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Series 4 – Registered Options Principal Exam

The Series 4 exam — the Registered Options Principal Qualification Exam (OP) — assesses the competency of an entry-level principal to perform their job as a registered options principal.

The exam measures the degree to which each candidate possesses the knowledge needed to perform the critical functions of a registered options principal, including the rules and statutory provisions applicable to the supervisory management of a firm’s options personnel, accounts and trading, as well as exchange rules and regulations applicable to the trading of options contracts.

In addition to the Series 4 exam, candidates must pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam and the General Securities Representative Exam (Series 7) to hold the Registered Options Principal registration. For more information about the Series 4 exam, refer to FINRA Rule 1210 and FINRA Rule 1220(a)(8).

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 4 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 six major job functions of an options principal. The table below lists the allocation of exam items for each major job function:

Major Job Functions Number of Exam Items
(F1) Supervise the Opening of New Options Accounts 21
(F2) Supervise Options Account Activities 25
(F3) Supervise General Options Trading 30
(F4) Supervise Options Communications 9
(F5) Implement Practices and Adhere to Regulatory Requirements 12
(F6) Supervise Associated Persons and Personnel Management Activities 28


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 4 has corequisite exam requirements. Candidates must pass the SIE and Series 7 exams to hold the Registered Options 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 trading, market making, underwriting and advertising of:

  • Equity options
  • Foreign currency options
  • Interest rate options
  • Index options
  • Options on government and mortgage-backed securities