Money Guide Evaluating Broker's Titles Great Ideas Collection
For many years, stockbrokers were called Registered Representatives (RRs) or Account Executives (AEs) by their firms. In the late 1980s to early 1990s, the title Financial Consultant (FC) came into vogue.Now, their employers bestow Financial Advisor (FA), Wealth Management Advisor (WMA) and even fancier titles on stockbrokers.

It's all just marketing. Brokers, whatever their firms may call them, all must pass the Series 7 examination administered by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), a self-regulatory body. Those who pass the Series 7 exam become "registered" with the NASD, hence the old title of "Registered Rep." Some brokers also may have a Series 63 license, an extra credential required of certain supervisory personnel.

Credentials with some real meaning include:
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) - Indicates that he (she) has passed a rigorous exam designed for securities analysts.
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) - He (she) has passed a rigorous exam for independent financial planners.
If you have complex trusts or estates, it may be worth looking for a broker with a law degree. Whatever the credentials, however, there are no guarantees of better investment results.

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Topic contents Mark Kolakowski and CliqueFriends, LLC, 2004
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