Quick quiz: Name the two products about which financial advisors field the most unsolicited inquiries from investors. Hint: One requires an insurance license to sell and the other, a securities license.
The products that prompt the most unsolicited inquiries, as reported by the Boston research firm Cerulli Associates in a 2013 study, are annuities, which require at least a state life insurance license (and in the case of variable annuities, a Series 6 securities license) to sell, and Roth IRAs, for which salespeople must have at least a Series 6 license.
As with Caligiuri and Vazirani, Schlossberg started as an advisor with only insurance licenses, but eventually realized having just those wasn’t going to be enough to meet the demands of his clients, and to fulfill his vision of building a multifaceted financial/retirement/estate planning practice with investment management expertise. “I had clients whom I’d built relationships with, business owners who trusted me, and when they started asking me questions related to their 401(k)s, I told them, ‘Let me see what it takes to get the licenses I need to help you with your investments,’ ” he recounts. “I promptly went through the process to get my securities licenses. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the securities side.”
The owner of Series 6, Series 7, Series 63 and Series 66 licenses (the first two administered by FINRA, the latter two by the North American Securities Administrators Association), along with state insurance licenses for life/health, long-term care, property/casualty and variable products, Schlossberg has built a holistic-leaning planning practice with about 110 clients, close to half of which own some type of life insurance product, he estimates.
For a securities-focused advisor, the ability to review client insurance portfolios is valuable—to the client, and potentially, to the advisor, as a competitive differentiator and a gateway to discuss commissioned products such as life insurance and fixed annuities.
Having dual licenses also protects advisors should new policies change the regulatory status of a bread-and-butter product, such as a fixed-indexed annuity, which someday could be deemed a security and thus require a securities license to sell, notes Vazirani.