Series 39 - Direct Participation Programs Principal Exam (DP)

The Series 39 exam—the Direct Participation Programs Principal Qualification Examination (DP)—assesses the competency of a direct participation program (DPP) principal candidate to perform his or her job as a DPP principal. The exam measures the degree to which each candidate possesses the knowledge needed to perform the critical functions of a DPP principal, including the rules and statutory provisions applicable to the supervisory management of a broker-dealer that limits its products to direct participation programs.

The Series 39 consists of 100 test questions. Candidates have two hours and 15 minutes to complete the exam. The passing score is 70 percent.

Please see NASD Rule 1022(e) Direct Participation Principal for more information.

Content Outline

The Series 39 - Content Outline provides a comprehensive guide to the range of topics covered on the exam, as well as the depth of knowledge required. It includes sample questions to acquaint candidates with the types of multiple-choice questions on the exam.

The outline consists of three sections:

  • Section 1 - Structure and Regulation of Direct Participation Programs (DPP) Offerings
  • Section 2 - Sales Supervision, General Supervision of Employees, Regulatory Framework of FINRA
  • Section 3 - Compliance with Financial Responsibility Rules

Download: Series 39 - Content Outline


The Series 39 has a prerequisite exam requirement. Candidates must pass one of the following exams to hold the registration:

  • Series 7
  • Series 22

Please see Register a New Candidate for more information on the registration process.

Permitted Activities

Covered supervisory activities and products include regulatory compliance over sales of:

  • Direct participation program limited partnerships (e.g., real estate, oil and gas, and equipment leasing)
  • Limited liability companies
  • S corporations

In addition to sales supervision, the Series 39 qualifies a principal for the overall supervision of a firm’s investment banking and securities business—including compliance, trading, market making, underwriting and advertising—for those activities specially covered by each supervisory principal’s license.

Taking the Exam

The table below lists the allocation of exam questions for each major job function of a DPP principal.

Section Number of Questions
Section 1 - Structure and Regulation of Direct Participation Program (DPP) Offerings 46
Section 2 - Sales Supervision, General Supervision of Employees, Regulatory Framework of FINRA 32
Section 3 - Compliance with Financial Responsibility Rules 22

Learn more about exam protocols and logistics here: On the Day of Your Exam.

Using Reference Material

The test administrator will provide whiteboard/dry erase marker and basic electronic calculators to the candidates, which must be returned to the test center administrator at the end of the testing session. Some test questions involve calculations. Only the provided calculators may be used during the examination.

The examination may contain questions that require the use of exhibits (e.g., charts, graphs, tables). If so, the questions will indicate when to refer to an exhibit.

Candidates are not permitted to bring any reference materials to testing sessions. Severe penalties are imposed on candidates who cheat or attempt to cheat on FINRA administered examinations.

To learn more about logistics and protocols for your exam day, please see On The Day of Your Exam.