Frequently Asked Questions

Series 53 - MSRB Municipal Securities Principal Qualification Exam

  • About the Series 53

  • 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
    • training of principals or representatives
  • 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 subjects does the Series 53 exam test?

    The Series 53 tests your knowledge of six topic areas:

    • Federal Regulations – 4 questions (4%)
    • General Supervision – 23 questions (23%)
    • Sales Supervision – 25 questions (25%)
    • Origination and Syndication – 23 questions (23%)
    • Trading – 10 questions (10%)
    • Operations – 15 questions (15%)

  • Are there any prerequisites for the Series 53?

    The Series 52, Municipal Securities Representative Qualification Exam, and the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam are co-requisites. However, if you had passed the FINRA Series 7 exam before November 7, 2011, then that qualifies you to take the Series 53.

  • Preparing for the Series 53

  • How long should I prepare for the Series 53 exam?

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

  • How should I prepare for the Series 53 exam?

    Solomon offers a complete Series 53 study program, which includes digital Study Guide and Exam Simulator. Visit the Solomon Series 53 page to learn more.

  • Taking the Series 53

  • Do I need to be sponsored to take the Series 53?

    Yes. As with all MSRB exams, you must be sponsored by a firm to take the Series 53 exam.

  • How much does the Series 53 exam cost?

    The cost of the exam is $265.

  • How many questions are on the Series 53 exam?

    There are 100 multiple-choice questions.

  • How long is the Series 53 exam?

    You have 3 hours to complete the exam.

  • What score do I need to pass the Series 53 exam?

    You must score 70% or higher to pass. Note that 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).

  • Registration

  • 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.