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How to become an RIA in West Virginia

How to become an RIA in West Virginia

Starting an RIA in West Virginia requires advisors to follow specific requirements and guidelines. This article will cover what those are. 

In the state of West Virginia, advisors who meet the following criteria must register their RIA with the state:

  • Advisor solicits their services in West Virginia
  • Advisor manages less than $100 million in AUM
  • Manages more than five state residents
  • The RIA is located in West Virginia

To ensure the proper setup of your RIA, consider hiring a compliance consultant to help you. 

West Virginia requires that advisors have one of the following professional designations: Series 65, Series 7 & 66, CFP, CFA, CIC, ChFC, or PFS.  

In addition to paying all the registration and filing fees, IARs must complete the following tasks and submissions in West Virginia:

  • Submit FINRA Entitlement Paperwork

    West Virginia requires you to sign up for an account to FINRA’s Web CRD/IARD online system to submit your RIA application. While FINRA doesn’t supervise or regulate RIAs, West Virginia uses its system to process applications. 
  • Form ADV Part 1 (online only)

    In Form ADV Part 1, the firms will disclose information about ownership, clients, business practices, disciplinary events related to the advisor or its employees, and any affiliations. Since this is also the online portion of the application, it’s used to upload ADV Part 2A and ADV Part 2B.
  • Form ADV Part 2A (paper and online)

    In this section, the firm will describe the RIA’s fees, services, disciplinary disclosures, and other information related to the firm. Form ADV Part 2A also acts as the Firm’s Disclosure Brochure, and the state requires it be given to prospective and current clients. It’s mandatory it be written in plain, simple English that’s easy to understand by prospects and clients.
  • Form ADV Part 2B (paper and online)

    Form ADV Part 2B is a brochure about the advisor and will have information about their education, employment history, potential conflicts of interest, and any disciplinary actions. It’s also required that any Executive Officers or representatives that advise clients complete this form. The firm is required to write this in easy-to-understand English for prospects and clients. 

    If sponsoring a wrap fee program, Appendix 1 is also required.
  • Form U4

    This form will be used to register the firm’s Investment Advisor Representative (IARs).

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If you’re seeking approval as a state RIA for the first time, you will need to complete the following:

  • SAA Creation & FINRA Entitlement
  • IARD/CRD Access & Authentication
  • E-billing establishment & processing

The state of West Virginia may also require the following:

  • Client Advisory Contract

    West Virginia has set regulatory standards for client advisory, and RIAs must meet them. This filing ensures that.
  • Policies and Procedures Manual 

    The firm uses this manual to maintain and uphold internal processes and procedures. The manual will contain information about how the RIA trains new IARs to how it handles clients’ complaints. It must also include information about Business Continuity Plans, Anti-Money Laundering, Information Security, and Anti-Insider Trading Plans.
  • Privacy Policy Statement

    Every RIAs Privacy Policy Statement will be unique to the firm but must meet the state’s compliance requirements. This document must explicitly state how the RIA handles, stores, and discloses client information. Clients must receive this from the firm at the start of the working relationship and every year after that. 
  • Code of Ethics

    This filing ensures RIAs are meeting West Virginia’s specific fiduciary standards.  

Starting an RIA doesn’t have to be overwhelming with the right resources, such as our comprehensive RIA launch kit.

At Altruist, we strive to make independent financial advice better, more accessible, and more affordable. Our platform gives back precious time and capital to RIAs, so you can focus on what matters most: your clients and business.

On one intuitive, integrated platform, advisors can open and fund accounts, trade and rebalance, report, and bill, at a fraction of today’s edging-ever-higher technology costs. 

Our dedicated customer support team is here to help advisors that are planning to make the leap from their wirehouse. Our team will help ensure a smooth transition with exceptional ongoing service.

To see how we’re helping RIAs streamline operations, reduce overhead, and elevate the client experience, book a call with one of our transitional specialists now.

*Altruist and its affiliates do not provide legal advice, so it’s important to check with a qualified professional for each state’s registration requirements.

Step-by-step advice on forming your RIA
Altruist’s COO guides you toward a successful RIA launch.


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