Sunday, November 11, 2012


I have decided to take the Series 65 exam which is a requisite to becoming a  Registered Investment Advisor.  I am starting this thread because I think it should be interesting to see how someone with no formal business training and no prior experience working in the financial services industry will do. I have a 500 page study guide (Series 65, 5th edition, Kaplan Financial Education) which I will read over the next few months to prepare.  My understanding from a little online research is that it takes about 8 weeks to prepare for the exam. I'm not in a hurry but I would like to be done before golf season starts again, so my goal will be to finish this thing by February.

If any readers of this blog have experience with this exam or advice, feel free to share. I will provide periodic updates on my progress.


  1. I took the Series 3 and 63 a few years back. They were both very easy, about 2-3 weeks of study/practice exams. Is the 65 all you need in your state to manage money? In CA you can actually do it for up to 10 people without having to be licensed so I never took it.

  2. I did a little online research after reading your post and found the info below. Itis not exactly clear because it makes it sound like the exemption is for RIA's already registered in another state, but if I were to start a fund, have a max of 5 clients, and had no office I think I could make an argument that I thought I was exempt.
    I was just going to do this to have things prepared in case I ever did get into the money management business, but since I have no business yet and no clients, I am a little less motivated to take Series 65 if I could start up without it.

    De Minimis Exemption

    If an investment adviser or federal covered adviser is headquartered in another state, it may be able to rely on an exemption from the registration or notice filing requirement if certain conditions are met:

    The adviser has no place of business in the state; and
    In the preceding 12 month period, has had fewer than 6 Wisconsin clients.
    § DFI-Sec 1.02(7)(b), Wis. Adm. Code,defines "branch office" as having the same meaning as the definition of “place of business” in s. 551.102(21), Wis. Stats. If you hold out a particular location as a business location of the adviser, whether by business cards, stationery, yellow page listing, formal media advertisement or notifying clients to contact you at that location or the adviser provides investment advisory services, solicits, meets with, or otherwise communicates with clients from that location, it is considered a place of business. This does not include the main office of the adviser. (See Branch Office section of the Guide for more information.) The adviser must have no regularly promoted location where advisory business is conducted in order to meet the “no place of business” test.

    The adviser may not have had more than 5 clients who were Wisconsin clients in the preceding 12 month period. This is a rolling 12 month period, so advisers need to be sure that during that time, they have not had a total of more than 5 Wisconsin clients. If there were clients who terminated within the last 12 months but counting those clients would bring the total above 5, the de minimis exemption would not be available. The Division counts clients in the same manner as set forth in SEC regulations.

    Investment adviser representatives of an investment adviser or federal covered adviser that is exempt from registration or notice filing based on the above noted de minimis provision are not required to be registered.

    This is a self-executing exemption, meaning that the adviser does not need to provide any notification to the Division that it is relying on the de minimis exemption from registration or notice filing. However, the adviser must be mindful that if it rises above the 5 client ceiling, it must take affirmative action to become registered before engaging that sixth Wisconsin client.