Time is of the essence for anyone who wants to take the Series 82 exam

Alert! Starting October 1, the number of exam questions for the Series 82 Private Securities Offerings Representative licensing category will increase from 100 questions to 125 questions. Continue reading

Alert! Starting October 1, the number of exam questions for the Series 82 Private Securities Offerings Representative licensing category will increase from 100 questions to 125 questions. That’s because starting October 1, the Series 82 exam, like all FINRA representative level exams, is being divided into two exams: the SIE (75 questions) and the Series 82 “top-off” (50 questions). More work!

But if you don’t want to take 25 additional questions, not to mention take two exams instead of one, then Solomon Exam Prep recommends you take your Series 82 exam pronto, before October 1.

Series 82 students will also be happy to know that Solomon Exam Prep has just updated its Series 82 Video Lecture with updates about Regulation D, Rule 147, and research report rules.  The Solomon Exam Prep Video Lecture is a critical piece of the Solomon Securities Exam Prep system that also includes the Exam Guide, the Audio Guide and the Exam Simulator.

Spring is in the air and there has never been a better time to take the Series 82! 

FINRA releases final SIE outline

FINRA released the final Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam content outline. Continue reading

Today FINRA released the final Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam content outline. The outline is an updated version of the draft that FINRA released as part of an earlier regulatory notice. This final content outline is now available on the FINRA website.

With the release of the SIE content outline, content outlines for the revised representative level (“top-off”) exams — the Series 6, Series 7, Series 22, Series 57 Series 79, Series 82, Series 86/87, and Series 99 — are expected to follow.

While FINRA has proposed a $60 fee for the SIE exam, it has yet to determine a passing score.

The SIE is expected to launch October 1.

For more information about the SIE or other FINRA, NASAA or MSRB securities licensing exams, visit www.solomonexamprep.com or give us a call at 503-601-0212.

FINRA Proposes $60 Fee for Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam

As the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam looms in the distance, FINRA is moving full steam ahead to ready the exam for its October 1 launch. Continue reading

On December 20, 2017, FINRA held its Board of Governors Meeting to discuss rule proposals and the 2018 budget. One rule that was addressed was the fee for the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. FINRA chose a fee of $60 for the exam. This rule change will be filed with the SEC and await approval sometime in the new year.

The $60 fee is considerably less than the $100 fee for the Series 6 and the $305 fee for the Series 7 exam. FINRA’s meeting notes report that the price for other exams will be reevaluated as well, to adhere to the changing securities landscape.

Jeremy Solomon, President of Solomon Exam Prep, responded to the proposed fee:

“This is another indication of how serious FINRA and the industry is about making the SIE exam as user-friendly and available as possible. Kudos to FINRA.”

For more information about the SIE or other FINRA, NASAA or MSRB securities licensing exams, visit www.solomonexamprep.com or give us a call at 503-601-0212.

Solomon Exam Prep launches first training program for FINRA’s new Securities Industry Essentials Exam

FINRA is giving the securities industry a facelift. In an effort to reduce redundant exams and to attract more people to the industry, FINRA has ordered a nip and tuck of its licensing exams. Continue reading

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FINRA is giving the securities industry a facelift. In an effort to reduce redundant exams and to attract more people to the industry, FINRA has ordered a nip and tuck of its licensing exams. Starting October 1, 2018 FINRA’s makeover will come most obviously in the form of the new Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. The 75-question SIE will test basic securities industry knowledge including products, the structure and function of the securities industry, the regulatory agencies and their functions, and regulated and prohibited practices.

FINRA’s facelift isn’t just skin deep. It’s a complete overhaul of the current representative exam structure. After slicing back layers of the old system to make room for the new SIE exam, FINRA determined that it needed to eliminate seven of the 16 representative level registration categories. The remaining nine representative exams – Series 6, Series 7, Series 22, Series 57, Series 79, Series 82, Series 86/87 and Series 99 — will become specialized knowledge exams focused on a particular registration category; FINRA is calling these nine “top off” exams. Sponsored applicants will be permitted to sit for the top-off exams after passing the SIE and landing a job in the industry.

Unlike every FINRA exam before it, the new SIE exam will not require sponsorship. This means that anyone aged 18 or older who wants to take the SIE exam will be permitted to sit for it. A job with a FINRA member firm will not be required. Passing the SIE will be valid for four years.

Solomon Exam Prep, known for its industry-leading test prep materials and high pass rates, just released SIE study materials for firms wishing to get a head start on their SIE programs. The SIE won’t just help FINRA recruit more people; it will also help firms grow their network by offering candidates an early and powerful educational knowledge base. For firms wishing to stay ahead, providing an early opportunity to study for the SIE exam will put them miles ahead of firms that wait.

Solomon is one of the first companies to release study materials for the SIE exam. President and founder of Solomon Exam Prep, Jeremy Solomon, articulated the importance of the SIE exam:

“The SIE exam is going to change the entire structure of the securities industry,” Mr. Solomon said. “Our goal is to provide students with the tools and resources they need to pass the exam and land a job in this dynamic profession.”

Bob Morris, Chief Compliance Officer for Sussex Securities, agreed that the SIE will change the industry. Morris argued that the change is for the better.

“I think it will be a positive thing for more candidates [to enter the industry],” Mr. Morris said. “It is for beginning, entry-level, candidates. They won’t need sponsorship. Sponsorship is the biggest block to Wall Street. The SIE doesn’t have that.”

Mr. Solomon elaborated that preparing for the SIE exam now is a great way to develop a thorough understanding of the securities industry. Solomon Exam Prep is popular amongst securities professionals for many reasons. One of those reasons is the way the materials are written, breaking down complex topics into laymen’s terms.

Linde Murphy, Chief Operating Officer at M.E. Allison & Co., Inc., vouched for Solomon Exam Prep.

“We work with Solomon Exam Prep on several of the Series,” Ms. Murphy said. “Their study materials have gotten us across the finish line. I appreciate that [with Solomon Exam Prep] I can call in and they know who I am. I am not just a number. When you start your search for study exam materials I encourage you to talk to Solomon Exam Prep and review their materials before making your decision.”

Ms. Murphy explained that the SIE exam will allow more people to enter the securities industry. But she added that studying for the SIE is going to be a challenge, as with any licensing exam.

“From my perspective bringing a new person on board to the securities industry is a big hill to climb,” Ms. Murphy said. “Solomon’s SIE materials have given us a path to follow. It doesn’t move too fast but it keeps us moving. Solomon’s SIE material gives the basics but it also challenges the studier as well.”

Mr. Morris used Solomon Exam prep to pass several licensing exams. Mr. Morris explained how taking licensing exams is difficult without proper study materials.

“I dread taking exams. And some of the [licensing] exams are very stressful. It is all about preparation.” Mr. Morris said.

Mr. Morris explained that, for him, that preparation included Solomon Exam Prep.

“[Study materials] help you stay organized,” Mr. Morris said. “Jeremy’s materials are very organized and give you a methodology to study for and pass the exams. They give you confidence. And [Solomon’s study materials] helps speed and they help you recognize some of the questions on the test. They give you an advantage.”

Dante Fichera, President of Independent Investment Bankers, reiterated Morris’ endorsement of Solomon Exam Prep. Mr. Fichera’s candidates must pass FINRA’s Investment Banking Representative Qualification Exam (Series 79) and the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam (Series 63).

“I consider Solomon Prep Exam a business partner in helping our registered investment bankers become licensed,” Mr. Fichera said. “I highly recommend Solomon to our candidates, a solid solution for passing the Series 79 and Series 63. The Solomon Team is friendly and helpful and [their materials are] very reasonably priced.”

The SIE exam will be an introductory exam, testing students on their knowledge of the securities industry, and will pave the way for students to take specialized top-off exams to further their growth in the industry.

Solomon Exam Prep invites you to visit our website. The SIE study materials are available in the popular Essentials Study Package or for individual purchase.

Interested in setting up an SIE program?  Contact Jeremy Solomon, President, at jeremy@solomonexamprep.com or by calling Solomon Exam Prep at 503-601-0212.

Solomon’s SIE Study Materials—Now Available

Looking to kick start your career? You’ve come to the right place! Continue reading

Looking to kick start your career? You’ve come to the right place!

Many people are aware that FINRA is giving the securities industry a face-lift. Hoping to attract more securities professionals, FINRA is going to release a new exam in 2018. The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam will give the industry a chance to attract some new prospects.

In the past, FINRA’s exams were only available to those employed by a broker-dealer and working in the industry. The SIE exam is going to change that. This exam will be available to anyone who wants to take it.

While the exam won’t be available until 2018, Solomon Exam Prep remains in front of the competition and released SIE study materials earlier this week. Known for our high pass rates, no-nonsense study guides, and industry-leading exam simulators, we’re excited to unveil our SIE study materials to the public. Check out our SIE exam study guide and online exam simulator here!

President and founder of Solomon Exam Prep, Jeremy Solomon, articulates the importance of the SIE exam:

“The SIE exam is going to change the entire structure of the securities industry. Our goal is to provide students with the tools and resources they need to pass the exam and land a job in this dynamic profession.”

Don’t wait! Get a head start on your studying and impress your future employers by acing the SIE exam. You’ll thank us later!

Our SIE study materials are available in the popular Essentials Package or for individual purchase.

Interested in learning more? For a free consult about implementing an SIE program at your institution, call Jeremy Solomon at 503-601-0212 or email him at Jeremy@SolomonExamPrep.Com

An Essential Change: FINRA’s SIE Exam

UPDATE: The SIE has been approved and October 1st, 2018 is it’s official launch date. Continue reading

UPDATE: The SIE has been approved and October 1st, 2018 is it’s official launch date.

Beginning October 2018, according to a FINRA proposal, anyone seeking to enter the securities industry must take FINRA’s Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, which will test applicants’ general knowledge of the securities industry. Applicants will also be required to pass a specialized knowledge exam that is tailored to the applicant’s desired job, if that job is at the representative level. For instance, the specialized Series 79 will allow an applicant to work as an investment banker. These specialized knowledge exams are also known as top-off tests.

Unlike with current securities licensing exams, test-takers will not be required to be sponsored by a firm in order to sign up for the Securities Industry Essentials exam. This will mean that even if you don’t have a job at a FINRA member firm, you will be able to take the SIE exam. However, before signing up for a specialized exam, the applicant will need to be sponsored by a FINRA member firm. This new system will allow people with little or no experience in the securities industry to demonstrate their knowledge before applying for securities jobs, and then to pursue a specialized exam after being hired.

Once an individual has passed the SIE exam, his scores will remain valid for four years. If an individual does not register with a firm within four years of passing the SIE exam, that individual will be required to retake the exam. The same will be true of an individual who leaves the industry and returns. If he returns within four years, he will not have to retake the SIE exam. However, according to the FINRA proposal, this will only be true of the SIE exam, not any of the specialized exams. Specialized exam results will expire two years after an individual leaves the industry.

The SIE exam is part of a larger set of changes that FINRA has proposed that will affect all of the FINRA securities licensing exams. For instance, under the current system, if you are registered with a firm and you transfer to a financial services affiliate (that is, an affiliate that is not regulated by FINRA) and you stay with the affiliate for two years or more, then you must retake all of your securities licensing exams before returning to the FINRA-regulated firm. FINRA’s proposed changes will allow an individual to return to a firm within seven years without having to retake his exams.

Once an individual has taken the SIE exam and a specialized exam, if his job changes and he needs to take another specialized exam, he will not need to repeat the SIE exam. This is yet another way in which the new proposal will avoid individuals being tested on the same concepts repeatedly.

FINRA has divided the content that the SIE exam covers into four sections:

  • Knowledge of Capital Markets

» Types of markets and offerings

» Broker-dealers and depositories

» Regulated and prohibited practices

  • Understanding Products and Their Risks

» Securities products

» Associated investment risks

  • Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts and Prohibited Activities

» Accounts

» Orders

» Settlement

» Prohibited Activities

  • Overview of the Regulatory Framework

» Self-regulatory organizations (SROs)

» Registration requirements

» Specified conduct rules

According to the FINRA proposal, the SIE exam will consist of 75 questions, with an additional 10 questions that will not be scored. That means you can expect to see 85 questions on the actual exam. The 10 unscored questions help FINRA to test out new questions before they are permanently added to the exam database.

Because the SIE exam will cover much of the material that is covered in the existing exams, the specialized exams will be considerably shorter than the existing exams. Here is FINRA’s proposed number of questions for each exam:

Currently Required Test Proposed Tests
Series 6—100 questions SIE (75 questions) + Specialized Series 6 (50 questions)
Series 7—250 questions SIE (75 questions) + Specialized Series 7 (125 questions)
Series 79—175 questions SIE (75 questions) + Specialized Series 79 (75 questions)
Series 82—100 questions SIE (75 questions) + Specialized Series 82 (50 questions)
Series 99—100 questions SIE (75 questions) + Specialized Series 99 (50 questions)

 

For more information about the Essentials or any other exam, visit www.solomonexamprep.com or give us a call at 503-601-0212!

It’s Settled: SEC Shortens Regular-Way to T+2

If you’ve ever traded securities or studied for a securities licensing exam, then you’ve probably come across T+3. No, it’s not an herbal supplement or an embarrassing medical procedure. Continue reading

If you’ve ever traded securities or studied for a securities licensing exam, then you’ve probably come across T+3. No, it’s not an herbal supplement or an embarrassing medical procedure. T+3 refers to the regular-way settlement period for most securities transactions. This means that securities must be paid for and delivered by three business days from the trade date. T+3 also means you don’t become the owner of record of a security until three business days after you purchase it.

Well, add T+3 to the list of things that have gone out of style. Effective May 30, 2017, the SEC will shorten the regular-way settlement period to two business days. And so will begin the age of T+2, which is intended to “increase efficiency and reduce risk for market participants,” according to SEC Acting Chairman Michael Pinowar.

This shorter settlement period for the trading of secondary market securities has been discussed by the SEC for years. The change is expected to lower margin requirements for clearing agency members, reduce liquidity stress when markets are volatile, and harmonize settlement with European markets, which moved to T+2 in 2014.

This settlement period will not apply to every securities transaction, though. T+2, like T+3 before it, will apply to:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Municipal securities
  • Exchange-traded funds
  • Mutual funds traded through a brokerage firm
  • Unit investment trusts
  • Limited partnerships that trade on an exchange

The securities industry moves fast. Don’t get left behind! Visit www.solomonexamprep.com or call us at 503-601-0212 for more information about the latest securities exam preparation and education.

Solomon has helped thousands pass their Series 6, Series 7, Series 24, Series 26, Series 27, Series 28, Series 50, Series 51, Series 52, Series 53, Series 62, Series 63, Series 65, Series 66, Series 79, Series 82, and Series 99.

FINRA qualification exam restructure update

Panel discussion May 24, 2016 at the FINRA annual conference. John Kalohn, Joe McDonald and Roni Meikle from FINRA discussed coming restructure of qualification exams. Continue reading

Panel discussion May 24, 2016 at the FINRA annual conference. John Kalohn, Joe McDonald and Roni Meikle from FINRA discussed coming restructure of qualification exams.

Goals of exam restructure:

• Respond to industry and regulatory changes
• Reduce redundancy of content across exams
• Streamline exam process
• Minimize impact and change to the registration rules
• Ensure registered reps have a solid breadth of understanding of securities industry

Another goal appears to be a desire by FINRA and member firms to expand the number of people who can and will get licensed to work in the securities industry.

Exam restructure launch date has been postponed, at least a year, till January 2018 at the earliest.

Exams slated to be retired, will not be retired till 2018 restructure launch date. These include the Series 11 (Order Processing Assistant), Series 42 (Options Representative), Series 62 (Corporate Securities Representative) and Series 72 (Government Securities Representative) exams. The panel noted that only one person had taken the Series 72 in the past year.

Anyone holding registrations that are being retired (Series 11, Series 62, Series 72) will be able to continue to hold them until they leave industry for more than 2 years.

Series 17/37/38 Exams – FINRA will retire these exams and use the UK and Canadian certifications to exempt certificate holders from the Essentials Exam.

Exams that will remain as “Top-off” exams: Series 6, 7, 22, 57, 79, 82, 86/87 and 99. Top-off exams will be shorter than current exams.

Essentials Exam features:

Essentials exam currently envisioned to be 100 questions long.

Unlike the current system, you will not need to be associated with a member firm to take the Essentials Exam. In other words, you won’t need to have a job with a broker-dealer to take the Essentials Exam.

If you pass the Essentials Exam, it will be valid for 4 years from your passing date.

Just passing the Essentials Exam will not be enough to qualify you to be a registered person with FINRA. To become a registered person, you will have to have a job with a FINRA member firm, file a U4, get finger-printed, and pass a Top-off exam.

What if you are currently registered?

Current registrants will maintain registration(s) without the need for additional testing.

Most current registrants will be considered to have passed the Essentials Exam, and it will be valid for 4 years upon leaving the securities industry.

Registrants who return to the securities industry within 2 years will regain registration without needing to take the Essentials or Top-off exam.

Registrants who return to the securities industry between 2 and 4 years later will not need to take the Essentials Exam, only the Top-off exam for the registration position.

Registrants who return to the securities industry more than 4 years later will need to take both the Essentials and the top-off exam.

Next steps:

Securities Essentials Exam is being finalized by FINRA and committee of industry representatives.

Top-off exam outlines to be released 9-12 months prior to launch date of exam restructure

Prepare CRD and other FINRA systems for new exam
structure

Create a system for persons not associated with a member to enroll and pay for the Essentials Exam

Make registration rule, fee and qualification exam filings with the SEC in 2016

FINRA says exam restructure will do the following for firms:

• Give firms an opportunity to employ new business models for onboarding staff.
• Allow firms to better gauge industry knowledge of interns and other potential employees.
• Allow non-registered staff (e.g., administrative) to take Essentials Exam.
• Create a larger pool of potential new registered persons

Impact on firms

Firms will have choices of how to onboard new reps:
• Request applicants take and pass Essentials Exam prior to making job application
• Have new hires take Essentials Exam-only initially and then take top-off qualification exam
• Have new hires take both Essentials Exam and top-off exam together

Other info related to exam restructure:

• Through CRD, firms will be able to confirm whether and when an individual passed the Essentials Exam.
• Top-off exams will retain traditional names: i.e., Series 7 exam will remain the Series 7 exam.
• Position designations in CRD will remain the same (i.e., GS will remain GS [Series 7]).
• Firms will be able to schedule the Essentials Exam for support personnel through CRD.
• Current registrants will not need to take the Essentials Exam to maintain current registrations.
• Principal exams and registrations will not be directly affected.

Principal Exams

Under the new representative-level program structure, several principal exams cover subject matter already covered on the Essentials and the Top-off exams.

Example – Series 24 Exam major topic areas include:

• Sales practice (Series 7)
• Investment banking (Series 79)
• Trading (Series 57)
• Research (Series 86/87)

As a result of this, FINRA will develop a principal exam structure that builds on the new representative-level exam structure to reduce redundancy in content and better focus on testing knowledge of and ability to apply supervisory level rules and concepts

FINRA Exam Restructure Presentation at 2015 NSCP Conference

November 3, at the 2015 National Society of Compliance Professionals Annual Conference, in National Harbor, MD, FINRA gave a presentation on its proposed restructure of the FINRA qualification Exam Program. Attendees learned the following regarding the new exam restructure – Essentials Exam and top-off exams… Continue reading

November 3, at the 2015 National Society of Compliance Professionals Annual Conference, in National Harbor, MD, FINRA gave a presentation on its proposed restructure of the FINRA qualification Exam Program.  The primary presenter was Joseph McDonald, the FINRA staff member in charge of the Qualification Exam Program.

Attendees learned the following regarding the new exam restructure:

Revised Exam Structure
— Revised Exam Structure —
  • Existing qualification exams will be divided into a single “core” exam, currently called the “Essentials Exam,” and then a “top-off” exam (Series 6, Series 7, Series 79, etc.).  FINRA says this will reduce redundancy in the current exams.   This means that if the Essentials Exam will be 100 questions long, the revised Series 7 will be approximately 150 questions.  Currently, the Series 7 is composed of 250 questions.
  • Content on the Essentials Exam will be stable and will cover core subjects such as the structure and functioning of the securities industry, the regulatory agencies and their responsibilities, basic economics, product knowledge (stocks, bonds, mutual funds), regulated and prohibited practices and professional conduct.
  • The Essentials Exam will be different in that a person will not need to be associated with a member firm (you will not need to have a job in the securities industry) in order to take the Essentials Exam.  Also, passing the Essentials Exam will be valid for four years.  Current exams are valid for two years.
  • FINRA hopes that non-registered employees of member firms will take the Essentials Exam and increase the level of industry knowledge among all employees.
  • Passing the Essentials Exam alone will not be enough to qualify an individual to be registered.  This means that the Essentials Exam will not appear in BrokerCheck, FINRA’s public online database of registered individuals and firms.  FINRA says it’s building an enrollment management system that will permit people to take the Essentials Exam without using the U-4 and having to get fingerprinted.
  • FINRA plans to maintain the 30/30/180 day rule for those who fail exams.
  • Currently registered individuals will be grandfathered into the Essentials Exam and, if such a person leaves the industry, it would be valid for four years.
  • FINRA hopes to launch the Essentials Exam and top-off exams in early 2017.

FINRA also mentioned plans to retire the following exams and categories because they say that too few take these exams to make them worth continuing. Individuals registered in these categories will be permitted to retain their registration:

  • Series 62 (Corporate Securities Representative)
  • Series 42 (Options Representative)
  • Series 72 (Government Securities Representative)

FINRA is also considering retiring the Series 11 (Order Processing Assistant).

Fun Fact:  The FINRA qualification exam program began in 1956 with the Series 1 exam.