Series 86 and 87 - Research Analyst Exam

The Series 86/87 exam — the Research Analyst Exam — assesses the competency of an entry-level registered representative to perform their job as a research analyst.

The Series 86/87 exam measures the degree to which each candidate possesses the knowledge needed to perform the critical functions of a research analyst, including preparation of written or electronic communications that analyze equity securities and/or companies and industry sectors.

Effective October 1, 2018, to obtain the Research Analyst representative registration, candidates must pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam and a revised Series 86/87 exam to obtain the Research Analyst registration. For more information about the SIE and Series 86/87 exam, refer to FINRA Rule 1210 and FINRA Rule 1220(b)(6).

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Series 86/87 at a Glance


Number of Items S86: 100
S87: 50
Format Multiple Choice
Duration S86: 270 minutes
S87: 105 minutes
Passing Score S86: 73%
S87: 74%
Corequisite SIE exam
Cost S86: $185
S87: $130

Content Outline


The Series 86/87 Content Outline provides a comprehensive guide to the range of topics covered on the exam, as well as the depth of knowledge required. The outline is comprised of the four main job functions of a research analyst. The table below lists the allocation of exam questions for each main job function.

Part 1 (Series 86)

Major Job Functions Percentage of Exam Questions Number of Questions
(F1) Information and Data Collection 10% 10
(F2) Analysis, Modeling and Valuation 90% 90
TOTAL 100% 100

Part 2 (Series 87)

Major Job Functions Percentage of Exam Questions Number of Questions
(F1) Preparation of Research Reports 64% 32
(F2) Dissemination of Information 36% 18
TOTAL 100% 50

Eligibility


Candidates must be associated with and sponsored by a FINRA member firm or other applicable self-regulatory organization (SRO) member firm to be eligible to take FINRA qualifications exams. For more information on eligibility requirements, refer to FINRA Rule 1220(b)(7).

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

The SIE exam is a corequisite for the revised Series 86/87 exam. Candidates must pass both the Series 86/87 exam and the SIE exam to obtain the research analyst registration.

A candidate who meets one of the following requirements is permitted to request an exemption from the Series 86 exam (Part I).

  • Passed both Level I and Level II of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Exam
  • Passed both Level I and Level II of the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) Certification Exam

For additional information on the Series 86 exemption, see FINRA 1220(b)(6)(B) Qualifications.

Permitted Activities


Covered research analyst activities include preparation of written or electronic communications that analyze equity securities and/or companies and industry sectors.

Key Questions


1. What registration and qualification requirements must supervisors of registered research analysts possess?

All registered FINRA research analysts must be supervised by a research principal who will be required, in addition to passing the General Securities Principal exam (Series 24), to also pass either 1) the SIE exam and the Research Analyst exams (Series 86 and Series 87), or 2) the Supervisory Analyst Examination (Series 16).

2. Are "sell-side" equity analysts required to register as research analysts and pass the Series 86/87?

Yes. The registration and qualification requirements of Rule 1220(b)(6) do not distinguish between "sell-side" and "buy-side" analysts. Any person who prepares written or electronic communications that includes an analysis of equity securities and sufficient information upon which to base an investment decision would be required to register as a research analyst.

3. Does FINRA Rule 1220(b)(6) apply to everyone who works in equity research or just those who write a research report that will be seen by the public?

Rule 1220(b)(6) applies to associated persons who prepare publicly disseminated research reports. Associated persons who prepare reports for use only by a member's sales force, money managers, or other employees of the firm, and who do not have reason to believe that the reports will be redistributed publicly, would not be subject to this rule.

4. Is a research analyst who is employed by a foreign broker-dealer affiliate of a FINRA member required to register pursuant to Rule 1220(b)(6) if the member uses that analyst's research reports or distributes in the United States in accordance with SEC Rule 15a-6?

A "research analyst" employed by a non-member affiliate of a FINRA member is not required to register as a research analyst pursuant to Rule 1220(b)(6) unless the research analyst is an "associated person" of the FINRA member as that term is defined in the FINRA By-Laws.