Checkout your TSA Rep
There are two designations to become a Registered Representative and be licensed to sell financial products. One is designated a Series 6, the other is a Series 7. The Series 6 requires passing a test where one is allowed up to two hours and 15 minutes to obtain a 70% passing grade of 100 multiple choice questions. The Series 7 is a 6 hour exam, and is more thorough. The Series 7 is the exam given for someone to become a full fledged stock broker. The series 6 is more limited in scope, and people with that license cannot sell or advise or even talk about stocks, bonds or options.
One can check out any sales representative by going to FINRA Broker Check When you click this link, you'll be able to enter a reps name, certify that you've read the agreement, and make sure to check on the blue tab at the upper right. This will not tell you where the individual went to school, or their educational background, but it will tell you if they have a Series 6 or a Series 7. They will also give you an employment history. It's interesting how many people were either bartenders or cab drivers or were unemployed before they answered an ad to become a financial sales rep. If one passed the interview which is based primarily on personality and perceived sales ability, one is told to read a study book. Once the book is read, one will take the Series 6 test. By passing a 100 question multiple choice test within two hours, 15 minutes, they are issued a limited brokers license and BAM! ......they suddenly are able to give you advice on your TSA, your IRA, your investment planning, your retirement planning, and what to do with your life savings. Amazing!
In fairness to those who start their career with a Series 6 license but continue with advanced studies or degrees or financial certifications, it demonstrates that they are professional enough to have the background to offer you quality advice. Unfortunately, the majority of TSA reps in Central Florida took only the Series 6 and some salesmanship classes and nothing else. The news media often report about someone who lost their life savings due to bad financial advice. That's unlikely to happen in the TSA market but the difference between poor vs. quality advice can make a difference of several hundred thousand dollars at retirement.
I recently observed a TSA presentation where the salesperson spoke of being married to a teacher and in the business for xx years so (s)he knew what they were talking about. (S)he stated that they never made a sale on the 1st appointment because they only gathered information to prepare a free 90 page financial plan that normally sells for $350. NONSENSE! No one ever paid $350 for 90 pages of boilerplate information consisting of page after page of Social Security projections, FRS projections, DROP projections and compound interest rate charts, all of which are free by making some toll free calls.
This person was unable to answer basic investment questions from the audience but said "We'll figure that out in the financial plan". Sure enough, that person's broker check show's a Series 6 license xx years ago and nothing since. FINRA Broker Check