Solomon Exam Prep and NASA launch SIE mission to Mars

In preparation for the October 1 launch of the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, Solomon Exam Prep teamed with NASA to send Solomon SIE exam study materials to the Red Planet. Continue reading

In preparation for the October 1 launch of the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, Solomon Exam Prep teamed with NASA to send Solomon SIE exam study materials to the Red Planet.

Unlike other FINRA securities licensing exams, the SIE exam will be open to anyone 18 years or older who is interested in the securities industry. FINRA has not publicly stated whether Martians will be permitted to take the SIE exam but since FINRA is dedicated to “investor protection” and to promoting “market integrity” Solomon takes the position that investors and markets on other planets can benefit from securities education, and the SIE in particular. Solomon has helped thousands of earthlings pass their Series 7, Series 6, Series 65, Series 63, Series 24, Series 50, Series 79 and other securities licensing exams.

Elon Musk has not responded to the news of the joint NASA/Solomon Exam Prep mission.

Live Tutoring Now Available in the New York City Area

Looking for a securities exam tutor? Continue reading

Are you located in the New York City area?

Then Solomon Exam Prep has some exciting news for you! We now offer live, in-person tutoring in the New York City area for a variety of Series exams, including the Series 7, Series 63, Series 79, Series 24, and Series 65.

Please give Jeremy Solomon a call at 503.575.8365 (or send an email to Jeremy@SolomonExamPrep.com) for more information.

Spring Savings

Spring has sprung and so has this amazing deal! Continue reading

Did you know that Solomon Exam Prep has a LinkedIn page?

Stay up to date on industry news and be the first to know when Solomon Exam Prep releases new materials! Simply visit the Solomon Exam Prep LinkedIn page here and click the “follow page” button.

As a way to say thank you, Solomon Exam Prep will give each follower a 10% off coupon code which can be applied to any package deal. But you have to act fast, this great deal ends May 1st, 2018!

Help us build our LinkedIn presence and get yourself a discount as well!

Must call in (503-601-0212) or email (info@solomonexamprep.com) to claim discount. Discount cannot be combined with any other offer.

New Series 24 Audiobook

Are you studying for the FINRA Series 24 Exam? Continue reading

Do you aspire to be a General Securities Principal?

If yes, do you have a long commute? Do you exercise? Do you listen to music, podcasts or audio books? Do you like to be efficient with your time?

If you are studying for the Series 24 exam, and you have a long commute or like to exercise or listen to podcasts or just like to be efficient with your time, then you might like to know that Solomon Exam Prep has updated its Series 24 Exam Audiobook.

The Solomon Series 24 exam Audiobook follows the recently updated Solomon Series 24 Exam Study Guide and Series 24 Video Lecture.

Updates cover Regulation D, research analyst rules, T+2 settlement changes, Rule 145, Regulation A and much more.

Did you purchase the Solomon Series 24 Audiobook within the last 6 months and want the update? Give us a call at 503-601-0212 or send an email to info@solomonexamprep.com and we will update it for free.

To hear an audio sample, please click here.

Happy listening!

Bring the SIE to Your Summer Internship Program

Summer internships offer firms a way to stay young and grow. Continue reading

The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam comes bearing more gifts! Not only does the SIE help individuals break into the securities industry, it also provides some incredible opportunities for employers.

Summer internships offer firms a way to stay young and grow.

College students or recently graduated students are the future of your firm and the SIE makes it a lot easier to ensure your firm’s future is bright!

Since the SIE exam will not require BD employment or sponsorship or even a background check, what better way to help your interns succeed than have them study for the SIE exam! By giving your interns the chance to study for the SIE during your program, they will be ready to work for you full time upon graduation.

You can learn more about the SIE and Solomon here.

Solomon offers a complete SIE curriculum including online and print study materials.

Call 503-601-0212 to offer your summer interns the educational experience they will appreciate and value for the rest of their lives!

 

Series 6 Live Class

Are you currently studying for the Series 6? Solomon Exam Prep is excited to host a two-day Series 6 class at our office in Portland, Oregon for $299! Continue reading

Are you currently studying for the Series 6?

Solomon Exam Prep is excited to host a two-day Series 6 class at our office in Portland, Oregon for $299!

The class will be held on Monday, March 19th and Tuesday, March 20th. Taught by one of our instructors, this live, in-person class will cover the major topics of the Series 6. This class will include a study schedule and PowerPoint slides from the instructor.

Interested? Give us a call (503-601-0212) or send us an email (info@solomonexamprep.com) and we will save you a spot.

Full payment must be received by March 14th, so don’t wait!

Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults: New Tools for Firms, Courtesy of FINRA

On February 5th, FINRA officially adopted a pair of new provisions designed to empower firms to identify and assist elderly and disabled customers who may be victims of financial exploitation. Continue reading

On February 5th, FINRA officially adopted a pair of new provisions designed to empower firms to identify and assist elderly and disabled customers who may be victims of financial exploitation. One amends the rules around collecting customer information, and the other lets a firm take action in response to unusual account activity.

These changes could soon show up on multiple exams, including the Series 6, 7, 24, 26, 27, 28, 65, 66, and of course the upcoming SIE exam.

The “Trusted Contact Person”

In your future career in securities, you may have an elderly or disabled customer who begins making decisions that don’t appear to be in his best interest. Maybe you can’t get ahold of him to ask about unusual transactions on his account. But if the transactions appear to be legally authorized by the customer, is there anything you can do about your suspicions?

Yes. These new rule changes help you help this customer in two ways. First, you’re more likely to have someone close to the customer who you can reach out to. From now on, when a firm collects or updates a customer’s personal information it must try to get the name and contact information of a trusted contact person. The firm has a limited ability to share information with the trusted contact person to address certain situations that may indicate that the customer is vulnerable.

For example, if the firm can’t contact the customer, it could ask the trusted contact person about her whereabouts. Depending on the situation, this could be as simple as confirming that the contact information you have for the customer is still accurate. If the firm reasonably suspects a more serious problem, it can also ask questions to help determine whether poor health may be interfering with the customer’s ability to protect her own interests. In this type of situation, the firm can also ask for information about any legal guardian or power of attorney the customer might have.

Temporary Protective Holds

The other new provision lets a member firm put a temporary hold on an account if there is a reasonable belief that an elderly or disabled customer is being exploited. This type of hold can be placed if the following conditions are met:

  • One of the individuals authorized to transact business on the account is:
    • At least 65 years of age
    • At least 18 years of age and has a mental or physical condition that keeps him from protecting his own interests
  • The member firm has a reasonable belief that the customer may be the victim of financial exploitation.
  • If the reasonable belief only applies to certain transactions (as opposed to all activity on the account), only those transactions should be blocked. Other account activity should continue to be allowed.

The member firm does not need definite knowledge of a specific, diagnosed disability, or any other kind of detailed medical information about the customer. The condition doesn’t even have to be permanent. A customer temporarily hospitalized for surgery could fit the definition, as long as there is reason to believe this is keeping her from being able to protect her own interests.

Financial exploitation is defined broadly for these purposes. Such exploitation can consist of “taking, withholding, appropriation, or use” of assets in the customer’s account, whether cash or securities. The reasonable belief can be in regard to past, present, or future exploitation. It can involve unusual actions that the customer supposedly took, or it can involve actions taken by someone else “through the use of a power of attorney, guardianship, or any other authority.” It can involve suspicion of intimidation, trickery, a combination of the two, or any other form of “undue influence” over the vulnerable person.

Required Follow-Up

When this kind of temporary hold is placed on an account, the firm must follow up in several ways. The firm has two business days to notify all parties authorized to transact business on the affected account, as well as the customer’s trusted contact person. If the firm has a reasonable belief that an individual is involved in the exploitation, that individual is excluded from the notification requirement, even if it is the trusted contact person. The notification must disclose the temporary hold and the reason for it.

Another way that the firm must follow up is with an internal review of what the reasonable belief of exploitation was based on. This review must be opened as soon as the hold is placed. It is important that the review be completed promptly, because it may affect the length of the hold.

Initially, the temporary hold may be placed for up to 15 business days. The firm is allowed to grant an extension of up to 10 more business days, but only if the internal review is completed and finds that the belief was in fact reasonable. (On the other hand, if the internal review finds that the belief was not reasonable, the hold would likely be ended immediately.)

The member firm can extend the hold further if a court or state agency (such as Adult Protective Services) orders or requests it. A request from a state agency need not be formal. It could be as simple as the agency asking for an extended hold to give them more time to investigate. Such a request should be carefully documented so that the firm can show that the extension is allowed.

Each member firm must have written procedures specifying who within the firm is authorized to place, remove, or extend this kind of hold. Only an associated person whose job function is supervisory, legal, or compliance-related can be authorized to place this kind of hold. All records related to such a hold must be retained for the default period of six years.

Continue to rely on Solomon Exam Prep for up-to-date information of interest to takers of the Series 6, 7, 24, 26, 27, 28, 65, 66, SIE, and other securities exams.

 

Series 63 Live Class

Are you currently studying for the Series 63? Solomon Exam Prep is excited to host a one-day Series 63 class in Portland, Oregon for $99! Continue reading

Are you currently studying for the Series 63?

Solomon Exam Prep is excited to host a one-day Series 63 class in Portland, Oregon for $99!

The class will be held on Tuesday, February 27th. Taught by one of our instructors, this live, in-person class will cover the major topics of the Series 63. This class will include a study schedule and PowerPoint slides from the instructor.

Interested? Give us a call (503-601-0212) or send us an email and we will save you a spot.

Full payment must be received by February 20th, so don’t wait!

Tax Changes and Securities Licensing Exams

If you’re studying for a FINRA, NASAA or MSRB securities licensing exam such as the Series 6, Series 7, Series 65, Series 66, Series 50, Series 52, Series 79, Series 82 or Series 99, and you’re wondering how the sweeping tax overhaul might affect your exam and your studying, have no fear, the Solomon Exam Prep team is hard at work figuring out what the changes might mean for securities exam-takers. Continue reading

If you’re studying for a FINRA, NASAA or MSRB securities licensing exam such as the Series 6, Series 7, Series 65, Series 66, Series 50, Series 52, Series 79, Series 82 or Series 99, and you’re wondering how the sweeping tax overhaul might affect your exam and your studying, have no fear, the Solomon Exam Prep team is hard at work figuring out what the changes might mean for securities exam-takers. Regulators and exam committees have yet to weigh in, so what follows is just a first pass at the tax reform law that might be of particular interest to Solomon securities exam-takers:

Investment management fees

The new tax law eliminated a bunch of deductions that had been grouped together as “miscellaneous itemized deductions.” This includes deductions for unreimbursed employee expenses, union dues, legal expenses, and tax preparation, all of which are now gone. The biggest loss for investment advisers is that customers may no longer deduct their fees.

The loss of these deductions only applies to individuals. Businesses (including sole proprietorships) will still be able to deduct fees for investment advice. Individuals would have been less likely to use the deduction anyway, since the increase in the standard deduction makes itemizing less attractive.

The pass-through deduction

There is a new 20% deduction for people who get their income through a “pass-through entity” like a partnership, LLC, or S corporation. But not all pass-through income gets the deduction. This is one of the more complex provisions in the new law. A major limitation is that the deduction begins phasing out after $157,500 for certain “service trades or businesses,” defined as “any trade or business where the principal asset of such trade or business is the reputation or skill of 1 or more of its employees or owners.” Financial and brokerage services are specifically named as among the businesses in this category.

Benefits to REITs

REITs are pass-through entities, and income from REIT dividends gets the pass-through deduction, while avoiding the cap for income from service trades or businesses. The portion of a REIT’s dividends that comes from capital gains on the REIT’s property is specifically excluded from the new deduction. However, as a capital gain this portion is taxed at a lower rate to begin with.

REITs were also given the ability to opt out of a provision of the new law that could have hindered them. Most businesses must now accept a cap on the amount they can deduct for interest on their debt. A REIT can choose not to be subject to this limitation, if it also agrees to deduct depreciation on its real estate at a slower rate.

Advance refundings no longer tax-exempt

Under the new law, bonds issued for the purpose of “advance refunding” are never tax-exempt, not even for government bonds. Advance refunding is when the bond issuer wants to take advantage of lower interest rates by selling new bonds to pay off old bonds. If the old bonds are more than 90 days from maturity, this practice is considered advance refunding and the new bonds lose their tax-exempt status.

New income tax brackets for estates and trusts

The new law doubles the threshold before the estate tax kicks in, from $5.6 million to $11.2 million.

Estates and trusts also got lower tax rates and new tax brackets along with other types of taxpayers, as follows:

Old New
Income Rate
Up to $1,500 15%
$1,501 – $3,500 28%
$3,501 – $5,500 31%
$5,501 – $7,500 36%
$7,501 + 39.6%
Income Rate
Up to $2,550 10%
$2,551 – $9,150 24%
$9,151 – $12,500 35%
$12,501 + 37%

 

In addition, disability trusts still get the personal exemption that was eliminated for individuals.

Fewer taxpayers subject to alternative minimum tax

The alternative minimum tax (AMT) is designed to make sure wealthy taxpayers don’t reduce their taxes beyond a certain amount. Under the old law, individual taxpayers had to have an income of $54,300 for singles or $84,500 for married couples before they needed to worry about the AMT. Those amounts were raised to $70,300 for singles and $109,400 for married couples.

The AMT for corporations has been eliminated entirely.

Changes for special savings plans

The bill included several changes to IRAs, 401(k)s, and 529s. For example, converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA no longer comes with the option to change your mind and convert back within a limited period of time. People who lose or leave a job with an outstanding 401(k) loan now have longer to pay it back. 529 accounts can now be used for elementary and secondary school expenses, up to a limit of $10,000.

What didn’t make it into the final bill

The final version of the bill passed on December 20th. When you search for information about it, you should pay close attention to when that information was published or posted.

For example, at one point the bill included a proposed FIFO (first-in, first-out) rule, which said that when selling part of your stock in a company you have to sell the oldest shares first. Since the oldest shares have probably gained the most value, you would have owed more capital gains tax, at least in the short term.

However, the FIFO rule was dropped from the final version of the bill. You may have also read about a major reduction in the annual contribution limits for 401(k)s, or a proposal to remove the tax-exempt status of private activity bonds. Neither made it into the final bill.

This process is not over. Although the ink has dried on the legislation itself, the situation is still developing with regard to how the law will actually be applied in practice and how it will affect your licensing exam. Count on Solomon Exam Prep to be there with the most up-to-date information as it relates to FINRA, NASAA and MSRB securities licensing exams.