MSRB Municipal Advisor Principal Qualification Examination

Why do I have to take the Series 54?

The good people at the MSRB follow the same playbook as their cousins at FINRA: municipal advisors must designate principals to supervise municipal advisory activities and associated persons. These lucky individuals are responsible for establishing and enforcing compliance procedures at the firm. If supervisory procedures are not put in place or are not effective and violations occur, the MSRB may decide that a principal or 

firm is as culpable as the rule violator for “failure to supervise.” To make sure that principals are up to the task, Municipal Advisor Principals must be able to show mastery of municipal advisory knowledge and, especially, municipal advisor regulations—which is why you are required to study and pass the Series 54. The buck has to stop with someone, and if you pass the Series 54, that someone will be you.

What does a Series 54 license allow me to do?

The Series 54 qualifies individuals to manage, direct, and supervise municipal advisory activities such as:

  • Providing advice about municipal financial products
  • Providing advice about the issuance of municipal securities
  • Soliciting municipal entities to invest in financial products
  • Soliciting municipal entities to issue municipal securities

What is the Series 54 pilot exam?

The pilot exam is a precursor to the Series 54 permanent exam, and it gives the MSRB an opportunity to try out its exam questions and determine a passing score for the exam.  The pilot exam will be administered from March –July 2019. 

When will the permanent Series 54 exam be available?

The MSRB has stated that the permanent Series 54 exam is expected to be available sometime in the fall of 2019. 

If I pass the pilot exam, will I have to take the permanent exam as well?

No, a passing score on the pilot exam will qualify you as a Municipal Advisor Principal.

What happens if I don’t pass the Series 54 pilot exam?

If you fail the Series 54 pilot exam, you must wait to take the permanent Series 54 exam when it becomes available. 

What score do I need to pass the Series 54 pilot exam?

Your score will be equal to the number of scored questions that you get correct. At this time, the MSRB has not determined what the passing score will be, but passing scores for securities exams are usually 70% or higher. For the Series 54 pilot, the MSRB says that exam results will “be communicated to individuals by the end of summer 2019.”

How many questions are on the exam?

The Series 54 exam is made up of 110 multiple-choice questions covering all three sections of the MSRB exam outline. One hundred of the questions are scored, while 10 questions are unscored. The unscored questions will be randomly distributed throughout the exam and do not count for scoring purposes.

How much time do I have to complete the exam?

You get three and one half hours to complete the test.  This time includes a 30-minute tutorial on exam administration

What subjects does the Series 54 pilot exam test?

Topically, the Series 54 is divided into three parts:

  • Part One—Understanding the Municipal Advisor Regulatory Framework—25 questions (25%)
  • Part Two—Supervising Municipal Advisory Activities—35 questions (35%)
  • Part Three—Supervising Municipal Advisor Firm Operations—40 questions (40%)

How do I enroll to take the Series 54 pilot exam?

Your municipal advisor firm must use FINRA’s Test Enrollment Services System (TESS) to enroll you in the Series 54 pilot. Once your exam enrollment request has been processed by FINRA, FINRA will send you an email notification, allowing you to schedule an appointment with a Prometric testing center. You must schedule a time to take the Series 54 pilot within your 120–calendar day enrollment period. 

How do I schedule an appointment with a Prometric testing center to take the Series 54 pilot?

An appointment can be made by contacting the Prometric testing center either using the online web registration page or by phone:

Prometric: or 800-578-6273 (toll free)

If you choose to call a selected testing center to schedule the exam, the call center representative will need the following information:

  • Your name and unique ID number given to you upon completing the TESS enrollment process
  • Your phone number
  • The name of the qualifying examination or its identifying series ID (i.e., Municipal Advisor Principal Qualification Examination or Series 54)