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

Study Question of the Week: November 20, 2013 Edition

This week’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available. Relevant to the Series 6, Series 7, Series 24, Series 26, Series 62, and Series 82. –ANSWER POSTED– Continue reading

This week’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available.

Study ? of the Week

Question (Relevant to the Series 6Series 7, Series 24, Series 26Series 62, and Series 82)

Which regulation empowers the Federal Reserve to regulate credit associated with the purchase of securities?

Answers:

A. The Exchange Act of 1934

B. The Securities Act of 1933

C. Regulation T

D. Regulation U

Correct Answer: A. The Exchange Act of 1934

Rationale: Section 7 of the Exchange Act of 1934 empowers the Federal Reserve to regulate credit associated with respect to the purchase of securities, also known as margin. Its intent is to manage the amount of speculative activity that can be applied to securities transactions and to manage the supply of money in the credit markets.The Federal Reserve responded to its new powers by enacting Regulation T, which places credit restrictions on broker-dealers by establishing initial margin requirements and prescribing how a margin transaction must be maintained. Initial margin requirements are currently set at 50%. Regulation T was soon followed in 1936 by Regulation U, which imposes credit restrictions on other lenders that would finance margin transactions, such as banks. Regulation U forbids banks from extending more credit than the “maximum loan value” for margin securities, which it identifies as 50% of the stock’s current market value.

Weekly study questions are from Solomon’s industry-leading Online Exam Simulator.

Study Question of the Week: October 9, 2013 Edition

This week’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available. Relevant to the Series 7, Series 24, Series 62, and Series 99. –ANSWER POSTED– Continue reading

This week’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available.

Study ? of the Week

Question (Relevant to the Series 7Series 24, Series 62, and Series 99)

Which of the following agreements allows the broker-dealer to use the customer’s securities as collateral on a loan?

Answers: 

A. loan consent agreement

B. hypothecation agreement

C. credit agreement

D. prime broker agreement

Correct Answer: B. hypothecation agreement

Rationale: The hypothecation agreement allows the broker-dealer to use the customer’s securities as collateral on a loan. The credit agreement details the terms and conditions for the credit that the broker-dealer is extending to the customer. This agreement will include how the firm will calculate the interest charged on the credit and what interest rate the loan rate it will be tied to (e.g., broker call rate). The loan consent agreement permits the broker-dealer to lend the customer’s securities to other customers wishing to execute short sales. This agreement is not required of customers opening a margin account, but strongly encouraged by the broker-dealer.

Weekly study questions are from Solomon’s industry-leading Online Exam Simulator.

 

Study Question of the Week: October 2, 2013 Edition

This week’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available. Relevant to the Series 24 and Series 79. –ANSWER POSTED– Continue reading

This week’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available.

Question (Relevant to the Series 24 and Series 79)

An issuer of publicly offered securities must file:

Answers:

A. Five copies of the preliminary prospectus with the SEC no later than the date that it is first sent to investors

B. Ten copies of the preliminary prospectus with the SEC no later than the date that it is first sent to investors

C. Five copies of the preliminary prospectus with the SEC at least 10 days prior to the date that it is first sent to investors

D. Ten copies of the preliminary prospectus with the SEC at least 10 days prior to the date that it is first sent to investors

Correct Answer: A

Rationale: An issuer of publicly offered securities must file five copies of the preliminary prospectus with the SEC no later than the date that it is first sent to investors.

Weekly study questions are from Solomon’s industry-leading Online Exam Simulator.

Study Question of the Week: May 1, 2013 Edition

This week’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available. Relevant to the Series 6, Series 7, Series 62, Series 65, Series 66, Series 79, and Series 82. –ANSWER POSTED– Continue reading

This week’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available.

Question (Relevant to the Series 6Series 7Series 62Series 65Series 66, Series 79, and Series 82):

Which of the following Treasury securities does not pay interest semi-annually?

Answers:

A. T-bills

B. T-notes

C. T-bonds

D. TIPS

Correct Answer: A

Rationale: Treasury bills, or T-bills are issued at a discount from the par value (face value) and the interest payment is paid one time, on maturity, and it is the difference between the par value and the purchase price. T-notes, T-bonds and TIPS pay interest semi-annually (twice a year).

Weekly study questions are from Solomon’s industry-leading Online Exam Simulator.

NASAA and FINRA Raise Passing Score on Series 63 Exam

Effective January 1, 2010, NASAA and FINRA will raise the passing grade for the Series 63, Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination, from 70% Continue reading

Effective January 1, 2010, NASAA and FINRA will raise the passing grade for the Series 63, Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination, from 70% to 72%. The new raw passing score will be 43 out of 60.

NASAA Memorandum Re Passing Scores for Series 63, 65 and 66 Exams