FIRE Course Catalog

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"Pay-to-Play" Practices for FINRA Member Firms

Course Code: CE_PPFMF


"Pay-to-Play" Practices for FINRA Member Firms is intended for FINRA member firms and their covered associate who act on behalf of an investment adviser in the distribution or solicitation activities with government entities.

Course Description

"Pay-to-Play" Practices for FINRA Member Firms provides the basic knowledge necessary to prevent violations of federal and state rules that govern the behavior of investment adviser representatives as it relates to influencing government officials. Education and awareness of the rules will reduce the risks of fines and sanctions that have been associated with pay-to-play practices.

This course introduces FINRA Rule 2030, reviews who must comply, and describes what happens during a "time-out" if a triggering contribution is made. The course also describes the allowable de minimis contributions, as well as the due diligence requirement for covered investment pools. Finally, the course discusses the reporting and bookkeeping requirements regarding contributions, as well as a list of best practices, policies, and procedures to help guide your firm in reducing the risk of a "time-out."

401(k) Plans

Course Code: CE_401K


401(k) Plans is an intermediate course intended for retail representatives and investment adviser representatives, as well as any financial service industry professional interested in learning about 401(k) plans as a retirement plan option. The course is designed for representatives who open retirement accounts for retail investors and plan sponsors, and advise them on issues related to retirement savings, as well as those who would like to learn more about this increasingly popular retirement plan option.

Course Description

401(k) Plans gives students a detailed overview of one of the most popular retirement investment vehicles. The course begins with a broad history of retirement planning and ERISA, and introduces the two main types of retirement plans. Lesson 2 discusses 401(k) plans in detail, highlighting contributions, distributions, and withdrawals, as well as eligibility and vesting. Lesson 3 delves into what options are available when a plan participant leaves an employer, and covers rollovers and Roth 401(k)s. The final lesson gives an overview of the Department of Labor's new fiduciary standard and how it will affect 401(k)s.

529 Plans

Course Code: CE_529


This course is intended to provide Series 6 and Series 7 registered representatives and investment adviser representatives with a basic understanding of 529 savings plans. The individuals who would most benefit from this course are those who already understand basic suitability requirements.

Course Description

529 plans can be an important part of any financial plan. This course:

  • Explains 529 plans
  • Dispels common misconceptions regarding 529 plans
  • Reviews the tax advantages and disadvantage of 529 plans
  • Reviews appropriate sales practices

As sales tools, the course provides a suitability checklist for 529 plans, as well as a college savings plan comparison chart that compares the features of various savings vehicles.

Alternative Mutual Funds

Course Code: CE_AMF


This intermediate course is intended for registered representatives, investment adviser representatives, and other investment professionals who are interested in alternative mutual funds.

Course Description

Marketed as sophisticated, actively-managed hedge fund-like strategies, alternative mutual funds are growing in popularity with a market that represents over $300 billion under management as of November 2014. Regulators are concerned that representatives and their clients may not have a full understanding of how these products are affected by various market conditions, or that fund companies are not being properly vetted with a due diligence process.

This course provides a well-rounded look into the world of alternative mutual funds (AMFs). The course begins with a lesson on the differences between AMFs and traditional mutual funds, and AMFs and hedge funds, as well as some of the strategies employed by alternative fund managers. Lesson 2 is an overview of the current regulatory concerns regarding alternative mutual funds. The final lesson delves into the best due diligence and sales practices that should be used when firms and reps are selling AMFs, including suitability and disclosure requirements. Tools to help reps make AMF recommendations are also provided and two case studies are presented to illustrate the importance of following regulatory obligations.

AML - A Historical Review

Course Code: CE_AMLHR


AML - A Historical Review is intended for securities industry professionals interested in recent developments and trends in anti-money laundering activities and efforts, as well as the changing regulatory environment. This course presumes that the reader has a basic understanding of the AML requirements under the Patriot Act.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to give financial services professionals a review of past trends in money laundering schemes. Lesson 1 briefly reviews anti-money laundering basics, while Lessons 2 and 3 look at some of the most recent hot topics in the reporting of suspicious activity, trendy schemes in moving money both abroad and in the U.S., and advisories from FinCEN and FINRA. The course concludes with case studies that highlight the consequences of noncompliance with anti-money laundering rules and regulations.

AML - Compliance and Regulatory Issues 2020

Course Code: CE_AMLCRI20


AML - Compliance and Regulatory Issues 2020 is intended for securities industry professionals interested in the latest changes in the anti-money laundering compliance and regulatory environment. This course presumes that the reader has a basic understanding of the AML requirements under the Patriot Act and the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

Course Description

AML - Compliance and Regulatory Issues 2020 reviews the current trends in AML compliance and how firms can avoid regulatory problems with an appropriately designed compliance program. In addition, the course looks at the latest FinCEN advisories related to AML sanctions.

Finally, the course highlights AML program deficiencies and the SEC and FINRA Exam Findings and Priorities reports. An interactive case scenario is featured to further solidify real-life issues that can challenge AML compliance.

AML Current Issues 2021

Course Code: CE_AMLCI2021


AML - Current Issues 2021 is intended for securities industry professionals interested in the latest developments and trends in anti-money laundering efforts. This course presumes that the reader has a basic understanding of the AML requirements under the Patriot Act.

Course Description

AML - Current Issues 2021 goes beyond the basics of anti-money laundering rules. It reveals the latest schemes used by money launderers and the activities that should serve as red flags, prompting financial services professionals to report the activity to an AML compliance officer, and ultimately to the regulators. In addition, it identifies the latest FATF advisories for the countries that pose the highest risk for money laundering.

AML Policies and Procedures

Course Code: CE_AMLPP


AML Policies and Procedures is directed toward individuals working in financial services firms. Representatives, supervisory principals, operations staff, and administrative staff will find this course informative and descriptive.

Course Description

This course describes anti-money laundering (AML) policies and procedures designed to detect and prevent money laundering using brokerage accounts or investments in securities and insurance products. The course also explains how these AML policies and procedures must be followed and amended as needed to reflect any new rules or regulations. The overall objective of this course is to describe the risk-management policies and procedures that help prevent money laundering or other illegal activities at financial services firms.

AML Red Flags - Retail and Operations

Course Code: CE_AML_RF


AML Red Flags --- Retail and Operations is intended for the retail registered representative who opens customer accounts, verifies customer identity information, executes customer transactions, and identifies and deals with potential AML risks.

The course is also intended for operation specialists who monitors customer information at opening and throughout the customer's transaction history, and who may discover AML risk factors that the registered rep has not realized.

Course Description

AML Red Flags --- Retail and Operations presumes that the reader has a basic understanding of the anti-money laundering requirements under the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (PATRIOT Act) and The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (BSA). The Patriot Act amended the BSA to include financial institutions other than banks, including securities firms. The course details the importance of the "know your customer" rules in the AML context. Additionally, the important sources for identifying customers who may have terrorist ties are discussed as are AML red flags that may appear during the account-opening phase.

This course also focuses on red flags during the life of an account: The nature of the account, after opening, and the nature of transactions in the account. Finally, a review of reporting suspicious activity in compliance with the Patriot Act is covered.

Annuity Living Benefit Riders

Course Code: CE_ALBR


Annuity Living Benefit Riders is an intermediate level course intended for FINRA registered representatives who hold an insurance license in one or more states, and are involved in the sale of fixed and/or variable annuities. This course is most valuable to representatives interested in learning more about guaranteed living benefit riders and other riders associated with annuities.

Course Description

This course on Annuity Living Benefits Riders begins with a review of the basic characteristics of fixed and variable annuities and then describes the evolution in annuities and the dramatic increase in the number of guaranteed living benefit riders.

The course includes examples for each of the major living benefit riders and describes the client for which each of the riders is most suitable. It also includes a review of variable annuity and deferred variable annuity suitability guidelines according to FINRA Rule 2330.
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