If you are (i) in the business (ii) of giving investment advice (iii) for compensation, you meet the definition of an “investment adviser,” so if you cannot find an exemption from registration as such, you must register as an investment adviser, obtain all the relevant licenses, and comply with all the other requirements of a registered investment adviser ("RIA").
If you meet the above definition and you have less than $100 million in assets under management ($25 million if you are not regulated by your state), you are regulated by the state or states where you either have a place of business or more than 5 clients. If you have over $100 million (or $25 million, as applicable), you must register or look for an exemption at the federal level, not at the state level. If you are regulated by the state(s), the following table is a resource for determining (i) whether there are any exemptions in your state; and (ii) where to find more information.
The states basically fall into one of three categories:
- No Exemptions. If you are an IA, you must register as such;
- ERA-type exemption. While you are “Exempt,” you still must file truncated Form ADV with the state; and
- Exempt. As long as you qualify for the exemption, the exemption is self-executing, which means you don’t need permission and you don’t need to file.
Keep in mind that while I try to keep the information up to date, it may not be. If you find anything that is no longer accurate, please comment below or reach out to me.