Update: Series 54 Deadline Extended to November 30

Principals at municipal advisor firms must pass the Series 54 exam by November 30, 2021, to continue acting as principals. Continue reading

As we covered in a previous blog post on the Solomon Industry News Blog, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) had announced plans to push back the deadline for municipal advisor principals to take the new Series 54 exam. However, the MSRB did not say how much of an extension they intended to give.

Now we know. On September 2, the MSRB filed a request with the SEC to extend the Series 54 deadline from November 12 to November 30.

The SEC must still approve the extension before it becomes official.

UPDATE – September 30, 2021: The MSRB issued a notice stating that November 30, 2021, is the deadline for passing the Series 54 exam.

Read the full MSRB notice here.

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November 12 deadline for MSRB Series 54 Municipal Advisor Principal Exam

Principals at municipal advisor firms must pass the Series 54 exam by November 12, 2021, to continue acting as principals. Continue reading

When the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) created an exam specifically for principals at municipal advisor (MA) firms, the plan was for all MA principals to take it within a year.

The exam, known as the Series 54, was first made available on November 12, 2019. The MSRB required that all MA principals who wanted to continue acting as principals would have to pass the Series 54 by November 12, 2020.

But like many plans in 2020, the MSRB’s plan for the Series 54 was disrupted by Covid-19. With FINRA testing centers shut down for months, and uncertainty regarding when testing would resume, the MSRB added a one-year grace period to its original deadline. MA principals would now have until November 12, 2021, to pass the Series 54 exam.

The regulator recently reminded MA firms that “those who engage in the management, direction or supervision of…municipal advisory activities” will need to pass the Series 54 on or before November 12.

UPDATE: On August 11, the MSRB announced that it would seek SEC approval for an additional extension. The MSRB did not say how long the planned extension would be, but the regulator plans to announce this by September 10. The MSRB also announced an “interim accommodation” allowing those who need to take the Series 54 exam online to do so. Details about how to apply for this accommodation will be posted on MSRB.org no later than August 20.

UPDATE: On September 2, the MSRB announced that it has filed a request with the SEC to extend the Series 54 deadline from November 12 to November 30, 2021. View the blog post about this announcement here.   

What is a Municipal Advisor?

A municipal advisor, or MA, differs from a municipal securities dealer in that an MA does not underwrite and sell municipal securities. Instead, an MA gives advice about structuring an issue of municipal securities, selecting an underwriter, investing the proceeds, and related matters. Unlike a municipal securities dealer, an MA is the municipality’s fiduciary, which means that the MA must put the municipality’s interests before its own. MAs became regulated in a manner like municipal securities dealers as one of the reforms resulting from the 2008 financial crisis.

When MAs first came under the MSRB’s jurisdiction, the MSRB only had one qualification exam for MA personnel: the Series 50, which is taken by representatives and principals alike. During the grace period, principals who have only passed the 50 have been allowed to continue as principals. After the deadline, MA principals will need to have passed both the Series 50 and the Series 54.

Solomon Exam Prep has helped hundreds pass the Series 50 and Series 54 exams.

Solomon offers an innovative suite of exam prep products for the Series 54 to help you pass this difficult test, plus a step-by-step study schedule to tell you how to do it. Choose from an easy-to-understand Study Guide, an Exam Simulator with hundreds of relevant practice questions and detailed rationales, and a Video Lecture to help you learn and highlight the most critical information for the exam.

Solomon recommends at least 40 hours of studying to give yourself the best chance at passing this challenging principal exam.

Do yourself a favor and start studying well before the deadline, and let Solomon help you on your road to success! Explore Solomon’s Series 54 study materials by clicking the link below.

Solomon Study Question of the Month for April

This month’s study question from the Solomon Exam Prep Online Exam Simulator question database is now available. Continue reading

Study Question

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

*** Comment below or submit your answer to info@solomonexamprep.com to be entered to win a $20 Starbucks gift card.***

This question is relevant to the SIE and the Series 7, 14, 50, 52, and 54.

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.

Series 54 Pilot Results to be released soon, Says MSRB

At the 2019 National Association of Municipal Advisors annual conference in Chicago, Gail Marshall of the MSRB announced that results of the MSRB Series 54 Municipal Advisor Principal pilot exam will be released the week of October 7, along with a final Series 54 exam outline. Continue reading

At the 2019 National Association of Municipal Advisors annual conference in Chicago, Gail Marshall of the MSRB announced that results of the MSRB Series 54 Municipal Advisor Principal pilot exam will be released the week of October 7, along with a final Series 54 exam outline.

According to Marshall, the Series 54 exam will launch in November and firms will have till November 2020 to fulfill their Series 54 requirements.

Individuals who took the Series 54 pilot will be informed whether they passed or failed via an email. Those who passed will not receive a score, those who failed will receive some statistical information about their performance on the Series 54 pilot, according to Marshall of the MSRB.  Pass/fail information will not be released publicly.

Jeremy Solomon, president of Solomon Exam Prep, notes that anyone interested in taking the Series 54 Municipal Advisor Principal Exam must first pass the MSRB Series 50 Municipal Advisor exam.

Solomon Exam Prep has helped thousands pass FINRA, NASAA and MSRB securities licensing exams including the SIE and the Series 3, 6, 7, 14, 24, 26, 27, 28, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 63, 65, 66, 79, 82 and 99.

New MSRB Rule G-42: Duties of Non-Solicitor Municipal Advisors

MSRB Rule G-42, Duties of Non-Solicitor Municipal Advisors, will be effective June 23, 2016, and was recently added to the outline for the Series 50 exam. Continue reading

G-42MSRB Rule G-42, Duties of Non-Solicitor Municipal Advisors, will be effective June 23, 2016, and was recently added to the outline for the Series 50 exam.

The rule requires that municipal advisors meet certain standards of conduct in their dealings with municipal entities, which includes fulfilling two duties: a duty of care and a duty of loyalty.  Though G-42 goes into great detail about municipal advisor responsibilities, the duties of care and loyalty are the basis for everything included in the rule.

In order to fulfill its duty of care, the municipal advisor must:

• Have enough knowledge and expertise to give informed advice to the municipal entity

• Reasonably inquire into all relevant facts before allowing a municipality to proceed on a particular course of action or before giving advice

• Undertake a reasonable investigation to determine that its advice is not based on materially inaccurate or incomplete information

In order to fulfill its duty of loyalty, a municipal advisor must:

• Be honest and act in good faith

• Put the municipal client’s interests before its own financial or other interests

• Not perform municipal advisory activities for the client if its conflicts of interests will prevent it from acting in the client’s best interests

The rule requires municipal advisors to put their municipal advisory relationships in writing “prior to, upon or promptly after” the relationship begins, and requires them to disclose all conflicts of interest in writing to the municipal client.

Finally, Rule G-42 provides a list of specifically prohibited activities and explains how a firm must respond if it inadvertently provides advice to a municipal entity.

The rule was written to conform to the fiduciary duty placed on municipal advisors by the Dodd-Frank Act.

Solomon Exam Prep has helped thousands pass the Series 6, 7, 63, 65, 66, 24, 26, 27, 50, 51, 52, 53, 62, 79, 82 and 99 exams. For more information visit http://www.solomonexamprep.com/

Series 50 Permanent Exam Outline Released

The MSRB recently announced that the Series 50 permanent exam will be available starting on September 12, 2016. The Series 50 pilot exam, which was a precursor to the permanent exam, was available from January 15, 2016, to February 15, 2016, and helped to set the permanent exam passing score of 71%. Continue reading

prod_bkSEP50

The MSRB recently announced that the Series 50 permanent exam will be available starting on September 12, 2016.  The Series 50 pilot exam, which was a precursor to the permanent exam, was available from January 15, 2016, to February 15, 2016, and helped to set the permanent exam passing score of 71%.

In preparation for the release of the permanent exam, the MSRB updated the Series 50 outline to reflect current rules.  Specifically, the following references were added to Function One of the outline:

  • Rules governing activities of municipal advisors (for example, professional qualification, fiduciary duty, and recordkeeping)
  • Rule G-20 (“Limitations on Gift Giving”), as it applies to municipal advisors
  • Rule G-37 (“Pay to Play” Rule), as it applies to municipal advisors
  • Rule G-42 (“Duties of Non-Solicitor Municipal Advisors”)

The MSRB also removed the reference to Rule G-32 (“Disclosure in Connection with Primary Offerings”) from Function One, most likely because this is more relevant to brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers than it is to municipal advisors.

Additionally, Function Two of the outline now refers to “rating agencies” instead of the “major three rating agencies.”

Finally, the MSRB added three new sample questions at the end of the outline to replace sample questions 2, 3, and 4.

Solomon Exam Prep has helped thousands pass the Series 6, 7, 63, 65, 66, 24, 26, 27, 50, 51, 52, 53, 62, 79, 82 and 99 exams. For more information visit SolomonExamPrep.Com or call 503.601.0212.

Study Question of the Month – June 2016

This month’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available! Relevant to the Series 50. ***Submit your answer to info@solomonexamprep.com to be entered to win a $10 Starbucks gift card.*** Continue reading

Congratulations to Jessi B., this month’s Study Question of the Month winner!

This month’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available!

***Submit your answer to info@solomonexamprep.com to be entered to win a $10 Starbucks gift card.***

Study Question

Question (Relevant to the Series 50): Charles lives in Concord, New Hampshire, and buys a bond issued by that city. What is most likely true of this bond?

Answers: 

A. It is an AMT bond

B. It is a GO bond

C. It is a special tax bond

D. It is a triple tax-free bond

Answer: D. It is a triple tax-free bond.

Rationale: Because Charles lives in the municipality that issued the bond, the bond will be tax-exempt at the federal, state, and local level, hence the name “triple tax-free.” 

***Submit your answer to info@solomonexamprep.com to be entered to win a $10 Starbucks gift card.***

MSRB Series 50 Pilot Exam Becomes Permanent

Today, the MSRB announced that the permanent Municipal Representative Qualification Exam (Series 50) will be made available on September 12, 2016. On that day, a municipal advisor will be able to open a 120-day examination window for a municipal advisor representative. Continue reading

prod_bkSEP50Today, the MSRB announced that they will make the permanent Municipal Representative Qualification Exam (Series 50) available on September 12, 2016. On that day, a municipal advisor will be able to open a 120-day examination window for a municipal advisor representative.

Also, anyone who took the Series 50 pilot exam was notified today whether or not they passed. Individuals who took the Series 50 pilot but did not pass will have an extended exam window of one year (September 12, 2016 – September 12, 2017) to retake the exam one time for free.

Other relevant Series 50 exam information:

  • The permanent Series 50 exam will have 100 questions.
  • The passing score of the permanent Series 50 exam will be 71%.
  • Students taking the permanent Series 50 will have 3 hours to take the exam.
  • The fee to take the Series 50 exam will be $265.
  • If you took and passed the Series 50 pilot exam and you stop working for a municipal advisor, your Series 50 qualification will remain valid for two years.
  • The MSRB is providing a one-year grace period during which individuals will be able to take the municipal advisor representative exam while still engaging in municipal advisory activities. That means that municipal advisor representatives are not required to have the Series 50 qualification until September 12, 2017.
  • Municipal advisor representatives may indicate that they passed the Series 50 exam but suggesting that passing the Series 50 makes you more qualified than someone who hasn’t could be misleading and might get you in trouble with the MSRB or the SEC.
  • The Series 50 content outline is being updated and will be made available on the MSRB web site by July 1, 2016.

Solomon Exam Prep is updating its Series 50 materials based on customer feedback and based on regulatory and MSRB exam outline changes. Solomon Series 50 pilot students who did not pass the Series 50 pilot exam, will receive another 180-days of access to their Solomon Series 50 study materials. Please contact us either by phone at 503.601.0212 or via email (info@solomonexamprep.com) to have your account reset.

Follow us to keep up-to-date with all Series 50 updates and news!

Series 50 Materials – Now Available!

Solomon Exam Prep has been diligently preparing study materials for the Series 50 exam since the MSRB’s announcement of its new Municipal Advisor Representative Qualification Exam. We are happy to announce that our Series 50 study materials are now available to give you plenty of time to study before taking the pilot exam! Continue reading

Series 50 Study PackageSolomon Exam Prep has been diligently preparing study materials for the Series 50 exam since the MSRB’s announcement of its new Municipal Advisor Representative Qualification Exam. An initial pilot exam will be taking place from January 15, 2016 – February 15, 2016. We are happy to announce that our Series 50 study materials are now available to give you plenty of time to study before taking the pilot exam!

Solomon Exam Prep is happy to offer both an Exam Study Guide (digital w/ hardcopy to follow, available for pre-order now) and Online Exam Simulator for the Series 50 exam. You can purchase all the tools you will need to pass in our Series 50 Essentials Study Package and save 10%!

We encourage those needing to take the new Series 50 exam to take the Series 50 pilot exam. This is a great opportunity to take the new exam without any penalties for a failure – the enrollment window is open until January 14, 2016. For more information on the Series 50 pilot exam, see the MSRB website.

We will continue updating our Series 50 materials as the exam becomes more established during and after the pilot exam, and we look forward to helping you pass!

Series 50 Pilot Exam – Register Soon

The MSRB has announced that the Series 50 pilot exam will be available to test-takers from January 15, 2016, to February 15, 2016. Registration for the exam begins on September 21, 2015, and closes January 14, 2016. Continue reading

The MSRB has announced that the Series 50 pilot exam will be available to test-takers from January 15, 2016, to February 15, 2016.  Registration for the exam begins on September 21, 2015, and closes January 14, 2016.

The pilot exam is a precursor to the Series 50 permanent exam, which will be the qualifying exam for municipal advisors. Those who pass the Series 50 pilot exam will not be required to take the permanent exam.

The fee to take the exam is $265. Municipal advisor professionals can be enrolled by submitting Form U10 on the FINRA website. Test-takers will receive their results in the mail 2-3 months after taking the exam. The MSRB does not currently have a projected passing score for the pilot exam, but Gail Marshall, MSRB Associate General Counsel – Enforcement Coordination, says that the passing score for the Series 50 permanent exam “will be determined using the American Psychological Association’s Standards for Education and Psychological testing” and that the process will be supervised by an expert psychometrician.

The pilot exam will contain 120 multiple choice questions, and will begin with a thirty minute tutorial that explains how to take the computerized test. Test-takers will have four hours to take the Series 50 pilot. Although the Series 50 content outline will continue to change as rules are updated, according to the MSRB, there are no expectations that the content outline will change between the pilot exam and the permanent exam.


Series 50 study materials now available: https://solomonexamprep.com/series50