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FINRA Membership Process

The Investment Advisor registration process can be a complicated and time consuming process. The applicant must determine if it will be a state registered advisor or registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The registration process for an Investment Advisor generally takes between 45 to 90 days depending on the complexity of the business plan and the jurisdiction where it is filed. Application for registration is made by filing a Form ADV, Forms U-4 for all persons providing investment advice and paying the applicable fees. Individual states may require additional forms for registrations. Once a complete filing is submitted, the SEC has 45 days to declare that applicant's registration effective. Individual states may take longer depending on their individual registration requirements.

The critical elements to submitting a successful investment advisor registration:
  • A complete Form ADV Part I (a description of the advisor's business);
  • A detailed and accurate Form ADV Part II and Schedule F (a written disclosure brochure about the advisor's business practices);
  • A detailed Schedule H for advisors offering wrap fee accounts; and
  • Timely licensing of all persons involved in providing investment advice.

In addition to the registration process, SEC registered advisors and most state advisors must develop a written compliance program and a Code of Ethics. Finally, prior to commencing operation, the advisor must establish all required books and records.

Mainstay’s consultants have many years of direct experience with the advisor registration process. As such, we are uniquely qualified to provide the assistance needed to submit a successful registration application.

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