Wednesday, April 13, 2011

If they have a place of business in the state

The Series 65/66 exam asks LOTS of questions on what I call "registration of persons." Does this broker-dealer or that adviser have to register in the state if it deals exclusively with institutional investors? That sort of thing. The exam is typically obsessed with these questions . . . which, to me, seems odd, since every single person taking the test obviously has to register and knows he has to register. Whatever. Let's keep it simple. If the "person," which means agent, broker-dealer, investment adviser, and investment adviser representative, has a place of business in the state, he/they have to register in that state. What does it mean to have a "place of business" in a state? More than you'd probably think. Most candidates assume that we're talking about an "office." And, we are, but that's just one example of a place of business. If the agent or adviser meets with people at a diner in New Jersey, THAT is their place of business. More surprising, simply "holding yourself out as an adviser" in a state means you have a place of business in that state. If you're soliciting clients in Minnesota, you're "holding yourself out as an adviser" in that state and need to register. After you get your 6th client? No, as soon as your start soliciting. Remember, if they have a place of business in the state, they register in the state. Except when they don't--the only exception here is the federal covered adviser. For everybody else, if they have a place of business in the state, they register with the state. For the federal covered adviser things are different. They might have a place of business in Nevada but since they're the adviser to a mutual fund company, they are federal covered. They register with the SEC and provide copies (notice filings) to Nevada. There, nice and simple, just the way the regulators like it.

Effective Tax Rate

Just learned something by looking at the tax returns I'm about to file in a few days: effective tax rate. As we've seen earlier, we use a progressive income tax system, which means that as your income gets bigger (progresses), so does the rate of tax. Maybe on the first $50,000, you pay 15%, then 20% up to $100,000, then 25% up to $150,000. Therefore, if you earned $150,000 of taxable income, what is the "effective rate" that you paid? What you do is figure out the total tax paid and divide that into/compare it to the $150,000 of taxable income. So, how would this work out? You paid 15% on the first $50,000 ($7,500) You paid 20% on the next $50,000 ($10,000) You paid 25% on the next $50,000 ($12,500) In total, you paid $30,000 on $150,000, which is an "effective tax rate" of . . . 20%. The 65/66 exam ask all kinds of far-flung taxation questions, so, just in case, know what the "effective tax rate" means. And, as always, keep moving.