Companies Inc.
1-800-RED-CHIP (733-2447) or 407-491-4498

Tue, 14 Nov 2023 07:01:00 -0600 en-US text/html

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