The majority of people who obtain the Series 7 license will be required to pass the exam by their employer. Often times as a condition of employment, individuals are required to obtain the Series 7 license to function in their job. You may be joining your firm as a financial adviser, trader or in some other capacity that dictates that you pass the Series 7 exam. Your firm’s compliance department, home office or HR will notify individuals directly or through their managers as to the time frame for taking the exam. Full service broker dealers, proprietary trading firms and many investment advisory firms require their agents to obtain the Series 7 license.
A Series 7 license will allow you to conduct a significant amount of business in all general securities products including stocks, bonds, options rights, warrants, open and closed end investment company shares and ETFs. Once you have obtained a Series 7 license, if you wish to conduct business in variable annuity and variable life contracts you will be required to obtain a life and health insurance license in your state. Most agents who obtain a Series 7 license will wish to conduct business in variable annuities and will pursue an insurance license, if they have not already done so. Passing the Series 7 exam and becoming Series 7 licensed will allow you to enter the financial services sector as a general securities registered representative.
Passing the Series 7 exams is a significant challenge and obtaining a Series 7 license takes focus and dedication to the exam preparation process. Students should not take this test lightly. You must thoroughly prepare to take the exam and should make it a top priority. Prepare for the exam by reading a textbook completely with a highlighter. 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 thousands of practice questions. We recommend at least 80 - 100 hours of preparation to ensure you pass your Series 7 exam and become licensed to represent your broker dealer
For most registered representatives it feels like your Series 7 license is indeed transferable, in actuality it is not. If you wish to change employers by switching broker dealers, your Series 7 registration / license must be terminated by your current 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 7 license will become active at your new firm upon receiving notice from FINRA and the states where you conduct business.
Obtaining a Series 7 license will require many people to make an investment in their professional development. Your Series 7 license will empower your to conduct business in all general securities products. Many people who obtain a Series 7 license enjoy lucrative and successful careers. The good news is, for those who have to pay for it out of pocket, the costs 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. For those who have to pay all of the expenses out of pocket, it usually only costs a few hundred dollars for the testing and registration fees and the training materials. You will find that obtaining a Series 7 license opens many doors for you throughout your career.
Once you have obtained your Series 7 license you will be required to meet certain continuing educational requirements. Every year your firm will send out a questionnaire known as a “needs analysis” to each of its registered personnel. Based on the response to the questionnaire each representative will be assigned continuing education courses to complete. Your firm may have you attend a seminar, webinar or take an online course to satisfy the firm element continuing education requirement. You will also be required to complete the regulatory continuing education requirement, which is administered by FINRA. You will be required to complete this continuing education requirement by successfully completing the S101 course based on your date of association with a FINRA member. Your date of association for most people will be the date you passed your exam. You will be required to complete the S101 on the second anniversary of passing your exam and every three years thereafter. The S101 course may be completed at an approved facility or on FINRA’s continuing education portal.
Most states require that agents obtain a series 63 license in addition to the Series 7 license to conduct business within their state and with state residents. You can think of your Series 7 license as your product license and your license to represent your employing broker dealer. Your series 63 license can be thought of as your license to transact business with your clients or with people. The series 63 license is in addition to the life and health insurance license detailed above. Alternatively, many Series 7 registered representatives opt to take or are required to take the series 66 exam instead of taking the series 63 exam. The series 66 exam once passed in addition to the Series 7 will allow a person to become fully licensed to represent both a broker dealer and investment adviser in the sale of securities to state residents. A fully licensed Series 7 & 66 agent may receive compensation in the form of commissions for executing orders through a broker dealer and may also receive fee based compensation for giving advice while representing an investment adviser. These fees usually take the form of an asset based fee such as 1 percent of the value of the account. We hope that this answers many of your frequently asked questions about the Series 7 license. If you have any additional questions please call or email us.
Good luck on your exam.