What Is the New IAR CE and Why Do We Need It?

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In my 40 years as a securities training educator, I have seen varying levels of success among advisors when it comes to understanding the regulatory and legal requirements for their jobs. The consequences of not knowing or understanding those rules and risks can be severe for advisors and devastating for their clients. The new Investment Advisor Rep (IAR) continuing education (CE) requirement isn’t just more training required by regulators; it’s an opportunity for advisors to start or continue on the right path with clients.

In 2020, the amount of assets under management by advisors totaled $110 trillion. Whose money is this? Well, much of it sits in the retirement savings of millions of Americans. Before this new IAR CE requirement, investment advisor reps had no imperative to maintain education on compliance, ethics, legislation or any other topics related to their job performance. If an IAR is registered in other capacities or has a professional designation (e.g., CFP), they may have CE related to those aspects of their job. But it’s not targeted to their investment advisory business. Anyone in the wealth management space who charges fees based on assets managed is only now required to take courses to stay up-to-date on the rules, regulations, and product suitability related to their work.