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New FINRA Exam, ‘A Foot in the Door’

November 30, 2017

FINRA has the SEC's blessings to revamp its competency examinations – starting with the introduction of a new exam - the Securities Industry Essentials (“SIE”) exam. The SIE exam - scheduled to begin October 2018 - will cover the essentials, while other exams, like the Series 6 and Series 7 representative exams, will test more business-specific knowledge.


With the rollout of the SIE exam, FINRA has restructured its exam program to eliminate duplicative testing of general securities knowledge by moving such content to the SIE exam.


"SIE" EXAM SPECIFICS.    The new exam will be open to anyone over the age of 18, including students and prospective candidates interested in demonstrating basic industry knowledge to potential employers. The biggest change: you don't have to be associated with a financial firm to take the exam. That means a college student hoping to land an internship, or a mid-career professional looking for a change, can use this exam to demonstrate interest in the securities industry and basic industry knowledge to potential employers before they even apply for a job.


The exam will test concepts fundamental to working in the securities industry, such as:

  • types of investment products and their risks;
  • the structure of the securities markets, regulatory agencies and their functions; and,
  • prohibited practices.


Passing the SIE exam alone does not qualify an individual for registration with FINRA or to engage in the securities business. The SIE exam is just your first foot in the door. The next steps toward becoming, say, a registered broker, include getting hired by a FINRA-regulated firm and being sponsored by that firm to take a job-specific qualification exam – e.g., the Series 7 Exam (for General Securities Reps) or the Series 6 Exam (Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Reps).


A passing result will be valid for 4 years.