FIRE Course Catalog

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MSRB: Fair Dealings and Sales Practices

Course Code: CE_MSRB_FDSP


Although this course provides an introductory level of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board's (MSRB) fair practices rules, it presumes that the reader has a general understanding of basic industry terms and trading concepts. Generally, MSRB sales practice rules apply to brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers and their associated persons. This course is well-suited for registered representatives, municipal securities sales representatives, municipal finance professionals (MFPs), and their supervisors.

Course Description

MSRB: Fair Dealing and Sales Practices provides an overview of municipal securities and who deals in them. We look at the rules and regulations that affect municipal securities transactions, as well as some of the sales practices that should be followed. We discuss the limits on gifts, entertainment, and non-cash compensation, as well as limits on political contributions. Finally, we delve in to the different disclosures that issuers, brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers must provide to the regulators, the public, and clients.

MSRB: Political Contributions and "Pay-to-Play" Practices

Course Code: CE_MSRBR_PC


This course provides an intermediate understanding of the compliance and reporting requirements of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board's (MSRB) political contributions rules. The individuals who benefit most from this course are those who already have a basic understanding of municipal securities.

Course Description

As a general guideline, political contribution requirements apply to brokers, dealers, municipal securities dealers, municipal finance professionals (MFPs), and political action committees (PACs) controlled by the dealer or any municipal finance professional. In addition, the record keeping and disclosure provisions apply to non-MFP executive officers of the dealer.

MSRB: Political Contributions: "Pay-to-Play" Practices provides an overview of the political contribution rules that can prohibit a firm from conducting underwriting activities with municipalities. Upon completion of this course, the student will understand the primary purpose and prohibitions of MSRB Rule G-37, and how it impacts the municipal underwriting process.

Mutual Fund Basics

Course Code: CE_MFB


Mutual Fund Basics is directed to registered representatives, investment adviser representatives, and their supervisors. This course is appropriate for both new and experienced representatives involved in mutual fund transactions.

Course Description

Because mutual funds are complex investments, they have many facets that should be explored before financial services professionals recommend them to their clients. Mutual Fund Basics looks at some of the different aspects of mutual funds - sales requirements, management, share classes, and types of funds. Additionally, the course explores some of the rules and guidelines that are enforced by the regulators, and reminds students to research the specific policies of each fund family. After taking this course, students should have a solid understanding of mutual funds and the tools that are available to help match clients with a suitable mutual fund.

Mutual Fund Classes, Breakpoints, and Switches

Course Code: CE_MFCBS


Mutual Fund Classes, Breakpoints, and Switches is an introductory level course intended for registered representatives. Seasoned representatives and supervisors may also find this course beneficial as a refresher.

Course Description

Mutual Fund Classes, Breakpoints, and Switches describes mutual fund share classes, how they differ from one another, and the fees and expenses associated with each so you can better determine the share class that is appropriate for your client.

Lesson 2 defines breakpoints and lists ways in which investors may qualify for breakpoints. We also look at the regulators' concerns regarding sales breakpoints and the findings and results of a marketwide investigation in 2002. Lesson 2 ends with a detailed discussion of breakpoint sales, which is a violation of industry rules.

The final lesson defines switches and exchanges, and the impact of each on investors. Finally, we look at some real-life case studies involving switching, and the consequences of unsuitable and unauthorized switching.

Mutual Fund Recommendation Analysis

Course Code: CE_MFRA


Mutual Fund Recommendation Analysis is intended for registered representatives who deal in mutual funds. Registered reps who do not have experience with mutual funds will be introduced to concepts and strategies for the first time, and those who have been working with mutual funds for years will be reminded of their duties and responsibilities when recommending mutual funds.

Course Description

Mutual Fund Recommendation Analysis describes the fundamentals for analyzing mutual funds and how to match a client's objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizons with an appropriate mutual fund. The course discusses how to manage a client's expectations, and introduces various tools and industry terms used in analyzing the funds under consideration.

Mutual Fund Risk and Performance Concepts

Course Code: CE_MFRPC


Mutual Fund Risk and Performance Concepts is an intermediate to advanced-level course for Series 6 and Series 7 registered representatives who understand the basics of mutual funds.

Course Description

Mutual Fund Risk and Performance Concepts looks at the risks associated with investing and how they relate to mutual funds. The course also provides an overview of the sales charges and expense ratios associated with the different share classes of funds and how they affect the performance of the fund. In Lesson 3, five of the commonly accepted indicators of risk and performance that can be used when analyzing mutual funds are explored.

Mutual Fund Supervision

Course Code: CE_MFSUP


Mutual Fund Supervision is an intermediate-to advanced-level course directed to Series 26, Series 24, and Series 9/10 registered principals who supervise representatives dealing in mutual funds. It is important for supervisors to understand how the fundamentals of fair dealing may be abused and how rules may be violated. The course presumes the student has a thorough understanding of mutual fund basics, including mutual fund suitability, breakpoints, share classes, and exchanges. This course is also appropriate for investment adviser supervisors as well as hedge fund managers.

Course Description

Mutual Fund Supervision explains the nuances of supervising mutual fund transactions and the various ways rules are violated. It also explains the actions you can take in response to discovering a violation or innocent oversight of the rules. This course describes the disclosures to be made when recommending a switch from one mutual fund to another and the importance of documenting the justifications for doing so. Also highlighted are the different share classes and the importance of discussing each with clients. The controversies surrounding late and frequent trading are discussed, and how these actions are detrimental to other investors. Finally, the course provides several valuable tools supervisors can use as references when reviewing and approving mutual fund transactions, including:

  • A review and approval checklist
  • A list of red-flag activities that indicate further explanation is needed from the representative
  • A mutual fund suitability characteristics chart

New Products

Course Code: CE_NP


New Products is a basic level course designed for all types of registered representatives, investment advisors, institutional representatives, certified financial planners, and supervisors. It is appropriate for other financial service industry professionals interested in developing new products and regulatory issues related to selling non-conventional investments.

Course Description

In an ever-changing economic environment, representatives continue to seek new ways of providing higher returns and lower risks. Many times that search leads to new products or non-conventional investments. This course outlines the regulatory expectations for approving, selling, and supervising these products; it also describes how to determine what a "new product" is, and provides specific definitions to many popular non-conventional investments. Finally, students learn the suitability factors specific to non-conventional investments.

With this knowledge, you can describe the review and approval process and list various questions that need answers during the due diligence phase.

Opening New Accounts

Course Code: CE_ONA


Opening New Accounts is intended for retail representatives, institutional representatives, investment advisers, and other financial service industry professionals interested in learning the basic requirements for opening a new account.

Course Description

Opening New Accounts is a basic level course and covers the essentials of gathering required information, making required disclosures, delivery of required notices, and adherence to books and records requirements. This course provides the student with the ability to describe the characteristics of various types of accounts and assign the proper designations.

Additionally, the procedures for processing and validating accounts transferred into your firm are explained. The course concludes with interactive exercises to instill the practical application of the lessons learned.

Operations Supervision

Course Code: CE_OS


Operations Supervision is relevant for operations supervisors and principals involved in monitoring firm back-office activities. This course is also appropriate for both new and experienced registered representatives interested in the processing of account transfers and other back-office activities.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of regulations involving the operation of a brokerage firm and a supervisor's role in monitoring and evaluating back-office activities. The course reviews detailed aspects of clearing agreements, selling agreements, and ACATS transfers. Finally, it explores FINRA and SEC record-keeping requirements.

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