The short answer to this question is, because it Is required by the states where you work and where you have clients. You can think of the series 63 as your license to conduct business with people who reside in the various states in the US. The series 63 license qualifies an induvial as an agent of a broker dealer. Most people obtain the series 63 license when entering the financial services business for the first time and are just starting out in a new career. Others, are perhaps changing positions within their firm and will be acting in a capacity that now requires them to become 63 licensed. A series 63 license is one ways for a registered representative to meet the licensing requirement to conduct business with the public while representing a broker dealer’s securities business. Your firm’s compliance department, home office or HR will notify individuals directly or through their manager as to the time frame for taking the exam
The North American Securities Administrators’ Association or NASAA sets the licensing requirements for the states and is responsible for the content of the series 63 exam. Obtaining a series 63 license will allow you to become a registered representative of a broker dealer. This license will allow you to function in the capacity of an agent of a broker dealer and to earn commissions when executing orders for stock, bonds, ETFs or mutual funds. An agent of a broker dealer may earn commissions for executing customer orders, otherwise known as transaction based compensation. The series 63 does not allow an agent to share in the fees charged by an investment advisory firm or managed account products. Nor does the series 63 qualify an individual as an investment advisory representative.
The series 63 exam is largely based on the principles of the Uniform Securities Act, its ethical standards and registration practices for agents and firms. Most individuals find that the exam is challenging in the way these questions are presented on the exam. The information tested covers complex topics. A number of these topics are new for most people. The powers of the state securities administrator and the Uniform Securities Act are the state based laws and regulations that most people find challenging . Many people know that they must be registered in the states where they conduct business, but know little else relating to the application of the Uniform Securities Act. The application of The provisions of state securities laws will also be heavily tested. To pass the exam and become series 63 licensed you must demonstrate that you have mastered these areas. Every person who sits for the series 63 exam is has a different background. What one person finds easy to master, another may find very hard. Most people find the content relating to firm, agent and securities registration, and the areas relating to the application of the Uniform Securities Act to be among the most difficult. You should prepare for the exam by reading a textbook completely with a highlighter. Take notes and work through the more difficult topics. Some of the question on the series 63 exam are hard but with careful preparation you will be successful. We cannot stress enough that you must read the book, there are no shortcuts and students need to understand this. You must clear your schedule, shut off your phone and focus. In addition to obtaining the knowledge required by the exam, you must master the application of the information by taking as many practice questions as you can. We recommend at least 30 – 40 hours of preparation to ensure you pass your series 63 exam and become licensed to represent a broker dealer in the purchase and sale of securities.
The answer is, that while it feels like your series 63 license is indeed transferable, in actuality it is not. If you want to change firms, your series 63 registration / license along with all of your other registrations must be terminated by your employer. With a series 63 license you are most likely working at a firm that is registered as a FINRA broker dealer. Since you are registered at a FINRA member firm, Your former employer / the firm that you are leaving will fill out and submit a Form U5 to FINRA. This will terminate your employment and your registration with that firm. When you arrive at your new firm you must fill out and submit a new Form U4. This will begin your registration with your new firm and your series 63 license, along with your other registrations, will become active at your new firm upon receiving notice from FINRA and the states where you conduct business. Technically when you want to change employers, the old firm, the new firm and the agent all most notify the state securities administrator. The filing of the U5 and U4 forms accomplish this task. Your license will only become effective once you have received notification from each state where you plan to conduct business, that you license has become effective.
Obtaining a series 63 license is an investment in professional development. You will be required to invest your time and some candidates will be required to pay for the costs. Your series 63 license will qualify you to function as an agent of a broker dealer. It does not make you a stockbroker, the firm you work for will be the stockbroker. Many people who obtain a series 63 license enjoy lucrative and successful careers in the financial services industry. The good news is, for those who absorb the costs, they are relatively low when compared to other types of training, certification and college expenses. Some employers pick up or reimburse the costs of training and the testing and registration fees. Even for these people many obtain additional resources such as additional test questions, books or videos to ensure they pass their exam and become licensed. For those who have to pay all of the expenses out of pocket, it usually only costs a few hundred dollars for the testing fees and quality training materials. . You will find that obtaining a series 63 license opens many doors for you throughout your career.
While NASAA, the North American Securities Administrators Association is contemplating enacting continuing education requirements for investment representatives, at the present time there are no continuing education requirements. That being said, since you will most likely hold a FINRA license such as the series 6 or 7, you will be required complete the FINRA mandated continuing education requirements for that license.
Your series 63 license allows you to register as an agent of a broker dealer. The series 63 by itself will not allow you to conduct any business. You must also obtain the series 6 or 7 license. The series 6 license will allow you to conduct business in open end investment company and variable contract products and The series 7 will allow you to conduct business in all general securities products. These licensees are your product licenses and the exams are written and administered by FINRA. The series 63 license allows you to conduct business with clients in various states. You can think of the series 63 license as your “people” license. You may take either exam first. However, you will not be allowed to conduct business until you have obtained a series 6 or 7 license in addition to a series 63 license. We hope that this answers many of your frequently asked questions about the series 63 license. If you have any additional questions please call or email us.
Good luck on your exam.
The Securities Institute of America, Inc.