All-Channel Trend Report
Part 4: Advisor Professional Designations Held or Being Pursued

Part 4: Advisor Professional Designations Held or Being Pursued

Section 2: Practice Management and Operations

Series 7, Series 63, and state insurance licenses are the three designations most widely held across the W/R and IBD advisor populations. While these are also common designations for advisors in the RIA channel, they are not as dominant. Indeed, 58% of RIAs report holding the Series 65 license and 34% report holding the Certified Financial Planner designation, both of which are better aligned with the business approach of the RIA channel. RIAs are also the only cohort with a double-digit percentage of advisors holding the CFA designation, with 10% indicating they hold it versus only 2% of advisors in the other channels. RIAs also had the highest incidence of MBAs, consistent with the high overall correlation of the CFA charter and MBA degree. This appears to come at the expense of advisors having or pursuing the Series 7 and 63 licenses, as the RIA segment lags the industry at large in both of these categories, due at least partially to their skew toward fee-only business. 

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