Investment Adviser Representative Continuing Education
On October 10, 2023, North Dakota Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler signed an Order setting forth continuing education (CE) requirements for investment adviser representatives (IARs). Pursuant to the Commissioner’s authority under 10-04-03(2), the Order implements the continuing education requirements set forth in statute under 10-04-10(5). IARs must take and report CE credits beginning in 2024.
This continuing education requirement represents the culmination of years of work by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), its members (state securities regulators), and industry to develop a relevant and responsive IAR continuing education program. This CE program will promote heightened regulatory compliance while also helping investment adviser representatives better serve their clients by remaining knowledgeable of current regulatory requirements and best practices.
IAR CE Requirements
Each IAR will need to complete 12 CE credits each year to maintain their IAR registration. The 12 credits must include six credits of Products and Practices and six credits of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. The mandatory CE program will apply to all registered IARs of both state-registered and federal covered investment advisers. IARs will self-manage selecting and completing courses, which will enable them to tailor their CE to their interests and business models. Courses are offered by NASAA approved course providers, which can be found on NASAA's website.
Financial Professional Gateway (FinPro)
FINRA’s Financial Professional Gateway (FinPro) provides individuals (current or former representatives) direct access to resources and tools to manage their securities registration information and a platform to monitor their continuing education requirements. FinPro is an important tool for IARs because it provides them with a mechanism to view courses taken and the progress towards completion of their annual CE requirement. Since IARs are responsible for ensuring their CE vendor reports completion of CE, they may find FinPro useful for tracking and monitoring CE.
Features of FinPro:
- Track and monitor CE
- View CRD record
- Schedule an exam
- Review/download last Form U5
An instructional guide to set-up a FinPro account can be accessed on FINRA's website.
Additional information can be found in FinPro's list of frequently asked questions.
IAR CE Frequently Asked Questions
Every IAR registered in North Dakota must comply with IAR CE requirements. The program applies to all registered IARs of both state-registered and federal covered investment advisers.
IARs registered in North Dakota as of January 1, 2024, must begin taking CE courses in 2024, and obtain the required 12 credits by December 31, 2024.
When an individual registers for the first time as an IAR, they will not be subject to the CE requirements until the next calendar year. Similarly, if an IAR is registered only in states without a CE requirement and becomes registered in a CE state for the first time, that IAR will not need to comply with those CE requirements until the next calendar year. For example, if an IAR has not been registered in any states requiring CE and registers in North Dakota during 2024, that IAR will begin complying with the CE rules in 2025. However, IARs who are already registered in an IAR CE state prior to registering in North Dakota must continue to complete their CE credit schedule for that calendar year.
Beginning in 2024, IARs will need to obtain 12 CE credits each year to maintain their IAR registration.
The 12 credits must include:
- six credits of Products and Practices and
- six credits of Ethics and Professional Responsibility
Generally speaking, an IAR cannot receive credit more than once for the same course and must take care to avoid duplicate courses in subsequent years. (An exception to this is a course that is updated and receives a new course number.)
To obtain credit, courses must be approved for the CE program. A list of approved providers can be found on the NASAA website.
An IAR registered in more than one state must comply with the requirements of each state securities regulator. However, an IAR is considered in compliance with North Dakota’s CE requirements as long as both of the following are met:
- The IAR's home state (where the IAR has their principal office and place of business) has adopted IAR CE requirements that are at least as stringent as North Dakota’s; and
- The IAR is in compliance with their home state requirements.
Yes, credits from CE courses taken to maintain professional designations can apply to the IAR CE program so long as the provider and course have been approved through Prometric for IAR CE purposes. Providers will likely promote the fact that certain courses qualify for IAR CE so IARs can look for courses that meet the CE requirements for both IAR CE and their professional designations.
Yes, an IAR who is also a registered broker-dealer agent and who complies with FINRA's CE requirements is considered to be in compliance with the requirement to report six credits of Products and Practices content, so long as the FINRA CE content continues to meet certain baseline criteria as determined by NASAA and payment is made in CRD of a $3 per credit reporting fee.
If an IAR does not complete the CE requirement by the annual deadline, the IAR will pay the registration renewal fee and CRD will set their IAR CE status to "CE Inactive." Current CE status will also appear in the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) and BrokerCheck. The IAR can continue to do business, however, if CE is not completed by the end of the second year, the IAR will be unable to renew their registration and it will be terminated for failing to complete CE.