Regulation of Financial Advisors and Investment Advisers

Regulation of financial planners and investment advisors -- Introduction

In a series of articles, The Skilled Investor provides information on how financial planners and investment advisors are regulated and certified. These articles also provide information to help you find online background information about advisors.

On-line information about registered securities broker-dealers and investment advisory firms

Brokers and investment advisors are required to register either with the states or with the SEC. This article focuses on how to find online information about these registrations.

Finding state regulators of securities brokers, investment advisors, insurance agents, and insurance brokers

Each state may have one or more government organizations that regulate “advisors” who offer securities, insurance, and other services. The various states differ in how their regulatory functions are organized. Some have centralized agencies and some have multiple agencies that split regulatory responsibilities.

On-line information explaining the licenses of financial planners, investment advisors, and insurance representatives

This article indicates where to find online information explaining the licenses of investment advisors, brokers, and insurance brokers / agents.

Checking the backgrounds of individual securities brokers and advisors who sell investments

Concerning the backgrounds of individual securities brokers and advisors who sell investment products, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (NASD) offers assistance in checking their backgrounds.

Private certifications of financial planners and investment advisors

Private organizations grant and oversee the certifications or designations that financial planners and investment advisors hold. For an advisor to hold any of these designations is a matter of choice.

Widely recognized financial planner and investment advisor certifications

This article provides information on seven of the more widely held advisor designations granted by private certification organizations. They are Accredited Estate Planner – AEP, Certified Financial Planner – CFP, Chartered Financial Analyst – CFA, Chartered Investment Counselor – CIC, Chartered Financial Consultant – ChFC, Chartered Life Underwriter – CLU, and Personal Financial Specialist – PFS

On-line information about commodities brokers and futures brokers

Commodities and futures brokers and their firms can be checked through the on-line system of the National Futures Association.

Governmental and self-regulation of the securities industry

Regarding regulation of financial planners and investment advisors, the picture can sometimes be confusing. While various state and federal government entities can enforce laws, these agencies usually are not be involved in the direct management and regulation of market brokers and other financial or investment advisors.