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Series 26 – Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Principal Exam

The Series 26 exam — the Investment Company and Variable contracts Products Principal Qualification Exam (IP) — assesses the competency of an entry-level principal to perform their job as an investment company and variable products principal.

The exam measures the degree to which each candidate possesses the knowledge needed to perform the critical functions of an investment company and variable products principal, including the rules and statutory provisions applicable to the supervisory management of companies registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940.

In addition to the Series 26 exam, candidates must pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam and the Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative Exam (Series 6) or General Securities Representative Exam (Series 7) to hold the Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Principal registration. 

For more information about the Series 26 exam, refer to FINRA Rule 1210 and FINRA Rule 1220(a)(11).

COVID-19 Guidance on FINRA-Administered Exams

FINRA and Prometric take the health and well-being of our community as a top priority. In response to the recent guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to the growing concerns about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Prometric is closing its testing centers in the United States and Canada for a period of 30 days, starting March 18, 2020. Candidates who have an existing appointment will receive an email from Prometric with instructions on how to reschedule their appointment to a future date; rescheduling fees will not be applied. To change an existing appointment scheduled over 30 days (April 16 or later) or to schedule a new appointment, please access the Prometric website.

Additionally, FINRA is aware of the challenges that COVID-19 is presenting for our candidates who want to take exams. FINRA will extend all enrollment windows that are currently open and scheduled to expire by the end of May. Each FINRA-administered exam enrollment end date will be extended through the same end date of May 31, 2020. 

Please visit FINRA’s COVID-19 / Coronavirus page for complete updates and guidance.


Content Outline

The Series 26 Content Outline provides a comprehensive guide to the range of subjects covered on the exam, as well as the depth of knowledge required. 

The outline is comprised of the three major job functions of an investment company variable products principal. The table below lists the allocation of exam items for each major job function.

Major Job Functions Number of
Exam Items
(F1) Personnel Management Activities and Registration of the Broker-Dealer 16
(F2) Supervises Associated Persons and Oversees Sales Practices 49
(F3) Oversees Compliance and Business Processes of the Broker-Dealer and its Offices 45


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 principal-level qualification exams. For more information on registration requirements, refer to FINRA Rule 1210.

The Series 26 has corequisite exam requirements. Candidates must pass the SIE and the Series 6 or Series 7 exams to hold the Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Principal registration. 

For more information on the registration process, see Register a New Candidate.

Permitted Activities

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

    • Closed-end funds (initial offering only)
    • Mutual funds
    • Variable annuities
    • Variable life insurance