November 3, 2023

Investment Advisor Representative Continuing Education


Investment Advisor Representative Continuing Education 

Investment Advisor Representatives (IARs) have their hands full at year end with such items as required minimum distributions, end of year tax loss harvesting, client gifting, annual meetings, and the list goes on! A requirement, introduced in 2020, has added a yearly addition to certain IARs via the NASAA Model Rule on Investment Adviser Representative Continuing Education. Continuing education (CE) is required for every IAR registered in a jurisdiction that adopts the Model Rule. The program applies to all registered IARs of both state-registered and federal covered investment advisers in adopted jurisdictions.

IARs are free to select an approved course provider, along with applicable classes that interest them or align to their business model, so long as the IAR obtains 12 CE credits each year - 6 credits of Products and Practices and 6 credits of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
IARs have an annual deadline to complete their CE requirement. Should they not complete their CE by December 31st the IAR will pay the registration renewal fee and become “CE Inactive”. This status will allow the IAR to continue doing business, but should the IAR not complete the CE requirement by end of year the IAR will be unable to renew his or her registration and become a status of “Fail to Renew”. If you are CE Inactive, courses completed in the current year will apply to the past year’s deficiency – so you will want to work with your provider and Firm to ensure you are covering prior/current year requirements. IARs should be aware of particular nuances to the Model Rule and CE requirements, which can be reviewed on both the NASAA FAQ and also the Program Handbook:

Newly Registered IARs: Newly registered IARs will be required to meet CE requirements by the end of their first full calendar year following the year in which they first become registered.

IAR Multi-State Registration: An IAR is responsible for the requirements of each state they are registered in during that year, whether it is a home state or additional state, whether they add the in-scope state registration halfway through the year, or whether they withdraw from an in-scope state during the year – requirements apply. For additional considerations regarding in-scope/out-of-scope states, we urge IARs to review the NASAA FAQ for scenario examples, or reach out to state regulators.

Professional Designations: Although there are no exemptions to CE requirements, it would be prudent to work with a provider who can assist IARs in taking classes that cover the requirements for their professional designations and count toward state CE requirements as well.

Dually Registered IARs: Currently, FINRA CE content meets NASAA eligibility to count toward the six credits of Products and Practices credit hours. Dually registered IARs should work with their BD Firm to determine if additional training, such as Annual Firm Element classes, are approved to count toward their completion requirements for IAR CE.

When an IAR completes courses, the vendor/provider reports course completion to FINRA, NASAA’s vendor for program tracking. The responsibility of tracking the vendor/provider’s submission falls on the IAR and regulators urge IARs to open a FinPro account for CE tracking purposes. Advisors can also pull CE reporting through FINRA Gateway to monitor IAR annual completions.

As additional states adopt the Model Rule, CCO’s and other compliance professionals can review the NASAA Investment Advisor Representative Continuing Education training webinar for additional information, or reach out to their AdvisorAssist consultant.


Post a Comment