FINRA Exam Tips and Career Advice 1 – What’s the FINRA SIE?

Tyler York
Achievable FINRA Exam Tips podcast

Today, we are going to focus on helping you launch your career in finance, covering interview tips, hiring trends, and the FINRA SIE Exam.

I am joined by Brandon Rith, Founder of Basic Wisdom and Achievable’s FINRA Expert. In this episode, we go over the basics: what is the FINRA SIE Exam, how hard is the SIE, and what jobs can the SIE help you get?

If you’re looking for a comprehensive course to pass the FINRA SIE exam with a 98% first-time pass rate, check out Achievable’s FINRA SIE course.

FINRA Exam Tips and Career Advice 1 – What’s the FINRA SIE?

Welcome to the achievable podcast. We help you start your Finance career by passing the FINRA SIE exam.

All right, welcome to the first ever to will finra podcast. I'm Tyler York and the founder of achievable and I've got here with me our resident expert Brandon Rith. Do I say? Hi Brandon, we both are new to podcast to forgive us if we are a little bit immature it started but I think we have a lot of cool information to share socially Brandon and so I think it would be a lot of fun and hopefully be valuable for you guys tell you a little bit about what we're trying to do with a podcast. We'll talk about our respective companies write myself a achievable brand new basic wisdom. We just three of our first test and arguably the most important test in if you want to get a finance job. I was just our world here to help you with.

So, I mean it's suitable really quickly. I think we think of ourselves as a company that helps experts train the next generation of employees and we have built a best-in-class learning platform to do that. It's for your phone and computer if it's really it's built functionally for your phone from the get-go. So it's not like a like a dumb window and do a desktop product like a lot of other mobile products and we use data and learning science to really Empower use a pseudonym give you the best learning experience every time you interacting with you know, whether it's a what you answering a question on what is an option spread your we make a data point in time stamp it and overtime and over thousands datapoints. We can actually build a really good understanding of your knowledge of the material and use that to give you a better test prep program.

Check your weaknesses and improve your knowledge in memory help you pass the test. We sought out Brandon and his basic list company because he's been one of the best instructors on the market for a long time. And the way that he approached them years are protists wishes and it's not rocket science. We're all here to kind of pass TSA in past this in your top off exams and there's no need to make it super academic. I think that is a really important, you know, if you want to get away. I'm not ya thanks Heather. Yeah just introduce myself. I'm Brandon. I've been I've been helping people with finance-related tutoring in some form or fashion for the last 12 years, but I started in the industry around 2006 after 4 years of a finance degree from Florida State jump into working for Fidelity Investments and work for their there. They're trading department at a lot of different roles within that department but

Send found that that that that helping people and teaching people how how Finance Works in essentially what you need to know to work in this industry because that's a passion of mine. I like helping other people So eventually I found my way into their training department at Fidelity and at the height of my career there. I ran their entire licensing department, which was responsible for for getting more than 2,000 people a year license across multiple tests and in last year around March of last year. I decided to start my own company basic was dumb to do this on my own to just help people who are seeking help outside of their outside of their jobs, or maybe their jobs don't have training programs that that provide a move that that type of support and since then I've created a company that focuses on a specifically helping individuals in small groups get ready for for everything from the from the series +42-363-763-6566. And and now I partnered with Tyler and Justin at achievable.

Attack SIE, which is this new exam that were there pretty excited to talk about a little bit more about today. That's that's my story. You can't tutor everyone in the country for better for worse DSi. He's going to be an exam that I think a lot more people are going to take probably we can probably save that for later. I will look Jump Right In First and give you the background and we can tell you why the SIU is going to be something that a lot more people are getting into first and foremost. I mean on our agenda here, we've got to say what is finra and what are these tests anyways and your finger is short for finance industry regulatory Authority and I sent your Brandon, I think being the extra here if you want to take it away. I'm kind of the background of what is finra why these tests exist and what they're for?

Sure payroll might not be the most fun thing to talk about just mainly because this is an organization that's making each of you take this exam. If I'd but it was important important Finance if you've ever wondered why is not widespread fraudulence or you know, why if you hold your money in a brokerage account why you don't generally speaking don't need to worry about that the company taking your money in and run into Vegas or doing to the crazy with all of your assets Outfitters. One of the main reasons why that's the case it in a nutshell dear The Gatekeepers of Finance, they decide who and what companies essentially work with the public hands. If you have a checkered past would say that you have a felony on your record and it doesn't seem like you should be working the finance those type of people generally speaking. Don't make it past Fenris test to work in the industry. And of course, that's that's no one that's listen to this podcast, but you have to give a little bit of background on on Sandra fener was was created back in 2007. Essentially. There was a merger between the New York Stock Exchange and nesd we had to regulatory body.

Farm together and basically take on one task. They are a private organization whose ultimate job is to make sure the right people working in finance. The right firms are employing the right people in finance and also making sure that the people that work in finance Earth are working with our clients and in the most beneficial way that they can and not do anything that they shut it the reason why these exams exists is because every job particular when you're dealing with clients money kind of has its own set of rules and regulations and also essentially like things you need to know like either, mistakes are just trip UPS Ave. You need to understand right industry that comes with a lot of responsibility. There's going to be some kind of Licensing involved with that the midpoint of all licensing is to make sure that you understand the basics to the industry that you're going into and you understand the ethics of the of the industry that you're going to be on fire does not always just black and white. There's a lot of Grey

The point of the SIE and all the other exam that we might discuss in this spot gas today. The point of it all is to make sure that you understand the rules of the road and that that you stay within your lane and then don't go Beyond Your Capacity or if I do something you don't potentially unethical with a client right? So I think maybe let's start with the s i e and then maybe we circled back and talk about top off exam. But essentially I mean to get my own brief introduction to what the essay is and what this changes October 2018, which is quite recent what finra decide to do essentially was take the what you could call the first half of a lot of these different series exams that were for different jobs, but had a lot of overlap in contact and condensed it into one test which is now the SAT and I think you can take it from there.

In order to take any of these exams you had to be registered in an employed by one of these Financial firms where there's a broker-dealer or an investment advisory firm, and I personally think the reason why they created yes, I eat with the given introductory exam that anyone could take all you have to do is register on their website pay a little bit of a of a fee to get into the tech center and sit for the exam in the amount of information and in the the topics that you were studying for gives you a good idea of what Finance is all about that you learned everything from the things that most people at least have an idea of what it is like a stock or mutual fund but also goes deeper than that. That's how you talk about bonds the rules and regulations of Finance taxes customer account to eat. It goes fairly deep, but the good thing with the SAE is that never goes to the level of needing you to be an expert any of those areas, and I'm sure we'll talk more about what's what the SIU covers here in a second process a little bit.

For the finance industry when you think the way that the Truman work in the finance industry before the essay was that you would get hired by Fidelity and then Fidelity would train you to pass the S. I use basically the first thing you did and if you fail you get a second shot at it a month later, which is required by law to be a month later. And if you fail the second time, usually you were out of a job, right? I mean if I'm wrong but it seems like that is pretty common procedure across the industry. And so that's very expensive and painful for everybody for the employee for the employer for the training staff. Yeah, dude patreon Ashley 65% but big firms the passenger was closer to 85 90% but you're still losing 10 to 50% of the people. You want it in your company.

And so that was a I think a big problem they want to address. Yeah, I did was never a hiring manager at Fidelity. I was a trainer essentially everybody over Saldana people going through these exams. And unfortunately, I came across hundreds of different people over my 10-year career of fidelity that they never made it through these exams. And if you think about the reason why I said he was was created. If you can give people kind of a head start on what the fundamentals of faience aren't allowed them to either take the test while they're in college or considering a move or change of career think is most people like up them what they need to know to get into the industry to be successful in this Tree sell. Now there's a multitude of reasons. Why probably yes, I was created. But again, you know that this allows anyone to take the test and then gives you an idea when your study for it and you know what you're getting yourself into when you jump into this field. Yeah, exactly. I think it kind of helps everybody and in the end, it'll probably my guess is that within two years. It'll probably be something that most recruiters.

Look for on your resume. But right now that's not the case with presents as interesting as kind of window where if you take it now, you're actually putting yourself at the top of the west or a head of the pack in a way for sure. They'll commit truth of it. Is that not not everyone makes it through the s i e but those that do it if you're trying to get yourself into a brokerage firm. I can tell you just from from experience in working with people that I typically work with that that absolutely is a leg up on everyone else to know if you think about it from the employer standpoint right now employs do pay their new hires to to study for this exam on average and I'm usually seen most employers give anywhere between two and four weeks of paid training to prepare for this exam and see you know, if you're the employer I mean that's your saving yourself two weeks to a month of salary by hiring someone who's already gone through the test. So I think it's huge. Yeah, and you have proof that they're going to pass cuz they already been attacked.

That's definitely our our approach and kind of our our message. I guess tutu you the greater public. I think it's a really good idea to take this test and to kind of get it on your resume and to take advantage of this opportunity.

The others I think that's a good segue into kind. The next question wishes really like who should take this essay exam and maybe even talked a little bit about what you saw in your work experience about House of the hiring profiles are changing and things like that. Anyone look getting it looking to get into Finance. I think I think I saw I use a good move but in particular number one college students. I remember getting my finance degree graduating and not annoying exactly what I was going to do and and I can tell you right away. If I was in the my shoes, you know, 10 years later with the s i e. I I guarantee that they would have been opened or if I had already had that under my belt if you know when I was talking to the recruiters and talking to the hiring manager, is there college students huge especially for anyone to even considering getting into the industry. I think it's a great way to go, you know also people who are you considering changing careers? I can't tell you how many colleagues of mine has started started in in in marketing or are started in

Start in the medical field without starting the service and a different type of assertive service industry that figured out that industry wasn't for them. And then consider doing Finance Finance is the reason why people can do the things that they love to do. Yeah, there's numbers involved and yeah, there's a lot of there a lot of headaches with crunching numbers and think and think about 40 years down the road if you're thinking of retirement, but at the same time maybe if you've ever if you've ever thought about taking taking a trip to Europe or to start your own side business or going to buy that first home that your finances also attached to that for a lot of people who are considering switching into Finance Finance presents a kind of a challenge because you know, that's not the easiest thing to take on. It's not the easiest role because it's kind of a dual face troll not only do you understand the numbers and and and all the everything that goes on a financed. But but also you need to be able to talk to people and then build relationships going back to the career switchers at this point time. I'm seeing a lot of people, who are they switching into fine if they come from

Hope you have a lot of bartenders in the industry these days. We have a lot of hospitality majors in their Industries these days a lot of sales people again the role of switching motor relationship management role where again you do need to understand what's going on in the market soon understand. What a stock is what a bond is going to crunch some numbers here and there but but also you need to be able to gain people's trust discuss with them what their goals are and to connect their goals with their pocketbooks essentially that is which will be out probably in the next couple weeks. But essentially with the rise of Robo advisors doing a lot of the store number crunching and in frankly just like basic stuff every d-des initial advisor role has moved Upstream rights of the average financial advisor is actually handling clients worth more money.

That before and those clients generally want a higher level of service and they want that like service experience as opposed to Just A salesperson. We're frankly as the client once you kind of give the money maybe it wasn't that important, right? If you ever watch boiler room or even Wolf of Wall Street, you know, there isn't the impression that after the sale of those guys are really attentive and I think that's definitely changing.

Yeah, I think the next thing kind of cover here would just be talked about kind of what's on the essay what you think is like a key topics like sitting at a high level at the principal to someone who's never heard of non-complicated high levels. I can I just finished essentially writing piano the equivalent of a book for these people platform and there's a lot of information bsie covers without going into too much detail. Anything you can think of it comes to mind with just with General Finance. It's going to be on the test with me up stocks. You've got bonds. You've got mutual funds ETFs. There's a number of different products people need to be aware of on the exam in terms of what the risks are us would have benefits who are the typical investors of those types of security everything from those products that we just talked about to just the Dynamics of the market. You have to understand what the New York. Stock Exchange is what NASDAQ is how the markets work and it essentially

If you're looking to buy, let's say you want to go into the market you want to buy a hundred shares of Amazon, which truthfully would be very expensive with Amazon at $1,500 a share right now. But if you want to go in the market and buy some chairs at Amazon what that process is, like what happens behind the scene where did what is your order go? How do you pay for your order? How long does it take for that to show up in your account? Etcetera did health unit coming to Logistics to the market and then going back to the to the to the accounts. We're also going to have to understand what brokerage accounts are and how they work there such things as cash accounts where you're basically paying 100% for everything and then there were margin accounts were essentially we are borrowing money to invest into the market which might seem a little Bazaar of never heard that before but there's a ton of different types of accounts within those categories, whether it's an individual account to joint account with your spouse a guardianship account for someone who might be incapacitated a custodial account for a kid etcetera in order to attack.

Ethan firestine the work with people, you know, that's one of the questions you can that you're going to get if you talk to a client. I've got my wife I've got my kids got the situation going on what type of an account should I open? You have to understand that and maybe just a couple of points Upon a December tire and accounts are a big part of the exam and understanding of what type of account you need to open to save for retirement and it's a big thing for a lot of people to be able to finally one day for tire and be comfortable enough to say if there's enough money in my account. We're not to worry about working anymore. And last probably the one of the more important points of the exam or or ethics you're going to have to understand what what it takes to be a registered representative, which is essentially what you'll be if you pass these exams will be a registered financial representative of some form that'll give you enough depending on the top off exam that you take how you have a certain responsibility certain things you do certain things you can do but there's a third a lot of rules and finance April fall back into ethics in terms of what do you need to do if you're going to be making money outside of your brokerage firm, if you if a client calls you and gives you a crazy situation. How do

Handle those situations so they covers again in financing and hopefully get that gives everyone a good idea of at least the generalities in terms of what the CMA exam. Yeah. Yeah, like you said it's it's to give you the tools to that when essentially customers like come to you with things that maybe it's a legal or maybe it's just something that they don't understand the rules like you're equipped to handle that situation ultimately the goal of Fenris to make you into a filter of forms. One of the things I noticed when I first start working finances a customer to call up in and give you a thousand different things to work with and it's your job to understand what the important things are what you can and can't do for them and had to be able to present them with a solution to whatever issue or one of her goal that there that they're seeking.

He is like in terms of your problem solving math memorization and then also like how long it takes to prepare. I think those are those are probably think the people are ya ya. This one's I mean to be honest. This is too funny answer it's a little bit different for everyone, but I'm going to go with what the average person typically would say. It's not the most difficult test. You'll ever taken your life. And in fact when you pass the SAT and go on it to your top off exam whatever top off exam you take is going to be a step up and difficulty for sure. But DSi itself. You're going to be asked to remember a lot more probably looking at over a thousand different topics at the test is going to cover and some form. A lot of people will say the s i a mile wide and an inch deep meaning that there's a lot of different things that covers but it doesn't go that far and death done any of those topics. So will you just going to have to understand the basics of the General Lee still a lot of the things?

What you want about any on the SIE there's some problem solving involved there. There's going to be a little bit of math involved. But to be honest most people that take the essay will tell me that maybe they pulled out their calculator once or twice and examine at the very basic calculations are doing I think ultimately most people will say the hardest part about the S. I use them is the memorization part of it, but you know, you lies and achievable me. That's what it's great for, you know helping you helping you memorize these things and you don't lising personalized data technology to to remind you of things that that you've learned along the way and invite when you're about to forget them achievable is going to tell me a way to make sure that you that you don't exactly have said it better myself, probably 125 to 200 hours for the average person like I'm studying time to prepare for and for the essay because it's

About to examine half right now. We're telling people it's around 50, but it's just pretty early again this disease and only been out for about three months, but I think most people are clocking in at around fifty if they're totally brand new people that were in finance. Maybe they were a bank teller or maybe they were already doing some like back office stuff and they're finally getting ready to get their license and move started to the to the front lines. Those people are actually a bit faster. I've been looking on forms and things like that. I think people say is 50 hours to get prepared, and I would say if you're coming in fresh be prepared for about 50 hours and the best way to think about that as you say if I study 1 hour a day or if I average say, you know 10 hours a week. How long is that in weeks are days that gives you cancer to budget to work with when you're when you're trying to plan around this.

I think the next thing would be just to kind of quickly go over the top off exams and what they cover and then I think we could probably wrap up from there. Yeah, absolutely in the SAE again. It's a it's a fundamental exam. It's going to get your foot in the door. Typically if you're looking to get an interview, but by no means the end of the road. It's just the first and it in from there. You'll probably have to take multiple exams on Abby on CSI you to do whatever job you hired to do. So they said that the top offs that that you have to take post the essay still the first one to customize the Series 6 and I'll try my best to just go in order here, but that the Series 6 the it which is it's an investment company representative exam sleep in a basket company is a is an organization that invests people's money for them in the best example, there's a mutual fund. So if you're being hired by an investment firm to sell mutual funds over to order deal with accounts

Only have access to mutual funds the Series 6 is probably going to be the exam to have you take some people refer to it as a limited Securities representative exam and it's it just yeah, you can do a fair amount with it but stocks bond trading options Etc is not is not something you'll be doing with the Series 6. If you're looking to to help people buy and sell stocks options and bonds the series 7 is going to be the exam attack. It's not as a general Securities representative exam and in the the key to where there's a is General it's a general Securities representative exam that you essentially have a lot of access to different types of products and talk about different types of rocks trading different types of products dealing with different types of accounts, you know, a lot of people will know about the series 7 because if if you see any type of Finance movie whether it's boiler room or Wolf of Wall Street, and they mentioned the series 7 of both and that's that's usually the first step in those movies has has for those characters to go to the process of getting their Series 7, even though they essentially forget

What they learned in that test almost immediately afterwards and do some pretty unethical stuff, but the exam if you've done a little research, you may not even come across these and these are these are more on the specialized side. So there's a series 22 which is known as the direct participation program representative. We refer to those as dpp's in the industry, but dpp's are there limited partnership investment for the most part. They're very unique. Typically if you're only working for sale. I can oil and gas limited partnership or say it real estate limited partnership. You would get this license to be able to sell those types of products in again. That's a very specialized type of license and if you're more interested in it, I'm sure you can do some light some some Googling and figure out more about that. You got the series 57, which is a Securities Trader a license, which a lot of people end up using to trade for institutions or two braids for proprietary count for larger firms.

Exam you're going to learn a lot about the stock market a lot about bond-trading a lot about just just the option trading as well in a lot about how the markets operate. Yeah, they're they're going to throw you through the ringer on that that exam. So it'll take some time to prepare for but next Series 79 Investment Banking representative in finance investment bankers are at our most well-known for initial public offerings. These are companies that that are hired by other organizations that help them sell their Securities to thee to the public. So as an example in a 2012 Facebook went through their initial public offering they went public for the first time and they hired Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley as their investment bankers that essentially help sell their stock to the public and if you were part of that process getting the Series 79 wood would be what would be something that those firms would probably make you go through just a few more here. We have the series 82 which is the private Securities offerings representative a private Securities offering which is also known as a private placement is basically where a company is selling their security to a small group.

David not the general public that a lot of the normal rules that you'll learn about m e s i e and the other exams just don't apply in those types of situations but there's some intricate ethics that didn't involve there and then the series 82 what what team did the series 86 and 87 without going into too much detail as a research analyst license if you're going to work in any type of job, that's me looking at different types of Securities again, stocks bonds mutual funds that type of stuff if you're going to be doing any kind of research on those types of Securities and Publishing reports on those types of Securities. You'll probably need to go through one at one or both of those exams. And then be the last one that will talk about today's the series 9, which is the operations professional you can get a job in finance and may not even deal with one retail client your job might be just making sure that the brokerage firm that you work for just runs correctly that systems run that the telephone systems work and in in essentially making sure that that the that all the bells and whistles in the end at the machine.

That continues to work within your company and typically operations professionals were kind of in the in the back office kind of in the shadows of the firm. But if you're going to be a supervisor in that world usually need to go to the series 99, but but those are those are your top off exams. I mean at least for me and maybe this is just because I kind of come at it from a consumer perspective. It seems like the divorce that are most popular and sort of all deal with front office or what you would ostensibly call like the sales people at another type of company. They are the Series 6 7 and 79 to an extent and then the 57. I actually don't know as much about it. I'm curious like what would you say if you just from a career point of view is the difference between those and yeah, just like you like what type of person succeeds in each? Yeah, so I'll try to keep it simple and if we're talking to 67709 Woodward

Usually we're talking to more probably the more personable type of person and I'm not saying that if you take the series 57 that you're not personable, but but you need to have some kind of 679 because you're almost always going to be either taking phone calls from from Brandon clients are building a book of business and making sure you're managing those relationships with your clients. Where's your series? 57 again? That's our Securities Trader exam most of the colleagues. I know that that have that license either work for a firm's proprietary trading department and what that means is that they trade for their company's accounts of a little bizarre, but one of the ways of Goldman Sachs, which is one of the biggest investment investment firms out there was one of the ways they make the most money as with a proprietary trading account, which is literally there that's just an account that they own and they gone to the market and they buy and sell Securities and try to make profits on those Securities. So if you're if you're working in that department some capacity, you'll probably have that. Type of license. Yeah. Yeah.

Makes sense and insertive. I think one thing I noticed when I was doing my research is like the biggest difference between the 6 and 7 soda before the SAE. The six is considered kind of the baby 7 and I'm not sure if that's still True by with. Yeah, but but with the six you are limited to selling packaged products essentially, you can only sell in a package product just to kind of unpack what that means really quick a product in the finance world is like a financial instrument that you sell to a client and then a package product is like literally just a package of different Securities or things that break and bring together into a single thing like a bundle that you're selling to a client is that like a fair representation of that? Absolutely. I at least heard the term mutual fund which

Into a bunch of different Securities like Francis if I give my money to a stock mutual fund, let's say they take I give them $10,000 they can take my $10,000 invested into a bunch of different stocks and there's a professional that runs at portfolio. So so basically it's it's for the person that doesn't want to sit and going to do about your research themselves and figure out what's what stocks and what bonds to put their money into these packaged products come come with the ability of love. You hand your money over to a professional and have them essentially take care of that for you. Yeah, and then the series 7 is more of a Swiss army knife. You've you actually get to do almost everything - life and health insurance real estate in like a couple other small for the next thing. That's it. That's the general Securities representative you're going to do everything from stocks bonds mutual funds ETFs exchange-traded notes closed-end funds.

Is there's a number of different about since you can deal with it the series 7 and so if you working for a firm in you're going to beat me up talking to clients about just general investing if it's going to go anything beyond a mutual fund or say a variable annuity. If you've ever heard of that then they're probably going to keep you from the 6th to the 7th and then require you to take the series 7. I feel like we have covered everything kind of round the SAE and career aspirations and again near this is Tyler your care from achievable and with Brandon at basic wisdom. We have put together a digital cinema Sak purse that we would love for you to check out is actually free to try. So if you want to go to achievable. Me you can try it out on your own and see if you like it and see if there's a material is something that you're interested in and Brandon also if you're looking for more advanced help or if you're someone who knows and something you want to do Brandon's it one of the best Shooters out there. I'm highly recommend.

Yeah, I said it is in at the very least if you have any questions or concerns than anything, I'd love to give you any kind of guidance on the exam and reach out to me check out my website, which is basic was up. Net be more than happy to help. All right, have a good one. And we will see you guys next month on the Achievable FINRA podcast.
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