Everyone would like to feel confident when they take their securities exam, but how do you know if you’re ready for test day? Solomon Exam Prep can help – with Pass Probability™. Continue reading
Everyone would like to feel confident when they take their securities exam, but how do you know if you’re ready for test day? Solomon Exam Prep can help! With Pass Probability™, now available for the FINRASeries 82 exam, Solomon takes the guesswork out of deciding when to sit for your exam.
Pass Probability™ is Solomon Exam Prep’s innovative technology that measures your readiness to pass your securities exam. Once you take five practice exams in the Solomon Exam Simulator, the Pass Probability™ tool calculates the probability that you will pass your test, with a percentage out of 100.
"A securities licensing exam is hard work and high stakes. Your enemy is uncertainty. Solomon's industry-leading Pass Probability™ feature is based on the results of thousands of Solomon securities students and uses a proprietary algorithm to reduce uncertainty. So you can enter the exam room with confidence."
Co-founder and President of Solomon Exam Prep
But what should you do if you take five practice exams, and the Solomon algorithm determines that you are not ready to take your exam? This is where Solomon’s brand-new feature, the Remediation Report, comes in.
The Remediation Report is an individualized report outlining how to focus your efforts BEFORE taking your exam. It provides an added level of customized study support – sent right to your email.
The Series 14 is one of the more difficult FINRA exams, so it’s a good idea to be well-prepared going into test day – Solomon Exam Prep can help! Continue reading
Do you need to know about compliance issues related to a wide range of broker-dealer activities? Do you plan to supervise others engaged in compliance activities? If you said “yes” to these questions, then you probably work for a broker-dealer and need to take the FINRASeries 14 exam. The Series 14 is one of the more difficult FINRA exams, so it’s a good idea to be well-prepared going into test day – Solomon Exam Prep can help!
Solomon is proud to announce the release of the 2nd edition of the Solomon Exam Prep Guide to the Series 14 Compliance Officer Examination. This comprehensive Solomon Study Guide is written in clear English and packed with practice questions, exercises, and visual aids for better understanding. The 2nd edition includes key updates and improvements designed to help Series 14 students prepare for their exam more effectively so that they can pass the first time.
The Solomon Series 14 Study Guide, 2nd edition, includes:
A chapter dedicated to research reports and research analysts, with new practice questions
Expanded and revised discussion of Regulation SHO vs. OTC close-out rules
Streamlined and simplified explanation of margin accounts
Expanded and revised discussion of Regulation M stabilizing activities
New material about tax rules for gifting shares to charity
New material about stock splits for restricted stock
New material about SPACs
New material about categories of issuers, such as WKSIs and EGCs
The SEC’s March rules update regarding Regulation D and Regulation A offerings
Solomon has also updated the Series 14 Online Exam Simulator to reflect the changes made to the Study Guide. The new Series 14 Exam Simulator contains over 2,400 questions written by Solomon content experts. This massive question bank means that you will encounter new questions with each practice quiz or exam you take. Plus, each question provides a robust explanation so that you learn even more as you test yourself.
I would like to say a big thank you to Solomon for helping me pass my Series 14 exam. I took this exam the first time and missed passing by few marks. I was really sad and discouraged so reached out to Jeremy Solomon and he really took the time to talk to me and provide his guidance and advice. He also provided me with additional resources immediately to help with my second attempt. I recently passed this exam. Their study material is easy to understand and the Online Exam Simulator also has a lot of questions chapter-wise which were very helpful. Their customer service has been amazing and very responsive. Thank you Solomon. I will definitely recommend Solomon for anyone planning to take this exam.
CBRE. Beverly Hills, CA
Solomon Exam Prep is committed to providing industry-leading securities licensing materials, which are continuously kept up-to date. If you are an existing Solomon Series 14 customer, the new 2nd edition will be automatically updated in your account, free of charge.
To view samples of the Solomon Series 14 Study Guide and Exam Simulator, visit the Solomon website here.
Learn about the Solomon Remediation Report, a new analytical feature designed to help students pass their securities licensing exams the first time. Continue reading
Solomon Exam Prep is delighted to announce an advanced analytical feature called a Remediation Report. The Solomon system analyzes a student’s five most recent practice exams and determines whether a student is ready to take his or her exam. If Solomon AI determines that a student is not ready to sit for their exam, then it creates an individual report with personalized guidance on how to remediate and prepare to pass. This custom Remediation Report is sent to the Solomon student’s email inbox.
The Solomon Remediation Report is connected to the Solomon Pass Probability tool, the industry-leading measure of a security exam prep student’s readiness to pass an exam. Solomon Pass Probability is based on thousands of student data points. Once a Solomon student has taken at least five practice exams, the Solomon Pass Probability feature is activated, and the Pass Probability metric is available in the student’s dashboard. The Solomon Remediation Report provides an additional level of customized study support by helping students focus their efforts and remediate before they sit for their exam.
Watch the latest Solomon Exam Prep video for a complete look at the Solomon learning system and what it offers students and firms. Continue reading
Solomon Exam Prep has helped thousands of financial professionals pass their FINRA, NASAA, MSRB, and NFA licensing exams. Watch the video for a complete look at the Solomon learning system and what it offers students and firms.
To explore Solomon Exam Prep study materials for 21 different securities licensing exams, including the SIE and the Series 3, 6, 7, 14, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 63, 65, 66, 79, 82, and 99, visit the Solomon website.
For many when choosing bonds the most important factor is the tax implications. Knowing the after-tax yield and tax-equivalent yield calculations is critical. Continue reading
Bonds can be nice, reliable investments. Pay some money to an issuing company or municipality, receive interest payments twice a year, and then get all of your original investment back sometime down the road. Sounds like a plan.
But which bonds are best for a specific investor? There are many factors for bond investors to consider when choosing which bond to buy, but for many the most important is the tax implications of investing in one bond instead of another. This concern is most prominent when an investor compares a corporate bond to a municipal bond. For reference, a corporate bond is one issued by a corporation or business, while a municipal bond is one issued by a state, city, or municipal agency.
Comparing the tax implications of these bonds is important because the interest payments that investors receive from municipal bonds are typically not taxed at the federal level. Conversely, interest payments on all corporate bonds are subject to federal taxation. This means that someone in the 32% tax bracket will have to give Uncle Sam 32% of his interest received from a corporate bond, while he will not give up any of his interest received from a municipal bond. Additionally, an investor does not pay state taxes on municipal bond interest if the bond is issued in the state in which the investor lives. Corporate bond interest, on the other hand, is always subject to state tax.
interest payments taxed federally
interest payments subject to state tax
interest payments not federally taxed
interest payments not taxed by state if issued in state local to investor
For these reasons, when comparing a corporate bond to a municipal bond, understanding the after-tax yield and the tax-equivalent or corporate-equivalent yield is essential. This is true both for investors and for those who will be taking many of the FINRA, NASAA, and MSRB exams. So let’s look at how to calculate those yields.
First the after-tax yield. The after-tax yield tells you the amount of a corporate bond’s annual interest payment that an investor will take home after accounting for taxes he will be assessed on that interest. Once that amount is known, the investor can compare it to the yield he would receive from a specific municipal bond and see which potential investment would put more money in his pocket. When calculating the after-tax yield, start with the annual interest percentage (a.k.a. coupon percentage) of the corporate bond, which represents the percent of the bond’s par value that an investor receives each year in interest. For instance, a corporate bond that has a $1,000 par value and an interest rate of 8% will pay an investor $80 dollars in annual interest ($1,000 x 0.08 = $80). You then multiply the coupon percentage by 1 minus the taxes an investor will pay on the corporate bond that he will not pay on the municipal bond that he is considering.
This is where it sometimes gets tricky. What taxes will an investor not pay when investing in a municipal bond that he will pay when investing in a corporate bond? Remember that for just about all municipal bonds, investors do not pay federal tax on interest received.
The formula for after tax yield is:
After-tax yield = Corporate Bond Annual Interest Rate x ( 1 – Taxes Investor Does Not Pay By Investing in Municipal Bond)
On the other hand, an investor always pays federal taxes on interest received from a corporate bond. Additionally, an investor does not pay state taxes on interest payments from a municipal bond issued in the state in which the investor lives.
On the other hand, an investor always pays state taxes on interest received from corporate bonds. So if you see an exam question in which you need to calculate the after-tax yield of a corporate bond to compare it the yield on a municipal bond, you will always subtract the investor’s federal income tax rate from 1 in the equation. You will also subtract the investor’s state tax rate from 1 if the municipal bond is issued in the investor’s state of residence.
Seems simple, right? Here’s a question to provide context:
Marilyn is a resident of Kentucky. She is considering a bond issued by XYZ Corporation. The bond comes with a 7% annual interest rate. Marilyn is also interested in purchasing municipal bonds issued in Ohio. If Marilyn has a federal tax rate of 28% and Kentucky’s state tax rate is 4%, what is the after-tax yield on XYZ’s bond?
To answer this question, begin with the interest rate on the XYZ bond, which is 7%. Then subtract from 1 the taxes Marilyn will not pay if she invests in the municipal bond in question. She will not pay federal taxes on the municipal bond interest, so you would subtract 28%, or .28. However, because Marilyn is a resident of Kentucky and the municipal bonds she is considering are issued in Ohio, she will pay state taxes on the bond. That means you would not subtract her state tax rate (0.04) from 1. After subtracting .28 from 1 to get 0.72, you multiply that amount by the 7% coupon payment. Doing so gives you a value of 5.04 (7 x 0.72 = 5.04%). This means that the interest amount she would take home from the XYZ bond would be equivalent to what she would receive from a municipal bond issued in Ohio that has a 5.04% interest payment. If she can get a bond issued in Ohio that has a higher interest payment than 5.04%, she would take home more money in annual interest payments than she would from the XYZ bond.
The second approach an investor can take to compare how a potential bond investment will be affected by taxation is to calculate the tax-equivalent yield (TEY). This calculation is also known as the corporate-equivalent yield (CEY). The TEY/CEY measures the yield that a corporate bond will have to pay to be equivalent to a given municipal bond after accounting for taxes due. To calculate this yield, you take the annual interest of the given municipal bond and divide it by 1 minus the taxes the investor will not pay if she invests in the municipal bond that she would pay if she invested in a corporate bond.
Here’s the formula for tax-equivalent yield:
Tax-equivalent yield = Municipal Bond Annual Interest Rate / (1 – Taxes Investor Does Not Pay By Investing in Municipal Bond)
When determining what tax rates to subtract from 1 in the denominator, the same principal as described above applies. That is, the investor will not have to pay federal tax on the municipal bond, so her federal rate is always subtracted from 1. The investor will also not have to pay state tax on the bond if it is issued in the state in which she lives. If that is the case, the investor’s state tax rate should also be subtracted from 1. However, if the investor lives in a different state than the state in which the bond is issued, she will have to pay state taxes on the interest payments. In that case, her state tax rate would not be subtracted from 1.
Here’s another question to provide context.
Franz, a resident of Michigan, has purchased a Michigan municipal bond that pays 4% annual interest. If his federal tax bracket is 30% and the Michigan state tax rate is 4%, what interest rate would he need to receive on a corporate bond to have a comparable rate after accounting for taxes owed?
To answer this question, begin with the interest rate on the Michigan municipal bond, which is 4%. Then subtract from 1 the taxes that Franz will not pay on that bond that he would pay if he invested in a corporate bond. He wouldn’t pay federal taxes on the municipal bond interest, so you would subtract 0.30 from 1. Additionally, since the bond is issued in Michigan and he is a Michigan resident, Franz will not pay state taxes on the bond. So you subtract Michigan’s state tax rate of 4%, or 0.04, from 1 as well. After subtracting 0.30 and 0.04 from 1 to get 0.66, you divide that number into the 4% municipal bond annual interest. Doing so gives a value of 6.06 (4 / 0.66 = 6.06). This means Franz would need to find a corporate bond that pays 6.06% in annual interest to match the amount of interest he will take home annually from the Michigan municipal bond after accounting for taxes.
Many people are confused by the concepts of the after-tax and tax-equivalent yields. But you don’t have to be one of them. Just follow this simple approach and any questions you see on this topic will not be overly taxing.
Meet the newest addition to Solomon Exam Prep’s lineup of free Sample Quizzes: the SIE Sample Exam! Visit the Solomon website to try it out. Continue reading
Meet the newest addition to Solomon Exam Prep’s lineup of free Sample Quizzes: the SIE Sample Exam! Like all Solomon Sample Quizzes, the SIE Sample Exam features questions from our industry-leading Online Exam Simulator. Questions are written by Solomon content experts, who are experienced in both investment education and the process of adult learning.
But unlike other Solomon Sample Quizzes, the SIE Sample Exam is a FULL exam – it contains 75 questions, just like the real FINRASIE exam – giving you an even better idea of what the actual exam is like. You will encounter easy, medium, and difficult questions so that you can more easily gauge your current knowledge of SIE content.
All Solomon Sample Quizzes and Exams also provide instant feedback for each answer, with a full rationale to help you understand the WHY behind the what. Plus, you get a report at the end detailing your results and giving you the opportunity to review all the questions.
Visit the Solomon website here to try out the SIE Sample Exam and explore free samples of quizzes for 21 different exams.
Question: A Municipal Finance Professional (MFP) hosted a $500 plate fundraiser for a governmental issuer. Does this event trigger a ban on business for two years?
A. Yes, it will trigger a ban because an MFP may not host a fundraiser.
B. Yes, it will trigger a ban because the cost per plate is above the de minimis amount.
C. No, it will not trigger a ban because the MFP did not contribute money, only time and space.
D. No, it will not trigger a ban because the MFP was holding the fundraiser, not the municipal dealer.
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: MFPs are not permitted to solicit funds for municipal issuers or their officials without triggering a two-year ban on business for their firm. Thus, holding fundraisers is not allowed. Municipal dealers are also forbidden from holding fundraisers.
To explore free samples of Solomon Exam Prep’s industry-leading online exam simulators for the SIE, Series 7, Series 14, Series 50, Series 52, Series 54, and other FINRA, MSRB, NASAA, and NFA exams, visit the Solomon website here.
The Internal Revenue Service announced April 1 that it was approving a third accounting method called TYPO. Continue reading
The Internal Revenue Service announced April 1 that it was approving a third accounting method called TYPO. This new method will join LIFO and FIFO as a government-approved way to manage and calculate the cost of inventory.
LIFO stands for “last in first out,” with the most recent (last) unit considered sold first. FIFO stands for “first in first out,” with the oldest (first) unit considered sold first.
The IRS announcement did not state what TYPO stands for or how it works.
Observers were surprised and confused. “Are you sure that’s not a mistake?” was the reaction from Deb It, spokesperson for the American Society of Accountants.
Looking to become a private securities offering representative? Read Solomon Exam Prep’s guide to effective preparation for the FINRA Series 82 exam. Continue reading
What does the Series 82 exam allow me to do?
The Series 82, also known as the Private Securities Offerings Representative Exam, is a FINRA exam that qualifies you to sell private securities in a primary offering. A primary offering refers to the first time the securities are offered for sale. Once a security has been issued and sold it is no longer a primary offering, instead if the security is subsequently resold it is termed a secondary offering. The sale of private securities sold in a primary offering is often referred to as a “private placement.” Another way of saying this is that the Series 82 exam qualifies you to sell private placements.
The Series 82 exam is considered a “top off” exam because you must also pass the Securities Industry (SIE) exam to be fully qualified. While the SIE exam tests your knowledge of securities industry products and rules, the Series 82 tests your specific knowledge of the rules and processes related to structuring and selling private placements. The Series 82 is a fairly difficult exam that requires approximately 60 hours of study.
Passing the Series 82 exam does not allow you to sell publicly registered stocks or bonds, nor does it permit you to sell municipal or government securities. Also, the Series 82 does not permit you to structure or sell public offerings, such as IPOs.
You must be associated with a FINRA member firm in order to take the Series 82.
About the Exam
The Series 82 exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions covering the four sections of the FINRA Series 82 exam outline. FINRA updates its exam questions regularly to reflect the most current rules and regulations. The Series 82 also includes five additional unscored questions that FINRA is trying out, so the Series 82 exam contains 55 questions in total. The 5 unscored questions are unidentified and are distributed randomly throughout the exam.
Note: Scores are rounded down to the lowest whole number (e.g. 69.9% would be a final score of 69%–not a passing score for the Series 82 exam).
Topically, the Series 82 is divided into four sections:
Topics Covered on the Exam
The Series 82 exam covers many topics including the following:
Types of securities offerings with an emphasis on exempt offerings, such as private placements, Reg A offerings, Rule 147 offerings and private investment in public equity (PIPE) offerings
Underwriting commitments including firm, best efforts, mini-max and standby
Mechanics of exempt offerings
Determination of qualified institutional buyer (QIB) or accredited investor status
Content and purpose of offering documents such as private placement memorandums (PPMs)
Investor portfolio concerns, such as tax considerations, suitability, product risks, diversification, appropriate mix of assets, risk tolerance
Securities Industry rules related to exempt offerings
Question Types on the Series 82
What entity can receive material, nonpublic information from an issuer without public disclosure?
A. Financial publication
B. Broker-dealer that makes a market in the securities
C. Law firm hired by the issuer
D. Investment company
Finish the statement:
Offerings of securities are categorized by who receives the proceeds of the offering. In a primary offering, the proceeds go to the:
A. Issuing corporation
B. Major stockholders
C. Underwriting broker-dealer
D. Issuing corporation, major stockholders, and principal underwriter
The underwriting of private placements is typically conducted on a _____ commitment basis.
B. Best efforts
Under Regulation D, Rule 504, a private placement must meet all of the following requirements except:
A. The offering price must be less than or equal to $5 million.
B. The offering price must be more than $5 million.
C. If multiple offerings occur during a 12-month period, they are added together when determining whether the Regulation D, Rule 504 exemption applies.
D. The total number of purchasers is unrestricted.
Study Strategies for the Series 82
Use all the resources. The Resources folder in your Solomon student account has helpful information, including a “fast facts” sheet for last-minute studying, and a detailed study schedule that you can print out – or use the online study schedule and check off tasks as you complete them.
Watch the Video Lecture. This provides a helpful introduction to the key concepts in each chapter before diving deeper into the content by reading the Solomon Study Guide. Take notes to help you stay focused.
Read. It’s simple: read the Study Guide, carefully. Many report that they read the Study Guide two or three times before taking the exam. To increase your ability to focus while reading, or as an alternative to reading, listen to the Solomon Audiobook, which is a word-for-word reading of the Solomon Study Guide.
Take handwritten notes. As you watch the Video Lecture and read the Study Guide, take handwritten notes and review your notes every day for 10 to 15 minutes. Studies show that the act of taking handwritten notes in your own words and then reviewing these notes strengthens learning and memory.
Make flashcards. Making your own flashcards is another powerful and proven method to reinforce memory and strengthen learning. Solomon also has digital flashcards available for the Series 82.
Research. Research anything you do not understand. Curiosity = learning. Students who take responsibility for their own learning by researching anything they do not understand get a deeper understanding of the subject matter and are much more likely to pass. And if you’re stuck on a content question, submit it via the Ask the Professor feature, which is included in study packages, to receive a personalized response within one business day.
Answer practice questions in the Exam Simulator. When you’re done with a chapter in the Study Guide, take 4 – 6 chapter quizzes in the Exam Simulator. Use these quizzes to give yourself practice and to find out what you need to study more. Make sure you read and understand the question rationales. When you’re finished reading the entire Study Guide, review your handwritten notes once more. Then, and only then, start taking full practice exams in the Exam Simulator. Aim to pass at least six full practice exams and try to get your average score to at least an 80. When you reach that point, you are probably ready to sit for the exam.
Take regular breaks. Studies show that if you are studying for an exam, taking regular walks in a park or natural setting significantly improves scores. Walks in urban areas or among people did not improve test scores.
Get a good night’s sleep and take your exam!
You can pass the FINRA Series 82! It just takes work and determination. Solomon Exam Prep is here to support you through the test-prep process!
SPACs have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and the growth is only accelerating. What will this mean for regulations and the Series 79 exam? Continue reading
It sounds like a securities-industry riddle: what do you call a blank check company with no hard assets that holds a multimillion dollar IPO? But the answer is very real: SPACs (special purposes acquisition companies) are an alternative to traditional IPOs that have exploded in popularity.
What’s a “blank check company?” A blank check company is an exchange-listed shell company that, according to the SEC, has “no specific business plan or…its business plan is to engage in a merger or acquisition.”
The purpose of a SPAC is to raise money to acquire a privately held company. Think of it as crowdfunding on a massive scale. First, the SPAC sells shares of itself in an IPO. Then it uses the IPO proceeds to fund a merger between itself and a target company. When the merger is complete, the SPAC’s shareholders become shareholders in the target company. Investors buy SPAC shares based on their confidence that the SPAC’s management will complete the merger, and the anticipated value of the shares after the merger.
SPACs have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and the growth is only accelerating. The amount raised by SPAC IPOs in 2020 more than quadrupled the amount they raised in 2019. According to Reuters, the total value of SPAC mergers in 2021 has already exceeded the total size of SPAC mergers for all of 2020.
What does this mean for regulations?
As investor excitement around SPACs has heated up, there are indications that the SEC is beginning to take a closer look at this new kind of IPO. On March 10th, the SEC issued a warning against investing based on celebrity involvement with a SPAC. Celebrities with high-profile ties to SPACs include A-Rod, Shaquille O’Neal, Serena Williams, and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Acting SEC Chair Allison Herren Lee recently warned of “more and more evidence on the risk side of the equation for SPACs as we see studies showing that their performance for most investors doesn’t match the hype.”
While none of this guarantees that new rules for SPACs are around the corner, it does make it more likely that FINRA’s Series 79 investment banking exam may begin to include mention of SPACs. They are a topic that investment bankers are increasingly likely to encounter in practice, and therefore are increasingly likely to be viewed as fair game for the exam.
Solomon Exam Prep is ahead of the curve with new material in our Series 79 Study Guide. Series 79 customers can find material on SPACs now included in the online edition of Solomon Study Guide.
Potentially testable points about SPACs include:
SPAC are formed by “sponsors,” commonly institutional investors or high net worth individuals, who are compensated with both a portion of the IPO proceeds, as well as an equity stake in the SPAC of up to 20%.
SPAC’s typically avoid committing to merge with a specific company, even if the SPAC was formed with the intention of targeting that company. The SPAC’s management may respond to changing market conditions by choosing a different target, subject to approval from the SPAC’s shareholders.
After a SPAC goes public, its shares trade freely on exchanges even before it completes a merger.
A SPAC must hold at least 85% of proceeds from its IPO in an escrow account.
The SPAC commits to return investor funds if it fails to complete a merger within a specified timeframe.
As a blank check company with no business operations of its own, a SPAC cannot take advantage of certain options available to more established securities issuers. For example, a SPAC is not permitted to make an electronic version of its road show presentation.
Solomon Exam Prep will continue to follow industry trends and how they affect your licensing exams.
Solomon Exam Prep has helped thousands pass their securities licensing exams, including the SIE and the Series 3, 6, 7, 14, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 63, 65, 66, 79, 82 and 99.