Series 53 - MSRB Municipal Securities Principal Qualification Exam

  • How long should I prepare for this exam?

    We recommend studying 60 hours over a four-week period.

  • What does a Series 53 license allow me to do?

    The municipal securities principal bears primary responsibility for overseeing the municipal securities activities of a securities firm or bank dealer. In this capacity, a municipal securities principal MANAGES, DIRECTS or SUPERVISES one or more of the following activities:

    • underwriting of municipal securities;
    • trading of municipal securities;
    • buying or selling municipal securities from or to customers;
    • rendering of financial advisory or consultant services to issuers of municipal securities;
    • communications with customers about any of the above activities;
    • maintaining records on the above activities;
    • processing, clearing, and (in the case of securities firms) safekeeping of municipal securities; and
    • training of principals or representatives. 

    *This information came directly from the MSRB Rules and Interpretations:

  • Is my firm required to have a principal with a Series 53?

    MSRB Rule G-3 requires that all brokers and dealers that conduct municipals securities business have at least two municipal securities principals (individuals who have passed the Series 53 exam). 

    Exceptions to this rule include:

    • Dealers that are members of a registered securities association, such as FINRA, and conduct a general securities business; and  
    • Dealers (including bank dealers) having fewer than eleven full-time employees engaged in the performance of its municipal securities activities. 
    These exceptions need to have at least one municipal securities principal.

    For those firms whose municipal securities activities are limited exclusively to municipal fund securities, a municipal fund securities limited principal (Series 51) may be counted toward the numerical requirement of two municipal securities principals.

  • What score do I need to pass the exam?

    70% (Please Note: Your score will be 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 53 Exam).

  • How many questions are on the exam?


  • How long is the exam?

    3 Hours

  • What subjects does the Series 53 exam test?

    The Series 53 is divided into six areas:

    Federal Regulations   4% 

    General Supervision   21%

    Sales Supervision   29%

    Origination and Syndication   22%

    Trading   8%

    Operations   16%

  • Are there other FINRA exams I need to complete as a prerequisite to attempting the Series 53?

    Yes, the Series 52. However, if you had taken and passed the Series 7 prior to November 7, 2011 you would qualify.

  • How much does the exam cost?

    The cost of the exam is $265 at this writing.

  • If I stop working for my firm, how long will my Series 53 license remain active?

    You will have two years between jobs before the license expires.

    When you cease working for a firm, your employer will file a Form U5 to terminate your registration. Your next employer will file a Form U4, which will re-register you. As long as you do not exceed two years between employers, your Series 53 license will remain active. 

General exam questions? See our general FAQs.

For information about Solomon Exam Prep’s Series 53 exam study materials, please click here.