Written by: RIA in a Box One common question that often arises with individuals looking to establish an RIA firm is what is the required examination that I will need to pass ?The required Investment Adviser Representative (IAR) exam is the Series 65 , which is the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination. In lieu of the Series 65 an individual who currently holds a qualifying professional designations in current and good standing can request a waiver of the required exam. In addition, if an individual has also held a combination of the Series 7 and Series 66 licenses within the last 24 months, he or she can also generally qualify as anIAR without taking the Series 65 exam.The five professional designations that generally allow an prospective investment adviser representative to receive a Series 65 exam waiver are: Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®):A designation awarded by the CFA institute after individuals have passed three complex examinations commonly known as Level I, Level II, and Level III focused on investment analysis and portfolio management skills. There are also required education and work experience qualifications. The CFA® designation is a highly regarded measure for investment professionals and CFA® charter holders have one of the highest degrees of portfolio and investment analysis expertise. Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®):The ChFC® is an advanced financial planning program administered through the American College of Financial Services . The curriculum consists of nine or more collegiate-level courses focused on various topics of financial planning. The charter holder gains a multitude of knowledge in various financial planning disciplines ranging from taxation issues, savings, financial management and retirement planning. The completion of certain parts of the ChFC® course work can work towards meeting the necessary requirements of eligibility to take the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) exam. Certified Financial Planner (CFP®):The CFP® certification is thought of as the pinnacle one can achieve in the financial planning profession and is administered by the CFP Board . An individual who has obtained the CFP® certification has completed extensive training and has a wide array of expert knowledge related to the various elements of financial planning. The CFP Board requires an individual to pass qualifying examinations covering over 100 topics and members must adhere to a high level of Standards of Professional Conduct. Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC): The Chartered Investment Counselor program was established in 1975 by the Investment Adviser Association (IAA) in order to exemplify and provide greater recognition upon individuals in the investment management profession. There are several prerequisites including that candidates hold the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation, are employed in an occupational role by an IAA member firm at the time the designation is awarded, provide references demonstrating strong character and document five cumulative year’s work experience in one or more eligible occupational positions. Personal Financial Specialist (PFS):The personal financial specialist is a professional designation only held by valid certified public accountants (CPA) licensees. The designation exhibits credibility and is an indication of an individual’s expertise in financial planning. The (PFS) designation is issued by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The CPA/PFS designation demonstrates an individual has uniform knowledge of both complex tax issues as well as in a variety of components of financial planning .