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News Release

Angelita Williams (202) 728-8988
Ray Pellecchia (212) 858-4387

FINRA Receives SEC Approval to Streamline Competency Exams

Rule Change Expands Entry Opportunities to the Securities Industry

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s rule proposal to streamline competency exams and expand opportunities for prospective securities professionals seeking to enter or re-enter the securities industry.

FINRA today issued Regulatory Notice 17-30 announcing an Oct. 1, 2018, effective date for the rule change.

Under the streamlined structure, all new representative-level applicants will be required to pass a general knowledge examination, the Securities Industry EssentialsTM (SIETM), and a revised representative-level qualification examination, such as the revised General Securities Representative (Series 7) examination, appropriate to their job functions at the firm with which they are associating before their registration can become effective.

These changes align with FINRA360, the comprehensive self-evaluation and organizational improvement initiative FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook launched earlier this year to ensure that FINRA is operating as the most effective self-regulatory organization it can be.

“This is an important change built upon the need to streamline the examination process and eliminate redundancies in qualification and registration requirements,” Cook said. “The new structure brings greater consistency and uniformity to the process for entering and returning to the brokerage industry.”

The new 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 SIE will be available to everyone, including those individuals not associated with member firms. The revised representative-level qualification examinations will test knowledge relevant to day-to-day activities, responsibilities and job functions of representatives.

The restructured program eliminates duplicative testing of general securities knowledge on representative-level examinations and eliminates several representative-level registration categories that have become outdated or have limited utility.

FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity. It regulates one critical part of the securities industry – brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. FINRA, overseen by the SEC, writes rules, examines for and enforces compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws, registers broker-dealer personnel and offers them education and training, and informs the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. To see if your investment professional is regulated by FINRA, please go to BrokerCheck. And for more information, visit