How to Start an RIA

by Michelle Hickman ; Updated September 26, 2017
Investment advisors provide asset management services when registered within a certified firm.

High net-worth people and financial institutional investors require registered investment advisers to manage and buy assets on the stock market. An RIA provides business services as an individual operation, part of a corporation or in a partnership in her state or in a different one where she operates. Whether working within a firm or as a single-person operation, an investment adviser must register with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or with her state regulators.

Decide the best place where your firm should be registered. Anticipate the total amount of the assets you plan to manage when your firm becomes approved, the number of states where you will have clients and if you plan to manage a registered investment company's portfolio. Depending on all these factors, you will either have to apply for registration for a U.S. Securities and Exchange exemption, or a simple registration with the state where your firm plans to hold its main business operations.

Take the Series 65 examination or Series 66 examination. You must have passed either exam, or hold a recognized professional designation such as a certified financial planner, to register with state regulators.

File Form ADV Part 1 electronically through the Investment Adviser Registration Depository. You must complete this form for registration.

Complete Form ADV Part 2 along with Schedule F as your disclosure documents to be shown to prospective clients outlining your firm's operations. You will also need to have in place a Written Supervisory Procedure, a Privacy Policy, a Code of Ethics document and a Business Continuity Plan explaining your firm's regulations.

About the Author

Based in southwestern Pennsylvania, Michelle Hickman has written since 2006 on an array of topics including lifestyle, writing instruction and financial services. Her first articles appeared in "The Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Focus Magazine." She holds a certification in computer and information science from Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center.

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