Have you heard
about the Series 54?
Do you want to become a Municipal Advisor Principal?
If yes, then you're in luck. The MSRB has announced its plan to establish professional qualification requirements for municipal advisor principals. In the MSRB’s amended Rule G-3, municipal advisor principals – so-called “natural persons” who engage in the management, direction or supervision of the municipal advisory activities of the municipal advisor and its associated persons – must pass the new Municipal Advisor Principal Qualification Examination (also called the Series 54 exam) in order to become qualified as a municipal advisor principal. The amendments also say that for the first 120 calendar days after being designated as a municipal advisor principal by a municipal advisor firm, a municipal advisor representative may act in the capacity of a municipal advisor principal prior to being qualified with the Series 54 examination. This means that municipal advisor principals will have the a 120-day window in which to take the Series 54 exam. Additionally, under the proposed amendments, municipal advisor principals who cease to be associated with a municipal advisor for two or more years at any time after having qualified as a municipal advisor principal would need to re-qualify by examination (that means passing both the Series 50 exam and the Series 54 exam again) unless a waiver is granted by the MSRB.
If you are interested, you can read the MSRB's announcement here.
The MSRB will “pilot” (that is a test run) of the Series 54 exam from February 2019 through June 2019. Municipal advisor principals who want to take the Series 54 pilot exam will have a 2-week period in February in which to sign up for the Series 54 pilot exam via FINRA's CRD and then applicants will have a 120 day window in which to take the exam. No retakes will be permitted. Pass info and scores won't be determined for several months, according to the MSRB. If an individual achieves a passing score or better on the Series 54 exam, the individual will be considered qualified as a municipal advisor principal when the MSRB permanently establishes the Series 54.
Once the Series 54 exam becomes permanently available, most likely in the fall of 2019, anyone who engages in the management, direction or supervision of the municipal advisory activities of the municipal advisor and its associated persons will have a year to become qualified as a municipal advisor principal. During this one-year grace period, individuals acting in the capacity of a municipal advisor principal, who have passed the Series 50 examination, will be permitted to continue to engage in municipal advisor principal activity. The MSRB is providing the one-year grace period to give municipal advisor principals time prepare for and pass the Series 54 exam without disruption to their business.
The Series 54 will consist of 110 multiple choice questions (100 scored and 10 unscored). Test-takers are not informed which are the 10 unscored questions. Test-takers will have three and a half hours to take the Series 54 exam. Every scored question is worth one point and there is no penalty for guessing -- so test-takers should try to answer all questions.
The MSRB Series 54 exam writers organized the 100 scored questions in the following three functions:
Function 1: Understanding the Municipal Advisor Regulatory Framework (25 questions)
Function 2: Supervising Municipal Advisory Activities (35 questions)
Function 3: Supervising Municipal Advisor Firm Operations (40 questions)
Every test-taker receives a unique sample of 100 questions that are drawn from the collection of test questions available for the Series 54. Like FINRA and NASAA securities licensing exams, the MSRB ranks test questions by difficulty, although it does not make this information publicly available, to insure that the overall difficulty of every person's Series 54 exam is the same.
Like the Series 53, the Series 24 and other principal-level securities exams, the regulators want the municipal advisor principal candidates to know their business and, most important, they want applicants to know the supervisory rules. This means a lot of memorization. For example, the Series 54 content outline lists the following items:
- Duty owed (i.e., standards of conduct) for the relationship with municipal entities and obligated person clients (Section 15B(c)(1); MSRB Rule G-42(a)(i)-(ii); Supp. Material .01 and .02)
- Understand the definition of solicitation and relationship between third-party solicitors and non-solicitors (Section 15B(e)(4)(A); Section 15B(e)(9))
- Books and records to be made and maintained (SEC Rule 15Ba1-8; MSRB Rule G-8(h) and MSRB Rule G-9(h)-(k))
- Initial filing and amendments to Form MA (SEC Rule 15Ba1-2 and SEC Rule 15Ba1-5)
If you are interested in reading the MSRB's Series 54 exam content outline, click here.
Solomon Exam Prep has helped thousands pass MSRB licensing exams including the Series 50, 51, 52 and 53. Solomon Exam Prep has also helped thousands pass FINRA and NASAA securities licensing exams including the Series 3, 6, 7, 24, 26, 27, 28, 63, 65, 66, 79, 82, 99 and the new Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam.
Solomon Exam Prep recommends anyone who wants to become a Municipal Advisor Principal take the Series 54 pilot exam.
Questions? Contact Jeremy Solomon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Solomon Exam Prep plans to launch a Series 54 exam study guide in the first quarter of 2019. If you are interested in being notified when Solomon's Series 54 exam study guide becomes available, please sign up below!