The big Series 7 news this year is that FINRA will be essentially splitting up the Series 7 General Securities Representative Examination into two parts starting in early 2018. FINRA will be pulling most of the general knowledge questions from various Series exams (including Series 7) and putting that material into an test to be called the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. The aim is remove overlap of general questions across multiple Series tests and put it into the new SIE exam. Another key difference is that you will not need to be sponsored by a firm to take the SIE – so you can and should take it before you apply to a job on Wall Street. Lastly, this exam will serve as the starter exam for ALL FINRA qualifications, including exams previously unrelated to the Series 7 like the Series 6 or Series 79.
People who would have taken the Series 7 previously will need to take both the SIE test and the Series 7 exam.
When to take the SIE exam
Unlike the Series 7, people taking the SIE won’t need to have a FINRA member financial organization sponsor them – which means anyone can take it. Most importantly, students are able to take the test while still in college, and people changing careers could take the SIE test before applying for a financial services job. Test passage will demonstrate competency with the material when applying for employment, and also give you a leg up on other employees that still need to pass the test once employed.
The result of passing the test will be valid for 4 years. SIE test takers that fail will need to wait 30 days before retaking it.
An individual will need to retake the SIE and any specialized knowledge test(s) if the individual leaves the financial services industry for more than 4 years and then subsequently returns to the industry.
SIE exam content
The SIE test will be 75 to 100 questions. These will cover a range of financial industry topics on securities products, regulated practices, and regulatory agencies. Major topic headings include knowledge of capital markets; understanding products and their risks; understanding trading, customer accounts, and prohibited activities; and overview of regulatory framework.
Impact on Series 7
With the SIE in place, FINRA will reduce the Series 7 from 250 questions to 100-150 questions. Similar reductions are expected on other specialized Series tests. For individuals taking multiple specialized knowledge tests, the revised exams will not duplicate the SIE material.
Impact on other tests
For people interested in tests beyond the Series 7, FINRA may modify the overall testing structure when the SIE test comes along. The Series 42, 62, and 72 tests may be retired since fewer people use them and these tests only allow an individual to sell a subset of products. People seeking these exams would take the Series 7 instead, since it is more general. FINRA may also retire the Series 11.
People taking Series 6, 7, 22, 79, 82, and 99 would take the SIE in addition to the new versions of those tests. Equity Traders would take the SIE and Series 55. Research Analysts would take the SIE and parts of the Series 86 and 87.
When will the SIE roll out?
FINRA will roll out the SIE exam and its impact on the Series 7 beginning in 2018. When the SIE is available, Series 7 takers will need to pass the SIE first.
How can I prepare for the SIE now?
Right now, you should prepare for your FINRA tests like the Series 7 as normal – this change isn’t coming into effect until early 2018. If you’re looking at taking the test then, most test prep providers (including us 🙂 ) will have an SIE course ready when the test is available. If you’d like to stay informed about our offerings, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org asking to be placed on the Achievable SIE waiting list.