The North American Securities Administrators Association has issued a proposal to require continuing education for investment advisor representatives.

The group is seeking comments on a proposal to require advisor reps to complete 12 total hours of continuing education annually. Six of those hours will be on products and practices and six on ethics and professional responsibility, according to a notice published by NASAA.

Advisor reps who are also registered as agents of a Finra member broker-dealer and comply with Finra’s CE requirements would be deemed in compliance with the new CE requirements. But that’s if NASAA determines that the completed CE focuses on compliance, regulatory, ethical and sales practices standards and its content derives from state and federal investment advisory statutes, security industry rules and accepted standards and practices.

Furthermore, advisor reps will be considered in compliance with NASAA’s CE requirement if their home state CE requirements are at least as stringent as NASAA’s.

The comment period closes on March 30, according to the notice.

NASAA cites concern about the lack of a continuing education requirement for advisor reps to maintain their licenses or registrations with regulators for prompting its Investment Adviser CE Committee to work with a “leading education and testing vendor” to gather data about a CE program. And the organization says it found “strong support” for such a program based on a survey of NASAA members and industry participants, completed in 2017.

The group then conducted a public industry-focused survey in early 2018 and met with industry and regulatory stakeholders to discuss such a program, receiving strong support for a mandatory investment advisor representative CE program. That survey, which also asked about the importance attributed to topics drawn from the Series 65 and Series 66 tests, will be the basis for building the program, NASAA says.

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