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Choosing a Securities Exam

I want to sell many different types of securities products:

Series 7—FINRA General Securities Representative Exam:  A Series 7 registration qualifies you to solicit, purchase, and/or sell all securities products, including corporate and municipal securities, options, direct participation programs, mutual funds, and variable contracts.   


I want to buy and sell mutual fund, closed-end company, and variable contract securities:

Series 6—FINRA Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative Exam:  A Series 6 registration qualifies you to solicit, purchase, and/or sell the securities of companies registered under the Investment Companies Act of 1940, including mutual funds, closed-end companies, and variable contracts. 

Note that you can also sell these products with a Series 7.


I want to sell only corporate stocks and bonds:

Series 62—FINRA Corporate Securities Limited Representative ExamA Series 62 registration qualifies you as a representative for the sale of public offerings and/or private placements of corporate stocks, corporate bonds, rights, warrants, real estate investment trusts, collateralized mortgage obligations, and securities of closed-end companies registered pursuant to the Investment Company Act of 1940, repurchase agreements and certificates of accrual on corporate securities; securities traders; mergers and acquisitions; venture capital; corporate financing; ETFs and hedge funds.


I want to structure and underwrite public debt or equity offerings:

Series 79—FINRA Limited Representative Investment Banking ExamA Series 79 registration qualifies you to advise on or facilitate debt or equity offerings through a private placement or public offering or to advise or facilitate mergers or acquisitions, tender offers, financial restructurings, asset sales, divestitures or other corporate reorganizations or business combination transactions.


I want to facilitate debt or equity offerings through a private placement:

Series 79—FINRA Limited Representative Investment Banking ExamA Series 79 registration qualifies you to advise on or facilitate debt or equity offerings through a private placement or public offering or to advise or facilitate mergers or acquisitions, tender offers, financial restructurings, asset sales, divestitures or other corporate reorganizations or business combination transactions.


I want to advise on mergers and acquisitions or facilitate tender offers:

Series 79—FINRA Limited Representative Investment Banking ExamA Series 79 registration qualifies you to advise on or facilitate debt or equity offerings through a private placement or public offering or to advise or facilitate mergers or acquisitions, tender offers, financial restructurings, asset sales, divestitures or other corporate reorganizations or business combination transactions.


I want to assist in financial restructurings or advise on corporate reorganizations:

Series 79—FINRA Limited Representative Investment Banking ExamA Series 79 registration qualifies you to advise on or facilitate debt or equity offerings through a private placement or public offering or to advise or facilitate mergers or acquisitions, tender offers, financial restructurings, asset sales, divestitures or other corporate reorganizations or business combination transactions.


I want to sell only private placement securities that are part of a primary offering: 

Series 82—FINRA Limited Representative—Private Securities Offerings Qualification ExamA Series 82 registration qualifies you to sell private placement securities as part of a primary offering; it does not allow you to sell public offerings or municipal government securities. 

Note that a Series 7 will also serve this purpose.


I want to work as a supervisor at my firm:

Series 24—FINRA General Principal Qualification Examination:   A Series 24 registration qualifies you to manage or supervise a FINRA member's investment banking or securities business for corporate securities, rights, warrants, closed-end funds, money market funds, REITS, asset-backed securities, (corporate) mortgage-backed securities, mutual funds, variable annuities and variable life insurance, direct participation programs, securities traders, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate financing. However, there are several positions that a Series 24 exam will not qualify you for, including supervising options and municipal securities. As a prerequisite to the Series 24 exam, you must pass the Series 7, 62, 79, or 82 exam. 


I want to work as a supervisor at my firm, which sells only mutual fund and closed-end fund securities:

Series 26—Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Principal ExamA Series 26 registration qualifies you to function as a principal for the solicitation, purchase, and/or sale of redeemable securities of companies registered pursuant to the Investment Company Act of 1940; securities of closed-end companies registered pursuant to the Investment Company Act of 1940 during the period of original distribution only; and variable contracts and insurance premium funding programs and other contracts issued by an insurance company.

Note that a Series 24 will also allow you to supervise sales of these products.


I want to prepare and maintain the books and records for my firm:

Series 27—Financial and Operations Principal Qualification Exam:  A Series 27 registration qualifies you to become a Financial and Operations Principal, often called a FINOP for short. A FINOP is the individual who is responsible for correctly preparing and maintaining the books and records for FINRA member firms.  Members firms who have a net capital requirement of at least $250,000 or municipal dealers who have a net capital requirement of $150,000 must have a FINOP preparing their books and records.  Passing the Series 27 exam demonstrates that you adequately understand how to prepare and maintain the books and records in compliance with securities laws and regulations.

or

Series 28—Introducing Broker-Dealer Financial and Operations Principal Qualification Exam: A Series 28 registration qualifies you to become an Introducing Broker/Dealer Financial and Operations Principal. This is an individual who is responsible for correctly preparing and maintaining the books and records for an introducing broker-dealer. Passing the Series 28 exam demonstrates that you adequately understand how to prepare and maintain the books and records of your firm in compliance with securities laws and regulations. 

Note: A Series 28 registration does not qualify you to be a Financial and Operations Principal for member firms that have a net capital requirement of at least $250,000 or municipal dealers who have a net capital requirement of $150,000.  The books and records for these kinds of firms must be prepared by someone who holds a Series 27.


I work for a broker-dealer and want to perform operations functions related to financial control, securities lending, and trade confirmation:

Series 99—FINRA Operations Professional Exam:  A Series 99 registration qualifies you to perform duties related to operations, including client on-boarding, financial control, stock loan/ securities lending, and trade confirmation and account statements.  Please note that if you have passed any of the Series 6, 7, 24, 27, 28, 51, or 53 exams you already qualify as an operations professional. 


I want to register at the state level as a securities agent:

Series 63—NASAA Uniform Securities Agent State Law ExamA Series 63 registration qualifies you as a securities agent in a specific state.  It covers the principles of state securities regulation, most notably the Uniform Securities Act. 


I want to offer investment advice to clients for a fee:

Series 65—NASAA Uniform Investment Adviser Law ExamA Series 65 registration qualifies you as an investment adviser representative, enabling you to provide investment advice to clients.  A Series 66 license does the same; however, the Series 66 must be taken in conjunction with the Series 7 and is used by securities professionals who wish to be registered as both agents and IARs. 


I want to register as both an investment adviser representative and a securities agent:

Series 66—NASAA Uniform Combined State Law Exam and Series 7—FINRA General Securities Representative ExamIn conjunction with the FINRA Series 7 General Securities Representative license, the NASAA Series 66 registration qualifies you as both a securities agent and an investment advisor representative (IAR). The FINRA Series 7 General Securities Representative exam is a co-requisite to the Series 66, meaning that you must pass both exams (it doesn’t matter which one you take first) in order to apply to register with the state.


I want to provide advice about municipal financial products to (or on behalf of) municipal entities:

Series 50 - Municipal Advisor Representative Qualification ExamA Series 50 registration qualifies you to assist municipalities in issuing securities and offer advice on how those municipalities should invest their proceeds. 

A municipal advisor representative works for a municipal advisor, which is an entity that provides advice to, or on behalf of, municipal entities or an obligated person. The advice is regarding municipal financial products or the issuance of municipal securities, including advice related to the structure, timing and terms of those products or issues. This includes any advice regarding the investment of proceeds from a municipal issuance. Municipal advisors also include anyone who solicits municipal entities to invest in financial products or to issue municipal securities.

I want to sell, trade, or underwrite municipal securities: 

Series 52—MSRB Municipal Securities Representative Qualification Exam: A Series 52 registration qualifies you to sell, trade, and underwrite municipal securities. You may also conduct research and give investment advice on municipal securities and communicate directly or indirectly with non-municipal investors about municipal securities.

The Series 52 registration does not allow the financial professional to sell municipal bond funds, which are mutual funds that invest in municipal securities, unless the professional also has a Series 6 or Series 7.

A Series 52 registration by itself does not allow the financial representative to trade other types of securities, such as corporate stocks or bonds or U.S. government securities. 

I want to oversee the municipal securities activities of a securities firm or bank dealer: 

Series 53—MSRB Municipal Securities Principal Qualification Exam: A Series 53 registration qualifies you to manage, direct, and supervise the underwriting, trade, and buying of municipal securities, as well as:

  • render financial advisory or consultant services to issuers of municipal securities;
  • communicate with customers about any of the above activities;
  • maintain records on the above activities;
  • process, clear, and (in the case of securities firms) hold municipal securities; and
  • train principals and representatives


I want to oversee the municipal fund activities of a broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer.

Series 51—MSRB Municipal Fund Securities Limited Principal Qualification Exam: A Series 51 registration qualifies you to manage, direct, or supervise one or more of the following activities:   

  • underwriting, trading, and selling municipal fund securities, including LGIPs and 529 plans; 
  • rendering of financial advisory or consultant services to issuers of municipal fund securities;  
  • communications with customers about any of the above activities;  
  • maintaining records on the above activities;  
  • processing, clearing, and (in the case of securities firms) safekeeping of municipal fund securities; and training of principals or representatives
The Series 51 exam is shorter than the Series 53 exam (60 questions vs 100) and focused on 529 college savings plans and local government investment pools. These plans are deemed to be municipal securities because they are offered by states.

*Note that a municipal fund is defined as a trust fund held by state or local government entities.

Disclaimer:  The above is based on information provided by FINRA, NASAA, and the MSRB.  It is not meant to replace the guidance of a compliance department, a securities attorney or regulators, and it does do not constitute a guaranteed path for any individual to meet his or her specific securities registration requirements.  Please consult your firm’s compliance department, an attorney, or the appropriate regulators if you have any doubt about which exam or exams will help you to meet your securities registration requirements.







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