Exam Restructuring

Beginning October 1, 2018

FINRA is restructuring its representative-level qualification exam program by creating the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE or Essentials) exam and revising the representative-level qualification exams.

The program is being restructured to:

  1. Reduce duplicative testing of general knowledge when taking exams to register in multiple categories, and
  2. Make it easier for individuals to enter the securities industry.

The restructured program eliminates duplicative testing of general knowledge by moving such content to the SIE. The SIE will test fundamental securities-related knowledge, including knowledge of basic products; the structure and function of the securities industry, the regulatory agencies and their functions; and regulated and prohibited practices. The revised representative-level qualification exams will test knowledge relevant to day-to-day activities, responsibilities and job functions of representatives.

Key Features of the Essentials Exam


  • The Essentials exam is open to anyone aged 18 and older, including students and prospective candidates interested in demonstrating basic industry knowledge to potential employers.
  • Association with a firm is not required, and individuals are permitted to take the exam before or after associating with a firm.
  • Essentials exam results are valid for four years.

View more information on the Securities Industry Essentials Exam.

For more information on Exam Restructuring, see FINRA Regulatory Notice 17-30.

Comparison Between Current and Future Representative-Level Qualification Exam Requirements

Before October 1, 2018 Registration Categories On or After October 1, 2018
Series 6
100 Questions
Investment Company Representative (IR)

SIE
75 Questions +

Series 6
50 Questions

Series 7
250 Questions
General Securities Representative (GS)

SIE
75 Questions +

Series 7
125 Questions

Series 22
100 Questions
DPP Representative (DR)

SIE
75 Questions +

Series 22
50 Questions

Series 57
125 Questions
Securities Trader (TD)

SIE
75 Questions +

Series 57
50 Questions

Series 79
175 Questions
Investment Banking Representative (IB)

SIE
75 Questions +

Series 79
75 Questions

Series 82
100 Questions
Private Securities Offerings Representative (PR)

SIE
75 Questions +

Series 82
50 Questions

Series 7 + Series 86 + Series 87
250 Questions + 100 Questions + 50 Questions
Research Analyst (RS)

SIE
75 Questions +

Series 86 + Series 87
100 Questions + 50 Questions

Series 99
100 Questions
Operations Professional (OS)

SIE
75 Questions +

Series 99
50 Questions

Exam Windows During the Transition Period


Individuals who apply for registration as a representative prior to September 30, 2018, will be required to pass the current representative-level exam appropriate to that registration category, not the revised version. In addition, such individuals will not be required to pass the SIE in order to register as a representative.

However, if such individuals fail to pass the current representative-level exam and the next eligibility date for retaking the exam is on or after October 1, 2018, they will be required to pass the SIE and the revised representative-level qualification exam in order to register as a representative. Such individuals may take the SIE and the revised representative-level exam at the next available date on or after October 1, 2018. These individuals would not have to wait the requisite period for retaking a failed exam because the SIE and the revised representative-level exams are different exams than the current representative-level exams.

Credit for SIE


Individuals holding the following registrations will be granted credit for the SIE in their CRD record on October 1, 2018:

Registration Registration Code
Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative IR
General Securities Representative GS
United Kingdom Securities Representative IE
Direct Participation Programs Representative DR
Canada Securities Representative (With Options) CD
Canada Securities Representative (No Options) CN
Options Representative OR
Securities Trader TD
Corporate Securities Representative CS
Government Securities Representative RG
Investment Banking Representative IB
Privates Securities Offerings Representative PR
Research Analyst RS
Operations Professional (unless obtained through S14, S16, S27 or S28) OS

Individuals whose registration as one of the above representative was terminated between October 1, 2014, and September 30, 2018, also will be granted credit for the SIE, provided they re-register as a representative within four years from the date of their last registration. For example, an individual was last registered as a General Securities Representative on April 1, 2016. He joins a firm on November 1, 2018, and applies to re-register as a General Securities Representative. He would need to pass the revised General Securities Representative (Series 7) exam but would not have to take the SIE because November 1, 2018, is within four years of the date of his last registration.

Holders of UK and Canadian Registrations


Starting October 1, 2018, individuals holding appropriate registrations in the UK or Canada are eligible for exemption from taking the SIE. Firms will request the applicable registration and follow a waiver request process to be described in the near future. Waivers granted under this process will be conditional on passing the qualification exam for the requested registration.

Waivers


Waivers of the SIE will only be considered for individuals associated with a FINRA member for which the member is requesting a FINRA registration.

Retired Exams


The following exams will be retired with the effectiveness of exam restructuring and, beginning on October 1, 2018, individuals will no longer be able to request the following registration categories associated with the retired exams. Individuals registered in these categories will be permitted to continue holding these registrations unless they terminate these registrations for a period of two years or more.

Registration Category Series Exam
Assistant Representative — Order Processing (AR) 11
United Kingdom Securities Representative (IE) 17
Canada Securities Representative — with options (CD) 37
Canada Securities Representative — no options (CN) 38
Registered Options Representative (OR) 42
Corporate Securities Representative (CS) 62
Government Securities Limited Representative (RG) 72

In order to take an exam listed above, an individual must have an exam enrollment window start date on or before September 30, 2018. If the individual fails the exam within the 30 days prior to October 1, 2018, they will not be permitted to take the exam again. Instead they will need to take the SIE and the appropriate qualification exam required to perform their job responsibilities.

FINRA will be updating this page over the course of the next year. Check back for additional information.