Registration, Testing and Qualifications
Any securities professional associated with a member firm—including partners, officers, directors, branch managers, department supervisors, and salespersons—must register with FINRA. The registration application requires information about the individual's prior employment and disciplinary history. FINRA prescribes two levels of qualification and registration:
As part of the registration process, securities professionals must pass examinations administered by FINRA to demonstrate competence in the areas in which they will work. These mandatory qualification examinations cover a broad range of subjects on the markets, as well as the securities industry and its regulatory structure, ensuring a minimum level of understanding and expertise. The areas in which candidates are tested include federal securities laws; Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and FINRA rules and regulations; securities products; the operation and interrelation of financial markets; economic theory and kinds of risk; corporate financing, accounting, and balance sheet analyses; portfolio theory and analysis; fair sales practices, including solicitation and presentation; types of customer accounts; and tax treatment of various investments.
Prospective principals of securities firms must pass additional examinations that test their knowledge of supervisory rules in the areas of investment banking, trading and market making, retail sales activities, and financial responsibility rules. Financial and operational principals must further demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the requirements regarding recordkeeping, net capital, customer reserves, financial reporting, and credit.
In addition to its own examinations, FINRA administers examinations for the securities industry and the states to individuals seeking to become registered representatives or principals of securities firms.
PROCTOR® is a computer system specifically designed for the administration and delivery of computer-based testing and training. Through PROCTOR, FINRA offers a variety of exams and training sessions at various sites worldwide. For a listing of testing centers and their hours of operation, view the exam locations or contact the Gateway Call Center at (301) 590-6500.
You should be aware of two major features of PROCTOR-administered sessions:
FINRA administers the following sessions on the PROCTOR system:
1-3 National Commodity Futures Exam
1-4 Registered Options Principal Exam
1-6 Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative Exam
1-7 General Securities Representative Exam
1-9 General Securities Sales Supervisor-Options Module
1-10 General Securities Sales Supervisor-General Module
1-11 Assistant Representative-Order Processing Qualification Exam
1-14 NYSE Compliance Officer Examination
1-17 Limited Registered Representative Exam
1-22 Direct Participation Programs Representative Exam
1-23 General Securities Principal Sales Supervisor Module
1-24 General Securities Principal Exam
1-26 Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Principal Exam
1-27 Financial and Operations Principal Exam
1-28 Introducing Broker/Dealer Financial and Operations Principal Exam
1-30 Branch Managers Exam—Futures
1-31 Futures Managed Funds Exam
1-32 Limited Futures Exam—Regulation
1-34 Retail Off-Exchange Forex Examination
1-37 Canada Module of the General Securities Registered Representative Exam (with options questions)
1-38 Canada Module of the General Securities Registered Representative Exam
1-39 Direct Participation Programs Principal Exam
1-42 Registered Options Limited Representative Exam
1-51 Municipal Fund Securities Principal Exam
1-52 Municipal Securities Representative Exam
1-53 Municipal Securities Principal Exam
1-55 Limited Representative-Equity Trader Exam
1-56 Proprietary Traders Examination
1-62 Corporate Securities Limited Representative Exam
1-63 Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam
1-65 Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam
1-66 Uniform Combined State Law Exam
1-72 Government Securities Representative Exam
1-79 Limited Representative – Investment Banking
1-82 Limited Representative-Private Securities Offerings Exam
1-86 Research Analyst Part 1 Analysis Module
1-87 Research Analyst Part II Regulations Module
1-99 Operations Professional Examination
1-161 Supervisory Analyst Part I
1-162 Supervisory Analyst Part II
Continuing Education Regulatory Element Programs
2-101 General Program
2-106 Series 6 Program for Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representatives
2-201 Supervisor Program
2-501 Proprietary Trader Program
2-901 Operations Professional Program
Before scheduling an appointment to take an exam, your firm must file the proper application form through the Web CRD system. A scheduling window will be posted on Web CRD system upon approval. For individuals associated with non-FINRA member firms, FINRA Field Support Services will send a PROCTOR enrollment confirmation to you or your firm.
For the Continuing Education Program, you automatically become registered upon your anniversary date. The Web CRD system notifies your firm of the enrollment period via an electronic notification to your "CE Required" Firm Queue.
After your firm receives your enrollment notification, you can call either Pearson VUE or Prometric to schedule your session at a convenient delivery location:
Due to the many sessions administered, you should schedule your session as far in advance as possible in order to secure an appointment on a desired date. In addition to the desired appointment date, the test delivery vendor will need to know:
You cannot schedule an appointment past the expiration date of your 120-day enrollment. If your enrollment expires, FINRA will require you to submit a new request, along with applicable fees. You must accept any appointment time available within the remaining enrollment period. However, if you attempt to schedule an appointment at one of your area testing centers at least 10 business days before your enrollment expires, and there are no appointment times available with either testing vendor (Pearson or Prometric), FINRA may extend your enrollment to the next available appointment.
Extensions will not be granted if you call after the expiration date. Extensions will also be denied if:
In no case will more than one extension be granted for an enrollment.
You may make an appointment for two or more different exams on the same day (i.e., a FINRA exam and the state law exam), but you must make a separate appointment for each of the exams when contacting the vendor to schedule the exam date. Such arrangements will depend on the appointment availability at the delivery location.
To avoid cancellation or reschedule fees, candidates seeking to alter a scheduled FINRA qualification examination or Regulatory Element Continuing Education (Regulatory Element) session must do so a minimum of 10 business days in advance. Appointments cancelled or rescheduled within 10 business days will result in the assessment of one of the following fees:
Three – 10 Business Day Cancellation/Reschedule Fee: Individuals who cancel or reschedule an appointment within three – 10 business days of a scheduled appointment will be assessed a cancellation/reschedule fee as outlined in the Three – 10 Business Day Cancellation/Reschedule Fee Table. At the time of rescheduling, these fees will be collected by the testing vendor with whom the candidate has scheduled the appointment.
Late Cancellation/Reschedule Fee (Within Two Business Days of Appointment): Individuals who cancel or reschedule an appointment within two business days of a scheduled appointment, or who fail to show up for a scheduled exam or Regulatory Element session, will incur a fee equal to the fee of the examination or session being cancelled or rescheduled. FINRA will charge this fee to the individual’s firm. Similarly, if an individual arrives so late that the examination or session cannot begin without disturbing the delivery location schedule for that date, FINRA will charge the individual’s firm a cancellation/reschedule fee. Non-member candidates who wish to cancel or reschedule an appointment within two business days, or who fail to show up for a scheduled exam or session, are required to open a new enrollment window (and pay the associated exam or session fee) prior to scheduling a new appointment.
The cancellation or reschedule will be considered timely if effected according to the following schedule:
|Appointment is Scheduled for:||To avoid late cancellation/reschedule fee (within two business days of appointment), appointment must be cancelled or rescheduled by midnight, Eastern Time (ET), on:||To avoid three – 10 business day cancel/reschedule fee, appointment must be cancelled or rescheduled by midnight, ET, on:|
|Sunday, Monday||Wednesday of the preceding week||Sunday two weeks before|
|Tuesday||Thursday of the preceding week||Monday two weeks before|
|Wednesday||Sunday of the same week||Tuesday two weeks before|
|Thursday||Monday of the same week||Wednesday two weeks before|
|Friday||Tuesday of the same week||Thursday two weeks before|
|Saturday||Wednesday of the same week||Friday two weeks before|
For additional details of the late cancellation or rescheduling fees, see FINRA’s Cancellation and Reschedule Policy.
You should arrive at the authorized PROCTOR delivery center about 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. To gain admission to the center, you must provide one valid form of identification with your signature and your picture as issued by a government agency, such as a valid driver's license, passport, or military ID. If you do not have ID that is adequate, you must cancel your appointment until you obtain a proper ID. You are also required to sign the center's "sign-in log," agree to the rules of conduct and provide image/biometric capture. Candidates refusing to abide by a vendor’s security procedure and/or protocol will be refused entry to the test center, and a late cancel fee will be charged to the candidate’s firm.
FINRA sessions are closed-book. When you enter the center, you are not allowed to bring personal possessions, such as books, briefcases, and notes into the testing room. You may take only authorized material issued by center staff to the testing room. Neither the center staff nor FINRA is responsible for articles you are not allowed to bring to your session. The center staff will provide an erasable note board and dry erase markers for use during the session. All materials, including erasable note boards and pens, must be returned to the center staff at the end of the session.
A calculator will be provided by the center staff to you. Do not bring a calculator with you for your exam—you will not be allowed to use it.
Severe penalties may be imposed on you if you cheat on a FINRA-administered exam. Any violation of the FINRA Test Center Rules of Conduct will subject you to possible disciplinary action by FINRA, another self-regulatory organization, or the Securities and Exchange Commission and could result in you being barred from employment/association with any securities dealer and forfeiture of your test results.
The process for taking an exam or training on the PROCTOR system is user-friendly—no previous computer experience is necessary. Before starting your session, an introductory lesson will familiarize you with the PROCTOR system and help you understand how the system operates.
Features of the PROCTOR system used for exam delivery include:
FINRA identifies the appropriate sections and the number of questions in each section in the exam specifications. The PROCTOR system then randomly selects the questions for your exam on a section-by-section basis from the appropriate question bank. The system automatically tracks the difficulty level of each question and enforces selection criteria that will assure that each candidate receives an exam of comparable difficulty. Once the system measures and accepts an exam for presentation to you, it sequences the questions.
You may review any question at any time before the allowed testing time for your exam expires. The introductory lesson demonstrates how to answer questions and flags them if you want to review them later.
At the end of the allowed testing time or when you voluntarily stop your exam, the system determines your score and displays a grade result on the computer. The grade report will show whether you passed the exam. You will receive a printout of the score results when you sign-out with the test center administrator. Within two business days, FINRA posts the results to the Web CRD system.
When beginning your continuing education requirement a voluntary Introduction/Orientation session will be made available to help familiarize you with the layout, design, and functionalities used in the Program. Features include:
For continuing education, at the end of your session, you will be given a report indicating whether you completed the session. Within two business days, FINRA posts the results to the Web CRD system.
Equipment problems do occasionally occur; normally center staff can quickly correct any difficulty you experience while taking a session. If you notice any malfunction with your computer, tell the center administrator immediately.
If the system malfunction lasts more than 30 minutes, you may choose to end your session. FINRA will re-enroll you and you will have to schedule a new appointment with the vendor. The scheduling staff will schedule as timely an appointment as possible.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Candidates
FINRA, in compliance with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), provides testing modifications and aids to candidates with disabilities and/or learning impairments that substantially limit a major life activity (e.g., learning, speaking, hearing, vision). FINRA makes arrangements to offer examinations/sessions in a place and manner appropriate to persons with disabilities according to the ADA.
Candidates are required to submit the FINRA Special Accommodations Eligibility Questionnaire and Special Accommodations Verification Request Form for all special arrangement requests. If the appropriate forms are not completed, the request cannot be considered. While candidates are free to suggest any sort of accommodation, FINRA will make the final decision on what accommodation(s) can be provided. Decisions will be made on a case by case basis based on the documentation submitted.
For additional assistance regarding this procedure, contact FINRA's Field Support Services department at (800) 999-6647, Option 2.
Limited English Proficiency (formerly known as English as a Second Language)
FINRA provides candidates with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) additional time to complete a FINRA-administered qualification examination or Regulatory Element Continuing Education (CE) Session provided they follow certain protocols. Candidates with LEP are persons who do not speak English as their primary language and have limited ability to read, speak, write or understand English. Please note that this LEP request process replaces the process formerly referred to as English as a second language (ESL). View the LEP process for complete information.
For exams up to two hours, an extra 30 minutes will be added to the session. For exams longer than two hours and for any CE sessions, an extra 60 minutes will be added to the session. For the Series 7 examination, an extra 30 minutes will be added to each part of the exam.
Please note: LEP candidates should not schedule their exams online or through a local test center. Both of FINRA’s test delivery vendors require that LEP candidates schedule their exams through their National Registration Centers. You may reach Prometric at (800) 578-6273 and Pearson VUE at (866) 396-6273.
The following holidays will be observed by all exam/training locations:
For information regarding testing abroad, please refer to the International Test Centers Policies & Procedures page.
If you have questions on PROCTOR enrollments, PROCTOR appointment scheduling problems, or score reports, inform the appropriate office personnel of your sponsoring firm. They are authorized to deal directly with FINRA's Registration & Disclosure department.
Questions on the substantive content of any FINRA-administered exam may be directed to the FINRA Gateway Call Center at (301) 590-6500.