Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam

Available Beginning October 1, 2018

The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE or Essentials) Exam, available beginning October 1, 2018, is a new FINRA exam for prospective securities industry professionals. This introductory-level exam assesses a candidate’s knowledge of basic securities industry information including concepts fundamental to working in the industry, such as types of products and their risks; the structure of the securities industry markets, regulatory agencies and their functions; and prohibited practices.

Overview of the SIE Exam and Exam Restructuring


Join FINRA for the second call in a series of SIE Exam and Exam Restructuring conference calls hosted by senior leaders in FINRA’s Registration and Disclosure Department. This event will include an overview of the introduction of the Securities Industry Essentials Exam and the restructure of representative level qualification exams that will become effective October 1, 2018. The call will conclude with a Q and A portion. Registration is open to the public; however, spots are limited. Senior Director Joe McDonald will discuss:

  • How FINRA’s qualification exam structure is changing,
  • What is covered on the SIE Exam,
  • Who can take the SIE Exam,
  • What effect the changes will have on current registrants, and
  • How to enroll for the SIE Exam.

REGISTER August 15, 2018 • 1 p.m. – 2 p.m., Eastern Time (ET) (1 hour) (For Small Firms)

REGISTER August 15, 2018 • 3 p.m. – 4 p.m., ET (1 hour) (For Medium and Large Firms)

Download slides from the July 31 Exam Restructuring conference call

Key Features of the Essentials Exam


  • The Essentials exam is open to anyone aged 18 or 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.

The Essentials Exam at a Glance


Number of Items 75
Format Multiple Choice
Duration 105 minutes
Passing Score TBD
Cost $60 (proposed)

Content Outline


The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam 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 sections. The table below lists the allocation of exam questions for each section.

Sections Percentage of Exam Questions Number of Exam Questions
(1) Knowledge of Capital Markets 16% 12
(2) Understanding Products and Their Risks 44% 33
(3) Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts and Prohibited Activities 31% 23
(4) Overview of Regulatory Framework 9% 7
TOTAL 100% 75

Registration with a FINRA Member Firm


Passing the Essentials exam alone does not qualify an individual for registration with FINRA or to engage in securities business. In order to become registered to engage in securities business, an individual must pass the Essentials exam and a qualification exam appropriate for the type of business the individual will engage in. The individual must be associated with a member firm to take a qualification exam. The member firm then sponsors the individual to take an exam, such as the General Securities Representative (Series 7) exam. In addition to the individual passing exams, the member firm must satisfy other requirements, such as conducting a background check, before the individual is permitted to engage in securities business.

Learn more about FINRA’s qualification exams.