Online synopsis of industry-related Web sites Web sites of interest to brokers, including regulatory organizations, broker/adviser groups, industry trade groups and industry organizations. There are also direct links to firms' press releases and to primary stock exchanges.
Securities Industry Association (SIA)
This is one of the first sites to check out to get industry statistics, plus see what industry issues are hot, such as T+1, decimalization, and industry lobbying efforts. The site also features links to upcoming events, a "best practices" section that suggests correct behavior, and has a number of surveys, publications and lots of minutia on the operations of Wall Street.
Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)
This is the site to hit on for all major rules and regulations affecting the securities industry. And it ain’t bad … for the government. You can comment on proposed rules and read others’ comments. One of the key links is to the EDGAR database of corporate filings for downloads of prospectuses, quarterly and annual reports, proxies, etc. In the enforcement section, read about stuff the bad guys have done.
National Association of Securities Dealers (NASDR)
The site of the National Association of Securities Dealers, which regulates the securities industry and Nasdaq, provides a variety of beneficial links for brokers, including one ("About Your Broker") where you can check to see if you have disclosable disciplinary information. There are links to Enforcement Actions, a Registered Rep Corner, the NASD Manual (bylaws and rules of conduct), and assorted information on how to stay out of trouble.
National Association of Investment Professionas (NAIP)
This is the one group that lobbies for the individual broker and adviser. Check in on its latest efforts, like petitioning the Federal Trade Commission for a review of online trading firms’ advertising. The organization also provides various member services, including an attorney referral program.
North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA)
NASAA is the organization of state regulators. Its site includes a "This Just In" area for information on the latest investment scams, plus other news and information. Have questions about various licensing exams? Check the exam section--NASAA explains requirements and provides study outlines and sample questions.
The American College
The American College is an accredited educational institution for the financial services industry. It provides graduate and professional education, primarily on a self-study basis. Curricula prepares graduates for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), the Registered Health Underwriter (RHU), the Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC) and the Chartered Leadership Fellow (CLF) designations.
Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP)
[formerly the American Society of CLU and ChFC] www.asclu.org
A professional group for insurance professionals as well as planners. Check out the SFSP’s professional interest section for areas such as estate and financial planning and qualified plans. The sections link like-minded professionals via e-mail and discussion groups. A links page hooks you up with a number of IRS sites for tax regulations and forms. SFSP also runs a consumer-referral service.
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA)
This is the professional association of fee-only financial planners. According to NAPFA, "fee-only" planners are compensated solely by fees and do not accept commissions or compensation from any other source but clients. The site features conference schedules, employment opportunities and an assortment of resources such as study groups, links to financial newsletters, publications and federal Government and agency sites (SEC).
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA)
The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), formerly The National Association of Life Underwriters (NALU), is an advocate for financial advisers and insurance agents. The organization encourages legislation to protect policyholders and represents 90,000 financial and insurance advisers through 900 state and local associations in the United States.
Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA)
This is the group of investment consultants specializing in managed money. IMCA offers the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation. The site keeps members in touch with developments in investment strategies, legal and regulatory issues, economic news, and marketing techniques and tools such as books and tapes.
Institute for Certified Investment Management Consultants (ICIMC)
Like IMCA, the ICIMC specializes in investment management consulting and offers the CIMC designation. The site provides conference information, recommends industry-related publications, and articles that can help expand business, offers publications on fiduciary management and marketing, and provides members with an investor referral service.
Financial Planning Association (FPA)
With the IAFP and ICFP being merged into the FPA’s database, the site will have a lot more clout. The FPA is one of the biggest--if not the biggest--financial planning organizations with chapters throughout the U.S. This is the site to lock into for updates on industry and organizational issues. One of the more beneficial sections on the site is the FPA Store, which features topical books for planners.
College for Financial Planning (CFP)
The Certified Financial Planner program is the College's flagship product, according to the association. It provides a "practical and comprehensive" curriculum that fulfills the education requirement for earning the CFP license. The self-study course, which costs $2,195, is an interactive financial planning education program. There are no time restrictions on enrolling into the courses, which feature print materials along with web-based resources. Exams to acquire a CFP designation are taken when you’re ready.
CPF Board of Standards
This is a resource for information about CFP licensees and financial planning professions.
Investment Company Institute
This is the connection to information on mutual funds and mutual fund investing.
Merrill Lynch www.merrilllynch.com
Salomon Smith Barney www.salomonsmithbarney.com
Prudential Securities www.prudentialsecurities.com
Edward Jones www.edwardjones.com
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter www.morganstanley.com
First Union www.firstunion.com
A.G. Edwards www.agedwards.com
Dain Rauscher www.dainrauscher.com
Piper Jaffray www.pipperjaffray.com