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Regulatory Sanctions

Would-Be Broker Barred for Cheating at Series 7 Exam

September 8, 2017

By Howard Haykin


Jiaoni Zhu agreed to be barred from the industry to settle FINRA charges that she cheated while taking the General Securities Representative (Series 7) examination.


BACKGROUND.   Zhu, a resident of Porter Ranch, CA, associated with Farmers Financial Solutions in January 2014 in an unregistered capacity and was registered through the firm as a Series 7 General Securities Rep from October 2016 through January 2017. She is not currently registered or associated with a member firm. Zhu has no disciplinary history - although FINRA's BrokerCheck records show that she's still employed by (i.e., associated with) that same broker-dealer.


FINRA FINDINGS.    The General Securities Representative (Series 7) examination is a closed-book test. Candidates are not permitted to use or access any study materials or personal notes during the test.

  • Before beginning the exam, a candidate must acknowledge that he or she will not use or attempt to use any such materials.
  • All personal items-including study materials and personal notes a candidate may have brought to the testing center-must be stored in a locker provided by the test vendor prior to entering the test room.
  • When taking an unscheduled break, the candidate may not access his or her locker.
  • Using or attempting to use study materials or personal notes during an exam is a violation of FINRA Rule 2010.


On 10/10/16, while taking the Series 7 exam at a test center in Glendale, CA, Ms. Zhu took 2 unscheduled breaks from the exam and during those breaks accessed her locker to retrieve and review a study guide and handwritten notes that related to the subject matter of the exam.


FINANCIALISH TAKE AWAYS.    Don’t understand why the matter - i.e., cheating - was not addressed at the point of discovery. However, it wasn’t and, while Ms. Zhu took the exam on 10/10/16, the test proctor Prometric Testing Center did not submit an “Event Incident Report” to FINRA until 1/5/17. Then, FINRA did not initiate its case against Ms. Zhu until 6/29/17 – a full 9 months after the incident. In any case, by the good graces of Farmers Financial Solutions, Ms. Zhu may still have a job with the broker-dealer.


This case was reported in FINRA Disciplinary Actions for August 2017.

For details on this case, go to ...  FINRA Disciplinary Actions Online, and refer to Case #2016052001701.