What Is the SIE Exam and Why Did FINRA Establish It?

The SIE Exam is a FINRA-administered exam that’s required for any person who’s interested in starting a career in the securities industry. Passing the SIE alone doesn’t qualify a person for registration with a FINRA member firm or qualify them to engage in securities business. Instead, the SIE Exam is the prerequisite to becoming registered with a member firm. FINRA established it to reduce the duplication of content that’s found on multiple exams and to cover general industry knowledge.

The SIE Is the Door to the Securities Industry

The SIE Exam can be taken by any person who’s age 18 or older. The exam consists of 75 multiple-choice questions, and the minimum required passing score is 70%. It’s actually perfect for students and career-changers who want to demonstrate their basic securities industry knowledge to prospective employers. Also, there’s no need for sponsorship or firm association to take the exam. By proactively taking and passing the SIE Exam, you indicate how serious you are about entering the industry and starting your career.

The SIE Exam Ensures a Base of Knowledge

A person’s ability to pass the SIE Exam is based on a solid understanding of basic regulations and concepts of the financial services industry. When you take the SIE Exam, you’re tested on your general knowledge of capital markets, products and their risks, trading, customer accounts, prohibited activities, and the industry’s regulatory framework. Essentially, a person who passes the SIE Exam is assuring clients that they have a foundation of knowledge that will continue to grow stronger.

After passing the SIE Exam, you’ll need to take and pass a qualification (Series) exam, which permits you to sell certain securities or to work in specialized areas of a firm. However, to take a qualification exam, you must be sponsored by or have an association with a member firm.

Qualification (Series) Exams Allow You to Specialize

Once you’ve passed the SIE Exam and established sponsorship, your firm may offer you many different opportunities. Some of the areas in which you may choose to focus include investment banking, equity or debt trading, compliance, research, retirement planning, and financial planning. Of course, regardless of the path you take, it all starts with passing the SIE Exam.

Qualification (series) exams are required to become registered and to offer any of these specialized services. Your firm will direct you to one of the following options so that you can acquire the required credentials to provide a diverse range of services to clients:

  • Series 6: Investment Company Representative
  • Series 7: General Securities Representative
  • Series 22: Direct Participation Program Representative
  • Series 57: Securities Trader
  • Series 79: Investment Banking Representative
  • Series 82: Private Securities Offerings Representative
  • Series 86 and 87: Research Analyst
  • Series 99: Operations Professional

The SIE Makes You Stand Out to Employers

When employers are choosing from a sea of applications, they typically look for something that makes an applicant stand out. One thing that certainly helps is having already passed the SIE Exam.

Success on the SIE Exam increases your chances of passing your qualification exam and demonstrates that you’re committed to and serious about a career in the securities industry. Employers also view this accomplishment as an indication of your dedication to gaining the training and general knowledge you need to start working, which reduces the time and money it will take for them to train you.

Completing Qualification Exams Allows You to Deal With Clients

Although each of the qualification exams is beneficial, having the Series 7 or Series 99 designation allows you to offer more products/services than the other exams.

By passing the Series 7 Exam, you become a General Securities Representative who can sell corporate securities, municipal securities, government securities, options, direct participation programs, investment company securities, variable annuities, and more.

By passing the Series 99 Exam, you become an Operations Professional who facilitates customer onboarding, receipt and delivery of funds and securities, account transfers, financial control, and the maintenance, reinvestment, collection, and dispersal of funds.

Here’s a rundown of the beneficial credentials that the other qualification exams offer:

  • Series 6 allows you to sell mutual fund shares and variable contracts/annuities.
  • Series 22 allows you to solicit, purchase, and sell limited partnerships and other products.
  • Series 57 allows you to execute transactions in NASDAQ equity trading, OTC equity trading, and proprietary trading.
  • Series 79 allows you to advise on facilitating debt or equity securities offerings.
  • Series 82 allows you to solicit and sell private placement securities products.
  • Series 86 and 87 allow you to prepare electronic or written communication that analyzes companies and industry sectors, as well as equity securities.

To learn more about these important exams as well as how to study for and pass them, contact Securities Training Corporation (STC) today. STC’s experts specialize in helping students pass their securities exams on their first attempt. With more than 50 years of experience, STC can offer a variety of course and combination packages to meet your individual study needs.

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