How to become a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) in India

Here are the details that you should be know to become a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) in India,

Before SEBI RIA regulations, anyone could start working as an investment adviser. Therefore to protect the interests of investors, the capital markets regulator SEBI introduced the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Investment Advisers) Regulations, 2013.

These regulations stipulate that investment advisers must register with SEBI. Once you become a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA), you can only receive compensation from the person you provide advice to and can’t receive remuneration from anyone else. This was done to prevent conflicts of interest.

No doubt RIA is the future of investment advisory. If you are interested in becoming a Registered Investment Adviser in India, it’s best to understand the requirements and check your eligibility before applying.

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This post answers the questions that you may have while choosing to become an RIA.

Can I work as an investment adviser without registering with SEBI?

The regulations clearly state that no one can act as or claim to be an investment adviser without obtaining a registration certificate from SEBI. This means that registration is mandatory for investment advisers.

SEBI regulations exempt certain categories of people from registration. This includes those making general comments on financial trends in good faith, insurance agents or brokers advising on insurance products, pension advisers advising on pension products, mutual fund distributors Chartered Accountants and stock brokers.

Who can apply for registration as an RIA in India?

A body corporate, partnership firm or individual can apply to SEBI for registration as an investment adviser.

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What qualifications are needed to become an RIA?

You need to have a professional qualification or a post-graduate degree or a post-graduate diploma in accountancy, banking, business management, capital markets, commerce, economics, finance or insurance or actuarial science from a recognized university or institution.

Or, you need to be a graduate in any discipline with at least five years of experience in activities linked to providing advice about financial products or securities or fund or asset or portfolio management.

Which certifications are required to become an RIA?

  • In addition to the above, you need to have a certification in financial planning or asset or portfolio management or investment advisory services offered by the National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM)
  • NISM- Series-X-A is the Investment Adviser Level-1 Certification Examination
  • NISM- Series- X-B is the Investment Adviser Level-2 Certification Examination

Or certifications like CFP, CWM etc. recognised by NISM from time to time

Also read: Seek Financial advice only from an RIA (Registered Investment adviser)

What are the capital adequacy requirements?    

An individual or partnership firm must have net tangible assets with a value of at least Rs.1 lakh, and a body corporate must have a net worth of at least Rs.25 lakhs.

What is the fee structure?

An individual or partnership firm will have to pay an application fee of Rs.5,000, and a body corporate or limited liability firm will have to pay a fee of Rs.25,000.

On receiving approval from SEBI for grant of a certificate of registration, an individual or partnership will have to pay a registration fee of Rs.10,000, and a body corporate or limited liability firm will have to pay a registration fee of Rs.5 lakhs.

SEBI will grant the certificate of registration as an investment adviser on receipt of the registration fee.

Which documents will I need?

  1. Address proof
  2. Identity proof
  3. Qualification proof, including degrees, NISM certificates or CFP certificate
  4. Experience certificate, if you are a graduate. This includes a mutual fund ARN, an insurance agent’s license, etc
  5. Certificate of net worth issued by a chartered accountant
  6. CIBIL score
  7. Necessary declarations
  8. Income tax returns for the past three years

How do I apply for registration as an RIA in India?

You can complete the entire application process online in 3 stages:

Enter the necessary details and pay the initial registration fee of Rs. 5,000 to access the SEBI Intermediary Portal. Complete the RIA registration form that’s provided on the SEBI Intermediary Portal and upload your documents.

After SEBI approves your application, you need to pay the registration fee of Rs. 10,000.

Also read: 9 Key Habits of Successful Investment Advisors

What are the steps in the application process?

Step 1

Visit the SEBI Intermediary Portal and click on Self Registration. Complete the application form and then click on Proceed.

Step 2

You can make the payment using your debit card or Internet banking. Click on the Online Payment mode and then click on Proceed to Pay.

Step 3

SEBI will send you an acknowledgement by e-mail and inform you that you will receive your login ID and password separately.

Step 4

SEBI will send you the Intermediary Portal login ID and activation link within a few days.

Step 5

You need to submit your application within 14 days of receipt of the e-mail. If you fail to apply within 14 days, your self-registration will expire, and the application fee paid by you will not be refunded.

Details of the application process are provided on the SEBI website. You can also check with the nearest SEBI office about the requirements for registration. Some SEBI offices may ask you to submit your application form physically.

You can physically submit your application at the SEBI Head Office at Mumbai or at the Regional Office or Local Office which is nearest to your place of residence.

SEBI’s 4 Regional Offices are located at Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Ahmedabad, and its 9 Local Offices are located at Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kochi, Lucknow and Patna.

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Disclaimer :

This article should not be construed as investment advice, please consult your Investment Adviser before making any investment decision.

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