Updated: Oct 4, 2019
Salesmen and advisors in the financial services industry must pass certain exams based on what products they intend to sell and what advice they intend to give. The most common combination that firms require from new employees is the Series 7 and Series 66. The Series 6, 63, and 65 are also very common in the securities industry.
As of October 2018 FINRA has changed the landscape significantly by introducing the SIE as a prerequisite to taking any of the aforementioned exams. Now an inspiring investment banker or financial advisor must pass the SIE and the appropriate top off exam.
Let’s examine in detail how this has affected someone hoping to earn their Series 7 license. Previously, this person must have been sponsored by a registered broker / dealer and had to sit for a six hour exam. Now this person must pass the SIE (about two hours) and then can take the new Series 7 top off which is about 3 hours. It is also important to note that a person does not need to be sponsored to take the SIE or Series 66 but does for the Series 6 or 7.
One reason for this change is it helps remove the barrier to entry where people were finding it difficult to gain sponsorship from a broker dealer. Now this person can pass the SIE on their own and then a broker / dealer would feel more confident in sponsoring them for the top off exam since they have proven some dedication to the field.
The most cited reason for the change was to update the material and to avoid overlap on the different tests. The SIE is meant to cover the common, foundational material. However, having personally sat for both versions of the exam (don’t ask how I pulled that off) I can say the difficulty level remains the same after the changes.
It is possible to sit for the SIE and Series 7 top off back to back at the same time and try to replicate the old format of the exam, at least in length. In fact, this is exactly what I did in December, 2018.
The good news is you don’t have to sit for them both at once and you can break up the material and study for two smaller tests separately. Our tutors are experts in the new exams and we have the newest materials available.
If you are interested in learning more about the recent changes in securities licensing, please reach out today!